Landlord's duty to maintain a rental property

“Maintaining your property is one of the key aspects for an owner renting out their property to keep the landlord-tenant relationship in good standing. In my experience one of the biggest causes of a breakdown in landlord-tenant relationships is where there is a lack of maintenance or repair,” says Sunell Afrika, rentals manager for property company


Landlords have a duty to keep the unit they rent out “reasonably fit for the purpose for which it was let”, according to the Rental Housing Act, which goes on say that the landlord is “responsible for repairs and maintenance as defined in the lease or as found at the ‘incoming inspection’ of the property”. Landlords must also keep the property fit in accordance with Health and Safety standards and local municipal bylaws.
The landlord would, therefore, be responsible for ensuring that the home has a leak free roof, all the doors and windows close and lock properly, the flooring is in good condition, the surrounding walls and gates are in good repair, the electrical system is sound and the water and sewer system has no leaks or faults, for example. In turn, the tenant should keep all of these in good repair by taking due care in the use of the property, says Afrika.
Generally, the landlord is responsible for the fixtures and fittings in a house, as well as the structure, and the tenant should be responsible for the maintenance of these. For example, the landlord would ensure that the gutters are all installed properly and the tenant must ensure that they remain leaf and debris free to allow water to run off the roof properly. Or the landlord will ensure that a built-in oven and stove work properly, but the tenant is responsible for the cleaning of these items. Another example is where a home might be prone to damp or mould formation, and the landlord might take every precaution he can by making sure that the walls and ceilings were waterproofed as best as possible, but the tenant must air the home and clean off any spots he sees forming. 
When signing a lease, whether as a landlord or tenant, it is best to stipulate as clearly as possible what each person’s obligations are with regard to the use of the property and the care thereof. There should also be regular inspections (every three months at least) of the property so that the landlord can keep abreast of what needs repair or maintenance, and to have a maintenance plan so that things are dealt with timeously to avoid costly repairs in the long run.
The chances of being able to charge more for a well-maintained unit are higher, as well as being able to increase the rental on the unit each year. A unit that is looked after attracts good tenants and rental as well as giving the landlord more options in terms of tenant selection, she says.

  Comment on this Article

  Please login to post comments

Post to my facebook wall
Characters remaining

    Latest Property News
    • 21 Nov 2017
      The buying process is over, and the moving truck has delivered your household goods to your new property. Now it’s time to unpack and turn your new house into a home.
    • 21 Nov 2017
      When an offer to purchase a property is signed by both buyer and seller, this constitutes a binding agreement or “Deed of Sale” between the two parties. However, in most cases the “standard contract” might not be enough to cover all the specifics pertaining to the sale. The agreement may require some additions or alterations to clauses, which needs an expert hand in the drafting of such
    • 21 Nov 2017
      As more and more South Africans look to invest in property abroad, Spain is offering them one of the best deals in global real estate.
    • 20 Nov 2017
      Since 2012, sectional title complexes have been leading the South African property market, not only in terms of price growth, but sales volumes as well. Remaining relatively strong, even in the face of 2017’s political and economic turmoil, experts say this market segment could offer valuable insight into South Africans’ property purchase priorities.
    • 20 Nov 2017
      Regardless of whether you are purchasing your first start-up home, downsizing or moving in with roommates, finding ways to maximise small spaces can be a big advantage, says Adrian Goslett, Regional Director and CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa.
    • 20 Nov 2017
      Property valued at approximately R1 billion is on High Street Auctions’ sales floor during the month of November, including the much-anticipated sale of the Tshwane Mayoral Residence and the land occupied by one of South Africa’s oldest operating gold mines.
    • 17 Nov 2017
      FWJK has announced the launch of its latest residential brand, the Lil’ Apple, which will be launched simultaneously in two developments in Cape Town and Umhlanga totaling 600 apartments. The Lil’ Apple is set to be a brand of FWJK’s New York style apartments which will be rolled out nationally.
    • 17 Nov 2017
      It’s been a tumultuous year on many fronts, with socio-political uncertainty setting the tone for much of South Africa’s economic activity yet despite this and seemingly counter-intuitively, the residential property market has held up well.
    Subscribe to the MyProperty Newsletter

    Last Name  
    Email Address  
    Email Frequency
    Share this Page

    For Sale Property
    Rental Property
    More Options
    Connect with us