Insight

Rental advice – when your lease comes to an end

Andringa Walk in Stellenbosch is a popular rental option.

Should I go or should I stay? – Negotiating the end of your rental agreement

Your lease agreement is coming to an end and it’s time to decide whether to sign on for another year, to stay on a month-to-month basis, or to move on and terminate your lease agreement. Natasha Wright, of Pam Golding Properties’ rental division, explains the timeline of events when a lease agreement expires.

The Consumer Protection Act (CPA) requires the Landlord to give the Tenant written notice of not less than 40 days and not more than 80 days before the lease expires, to decide whether they are going to renew their lease agreement or not. Any new terms and/or material changes to the lease agreement such as the rental increase and extended lease period, must be included in the notice. There is usually also an administrative fee associated with the lease renewal and an increase in the deposit amount.

Most lease agreements will include a clause, specifying how much notice you are required to give if you are going to extend your lease, or terminate your contract. This is usually 30 days.

Exit inspections – last month of lease

Now is the time to do an exit inspection with your landlord or agent, to discuss any repairs or cleaning that needs to be done. Remember, it is mandatory for you and the landlord to inspect the property before occupation as well, to determine whether there are any defects or whether repairs are needed. This protects you, as the tenant, from being liable for any repairs that need to be done when you move out. They also give the landlord recourse if the property is not in the same condition as it was when you took occupation.

It gives you and the landlord an opportunity document any structural damage or defects during the ingoing inspection by taking photographs and including these with a written list of concerns which must be attached to the lease agreement. You can then refer to this list when you and the landlord conduct your outgoing inspection, usually within three days before the expiration of your lease.

If the inspection does reveal any damage, other than day-to-day wear and tear, you as the tenant are required to pay for these repairs, and the landlord is entitled to deduct the cost from your deposit and accrued interest. Your lease agreement stipulates that you are to return the property in an acceptable condition.

Two weeks after the lease has expired

If repairs are not needed, and there are no outstanding amounts owed to the landlord or agent, you should receive your full deposit and interest accrued during the lease period, within seven days.

Note that if there was no joint ingoing inspection, the landlord has no further claim against you if there is any damage when you move out.

If repair work needs to be done, the landlord will refund the balance of your deposit within 14 days. Your landlord must also provide receipts of all the repairs done, as proof of the costs incurred.

Disputes related to claims against your deposit, assuming that there was a joint ingoing and outgoing inspection, can be referred to your regional Rental Housing Tribunal.

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Posted by Anel Lewis