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What are the duties of a landlord

When a landlord chooses to rent a property he must comply with a few regulations and standards. The dwelling must be fit for human habitation; meaning it must measure up to health and safety regulations. There must be accessible utilities like running water and electricity.

A landlord must take reasonable steps to ensure that once a tenant has moved in that that the tenant enjoys undisturbed use of the dwelling and that no other tenant or other person conducts any activity within a dwelling which is expressly prohibited under the body corporates rules and regulations.

When a tenant moves into a dwelling a landlord must formulate a set of house rules which must also take into consideration the interest of the neighbourhood with particular emphasis on preserving the peace, maintain the common property in any. They must maintain the outside of the dwelling, including the walls and roof in good order and repair. The landlord must maintain all electrical, plumbing, sanitary, heating, ventilation, air-conditioning systems and elevators, if there are any.

A landlord must repair any damage to the dwelling or common area caused by fair wear and tear, provide and maintain appropriate containers and places for removal of all ashes, garbage, rubbish and other waste incidental to the dwelling and arrange removal; meaning if a landlord needs to repaint the unit, he or she will have to paint and then clean up and remove any waste caused by the repairs.

A landlord may inspect the property with reasonable notice. This is normally done every 6 months. A landlord may only gain un-granted access to the dwelling in an emergency. The reason for inspections is so that the landlord can evaluate what does or might need to be repaired and is liable to make such repairs, only if they are due to normal wear and tear. If the damage is done due to negligence by the tenant, the tenant will be liable for the cost of the repairs.

When it comes to rent; rent is payable to a landlord without demand or notice at a time agreed upon by the tenant and landlord. Normally this is payable on the 1st of every month. A landlord must give a tenant 2 (two) months written notice if they want to increase the rent. If a tenant agrees to stay and the will also need to top up their deposit.

For example if your deposit was R5000 and your rent payable is R5000pm. When your rent is increased by 10% you will also need to pay a top up of R500 into your deposit. The reason for this is your deposit must always be equal to one month rent payable. A landlord may not charge a tenant late fees or penalties on rent that is late. A landlord may only charge interest on the rent that is due to a maximum of 2%.

All of the above can be found in more detail in the Rental Housing Act of 1999.