When a property is rented to a tenant and that tenant wants to move it can pose some problems for both tenant and landlord – even if there is a properly drawn lease agreement in place.
When a tenant gives notice, it is important for them to adhere to the date they have committed to vacating the property. If they don’t it will impact not only on the practical ‘change-over’ arrangements, but also on the financial implications.
One of the more practical aspects is the logistics of what does happen at the ‘change-over’ time. For instance, the old tenant is moving out today but the new one is coming in tomorrow. For the landlord this can be a bit of a challenge, coordinating the time the person moves out with the inspection of the premises, the gardening or cleaning teams ‘sprucing’ the place up and then having to accommodate the new, incoming tenant at their time of arrival.
I’d like to point out some of the financial aspects that can affect both tenant and landlord when a lease is terminated:
- If a tenant doesn’t move out on the agreed date they can become liable for the rent for that month. A lease agreement usually has a clause that stipulates what notice period that needs to be given by the landlord or the tenant in order to continue with, or to terminate the lease. In terms of the Consumer Protection Act it should be between 40 to 80 working days – and there is case law that supports this, as seen in Scopeful 130 (Pty) Ltd vs Mechani Mag (Pty) Ltd.
- If the lease period ends and the tenant has not stipulated a date when they will leave, the lease continues on a month-to-month basis. But the tenant can request a new lease be drawn up for another fixed period.
- However, if the tenant wants to terminate his lease prematurely, he has to give 20 business days notice to the landlord. He is also obliged to assist in finding another tenant. Usually there is one month’s rental payable as a penalty – but the Consumer protection Act is not clear on what the “reasonable penalty” should be.
- If the tenant stipulates a date when he will move (say 30 April) and he then chooses to move out earlier in April but before the end of the month, he will forfeit the rent he’s already paid and will not be entitled to a refund.
It can be a complicated business when a lease is entered into or when one ends, and the last thing you want is unpleasantness or unnecessary complications. Contact us at IGrow Wealth Investments – my team and I will help you on the road to achieving the success you deserve.