Landlords Liable for Tenants’ Conduct

EmailEmail Print Share

16 Jul 2013

Sectional title units tend to be favoured by buy-to-let investors, often resulting in a high percentage of tenanted properties in these developments, which can lead to problems if there are unruly tenants. 

It is up to landlords to manage their tenants according to the rules of their scheme and the Sectional Titles Act and make sure that they behave in the way that is acceptable to the other occupants, or the lease must be terminated.

Johann le Roux, executive director of Propell, says it is important that the landlords in sectional title schemes know that they are responsible for the behaviour of their tenants. 

He says serious problems can be created by tenants who behave in a way that is unacceptable to the other occupants, and the trustees of the scheme are entitled to impose fines for misdemeanours. 

Fines charged can sometimes be R1 000 or more per offence, says le Roux. The problem here is that it is the landlord who will be fined, and not the tenant. The landlord could try and get the money back from the tenant but chances are high that if the tenant is not co-operating, he won’t be likely to pay the fines. 

Once fines are charged, the body corporate can then also add interest on the unpaid amounts, and the legal fees attached if an attorney is hired to deal with the matter. 

“Serious problems creep in when the fines imposed are due to broken windows or doors and the landlord, while trying to sort his tenant issues out, holds back on fixing the broken items. The trustees are likely to charge additional fines if the items the complaint relates to are not dealt with immediately and the amount eventually owed to the body corporate can build up to a sum that will severely cripple the landlord financially.” 

This sort of scenario shows how important it is to vet tenants properly when they apply to rent a unit. A full credit, employment record and reference check must be done before agreeing to let the tenant sign the lease. 

It is advisable to employ a rental agent to manage the property, rather than going at it alone. Rental agents have access to credit reference systems, and will have the time and know-how to interview the prospective tenant and check the validity of all the referees. 

In many cases where there is a high percentage of tenants in a sectional title scheme, the general upkeep of units is sometimes lacking and, depending on the types of tenant, there is sometimes damage done. Le Roux says owners of units tend to look after their own properties well in order to maintain and increase the value of their investment whereas this is not a priority for a tenant. 

It is up to landlords to manage their tenants according to the rules of their scheme and the Sectional Titles Act and make sure that they behave in the way that is acceptable to the other occupants, or the lease must be terminated. 

According to the Rental Housing Act, owners of sectional title units must give a copy of the scheme’s conduct rules to their tenant, attached to his lease, and must ensure that the tenant is made aware of and understands them – as he will have to take responsibility if his tenant disregards the rules. 

Similar Articles

Disputes between landlords and tenants are common,...

Are you renting but not sure what your rights are? There...

Overpricing a rental can result in the property being...

View all articles

Top Articles

Whether you’d like to spend time on the glorious coast or...

St Francis Bay in the Eastern Cape is the ideal weekend or...

Overpricing your property usually results in it being sold...

View all articles
Top Articles
11 Feb 2016
Many families are migrating from Gauteng to Ballito for the lifestyle be...
11 Feb 2016
A UCT architectural student tackles social, economic and environmental i...
11 Feb 2016
With a big influx of people from Gauteng moving to the Helderberg Basin,...
10 Feb 2016
Morningside, Rivonia, Rosebank and Bryanston will see much residential d...
10 Feb 2016
Offering sophisticated retirement living, Lazuli Coastal Lifestyle Estat...
Get the latest property news.
Select your options:

Your browser is out of date!

It looks like you are using an outdated version of Internet Explorer.

If you are using Internet Explorer 8 or higher, please verify that your Internet Explorer compatibility view settings are not enabled.

For the best browsing experience, update to the latest Version of Internet Explorer or try out Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox.

Please contact our Property24 Support Team for further assistance. Tel. +27 (0)861 111 724