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7 days grace period myth

For most tenants their rental expense is probably one of their biggest monthly payments; the effecting of the rent payment triggers a series of follow-on payments from the landlord - mortgage repayments, levies, rates and taxes, commissions and maintenance costs sometimes complicated further by different bank transfer delays.
 
TPN research indicates that 75% of the South African residential rental market is owned by micro landlords, landlords with 1 to 10 properties. And depending of how heavily leveraged the landlord is, any delay in receiving the rent payment puts pressure on the landlord's cash flow.
 
There are various reasons tenants pay the rent late, not all tenants rely on a fixed salary income stream, emergency expenses necessitating tenants having to borrow from friends, family or financial institutions, retrenchments and death in the family; tenants who have a genuine misfortune and who are not regularly abusing their payment terms will generally find a sympathetic ear from the landlord.
 
There is however nothing in law, common or otherwise which allows a tenant a 7 day grace period to make their rental payment. In fact with all the consumer friendly laws, landlords are better advised to act early with non-paying tenants as any delay in starting the arrear collection process will lengthen the time the tenant can sit "unpaid" in the property to beyond a calendar month, which is generally the funds available in the deposit.
 
Tenants have a legal obligation to "pay the proper amount due at the proper place and proper time". Usually the written lease agreement will state the rent due date as a specific date, usually the first of the month; although it is not unheard of to have lease agreements drafted where the payment due date is the 15th. The lease is a binding agreement between the tenant and the landlord, the payment due date is final and binding between the parties. Tenants who are, for example paid on the 15th of the month, and who wish to enter into a payment agreement with the landlord to pay on the 15th of the month, must ensure the lease agreement makes specific provision for this. Unfortunately a verbal arrangement which is different to the written lease agreement will not hold up.


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