“Fundamentally, the law remains the same but there are significant amendments to the statutory rights and obligations of landlords and tenants and rules relating to stipulations in a lease, however, these points are already in place in the existing leases of most reputable agencies.
“Factors that landlords are going to have to look out for include ensuring that all lease agreements are in writing with clear definitions and guidelines and that properties are habitable in accordance with the Rental Housing Act or they could find themselves incurring fines and also face possible imprisonment.
“It’s therefore essential that both parties understand their rights and obligations and familiarise themselves with the new Act,” she says, adding, “It is also more important than ever that landlords appoint an experienced agent from an established and reputable agency to manage the property and fight in their corner if necessary.”
“As much as these new regulations don’t seem to favour property buyers, the fact that laws are being further defined is probably an advantage in the mind of buyers who now have a clearer cut idea as to what is expected within their relationships with their tenants.
“Foreign buyers, especially, prefer legislation to be laid out up front. It is therefore important for current landlords to follow due process as this bodes well for buyers taking over existing leases and being assured of having well-regulated contracts in place going forward.”
They add that with Cape Town recently having been voted the top tourist destination for the sixth year in a row, foreign property investment on this exclusive coastal strip is once again picking up and a more streamlined process for rental management can only boost these sales.
Craig Guthrie, partner at Guthrie Colananni Attorneys, explains the main changes to the act and takes a closer look at several of the proposed amendments and their implications for landlords and tenants.
“As it stands, the rights of tenants in the residential property sector are protected by the Rental Housing Act, the common law, and the Consumer Protection Act, however the proposed Amendment Act creates new offences which are punishable by law and landlords now face the possibility of a fine or even imprisonment.”
“And in this Airbnb day and age, together with the strict requirements of service on each occupant for eviction proceedings, it is imperative for the landlord to know at any given time who is occupying the leased premises.”
Dellbridge concludes: “Although no firm date has been set for the amended act to come into operation, landlords and tenants will be required to comply with the new requirements within six months from the date of commencement.
“And in this case knowledge definitely is power and it’s not too soon to begin familiarising oneself with the act and note the important changes. In fact, landlords should embrace it – it will eradicate much frustration and will also help weed out tenants who take advantage and work the current system."