Don’t rent from a friend without a proper lease

Whether you’re a landlord or a tenant, you should always make sure your rental agreement is in writing – and this is doubly important if your agreement is with a friend or family member.
An oral agreement is of course binding and enforceable, notes Berry Everitt, CEO of the Chas Everitt International property group, but it is difficult for either party to actually prove the terms of such an agreement, so it is much safer for all concerned to have a written rental agreement – or lease – and prevent confusion, misunderstandings and hurt feelings which could cost you a friendship or cause a family rift.
“The last thing you want is to end up in a bitter argument with your brother in-law about whether the rent you pay for his garden cottage includes lights and water charges, for example, or a fight with a friend about the damage done to the flat he rents from you.
“Rather keep things businesslike and have a written lease which clearly sets out all the terms and conditions of your agreement, and all the rights and responsibilities of each party.
“Landlords should also obtain written permission to do a full credit and reference check on any prospective tenant – even if they think they know the person very well. It is much easier to turn someone down at the outset than have to go through the time-consuming, costly and often hurtful process of evicting someone who has defaulted on your rent.”  
Standard lease documents, he advises, usually contain at least the following information:
* The contact details of both landlord and tenant, including everyday and emergency phone numbers;
* The address and description of the rental property;
* Details of any deposit required, the monthly rental amount and the duration of the tenancy;
* Landlord and tenant responsibilities and requirements;
* The procedures and notice required to cancel the lease or renew it; and
* A list of existing property defects, compiled at a joint inspection of the rental property, and signed by both parties before the tenant takes occupation.
Everitt says that for the sake of clarity, the lease should also detail what is to be done with the deposit a tenant pays. It should be paid into an interest-bearing account, for the benefit of the tenant, for the full duration of the tenancy. At the end of this period, the tenant will be owed the full deposit, as well as interest earned. The cost of repairing any damage the tenant might have caused to the property can, however, be deducted, as can any outstanding amount of rent the tenant owes to the landlord.

  Comment on this Article

  Please login to post comments

Post to my facebook wall
Characters remaining

    Latest Property News
    • 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.
    • 17 Nov 2017
      The EAAB (the Estate Agency Affairs Board) recently claimed that around 50,000 illegal estate agents could currently be operating illegally.
    • 16 Nov 2017
      Penthouses are synonymous with New York – characterised by high-rise living that is decidedly luxurious and spacious. While exclusivity comes at a price, you can still create a “penthouse” look and feel in your existing apartment or even the upstairs bedroom of a double storey house with some clever design changes and styling touches.
    • 16 Nov 2017
      The area has long been popular with kite surfers and, with escalating property prices in Cape Town itself, is increasingly in demand with home owners who work in town, but are looking to invest in more affordable properties.
    • 16 Nov 2017
      Cape Town’s popularity as a world-class tourist destination has resulted in a spike in the number of homes available for holiday lets and fuelled investor demand for sectional title units with short term rental potential.
    • 15 Nov 2017
      Sappi, one of South Africa’s oldest global companies and a leading global supplier of sustainable woodfibre products, has moved its global and regional headquarters to a new site on the corner of Oxford and 14th Avenue in Rosebank.
    • 15 Nov 2017
      There’s an old saying in real estate that you should seek to make a profit when you buy, not only when you sell – and a large part of succeeding at that endeavour is buying a home in an area with desirable features that will enhance the resale value of your property.
    Subscribe to the MyProperty Newsletter

    Last Name  
    Email Address  
    Email Frequency
    Share this Page

    For Sale Property
    Rental Property
    More Options
    Connect with us