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Can I cancel lease if my power is cut?

25 Jun 2013

A Property24 reader asks:

A Property24 reader says his landlord has not paid his municipal bill and the electricity has been shut off. Can he cancel the lease?

I am a tenant and the owner has not paid his municipal rates and taxes, therefore the power has been cut for the premises I am renting. The estate agent has allowed the owner 14 days to remedy the situation, this means that I could be without electricity for two weeks.

I would like to have the lease cancelled, what are my rights?

Yusuf Boda, legal manager at Legal & Tax, advises:

When an act of an owner renders the property unfit for the purpose for which it was let, such as no water or electricity, a burst geyser, non-working oven, etc. these would need to be attended to by the owner or agency and failure to do so would constitute a material breach of the lease agreement. 

One should look at the lease agreement, in particular the breach clause, to determine what remedies are available to the tenant. If the lease agreement is silent, then urgent notice to remedy the breach should be given to the owner to rectify the breach, where after the lease agreement may be cancelled.

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. 

About the Author
Yusuf Boda

Yusuf Boda

As legal manager at Legal & Tax, Yusuf Boda oversees the operations and management of the legal department. He brings extensive practical legal experience to his role at Legal & Tax including a number of years spent in private practice. Boda holds a Master of Laws Degree. He joined Legal & Tax in 2005 as a legal advisor and was promoted to manager of the legal department in 2008.

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