Recourse to agent for tenant damage?

24 Jan 2013

A Property24 reader asks:

Do I have recourse to the rental agent for tenants damaging my property?

I have a house in the northern suburbs of Johannesburg for which a well-renowned agency found me a tenant.  Unfortunately the tenant took 10 Nigerians for the house who were then operating a drugs laboratory and caused damage estimated at R300 000.

Would I have recourse to the agent?

Marlon Shevelew, specialist rental and eviction attorney at Cape-based legal firm Marlon Shevelew and Associates replies:

Depending on the action of the rental agent there could very well be claim in delict (damages).

Rental agents have a duty to screen tenants and protect their landlord by placing suitable tenants in terms of Common law, Contractual law and in this instance Consumer Protection law, more particularly section 54 of the Consumer Protection Act (CPA) which clearly sets out the services that a Landlord (a consumer) is entitled to expect of a Rental Agent (a supplier).

It would be necessary, however, to establish a direct link between the actions or inaction of the Rental Agent and the damages that were caused to the premises. This would take some investigation.

Readers may submit questions to Property24’s Guest Expert panel and/or comment below. We may not be able to answer all questions received, but all will be considered. 

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