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Welcome to Scorpion’s Legal Tips! Every week we’ll share stories of injustice and show you how you can strike back legally.
Your rental application has been accepted and you’re all ready to sign on the dotted line, but before you put your name to that legally-binding lease agreement, take a few minutes to go through Scorpion Legal Protection’s list of things to check before signing.
These are the formal, legally-binding rules of the complex, so you need to be aware of them. It may include things like until what time you can play loud music, getting pets or keeping pets and what pets are allowed. It can also regulate things like visitors, refuse removal, parking spaces, where you can braai and more. You do not want to bind yourself to a contract only to find out that the rules of the complex do not gel with your lifestyle. You can ask that a copy of the rules be attached as an addendum to the lease agreement before you sign.
You must clarify with the estate agent or landlord whose responsibility it is to maintain the garden, even if it’s in a complex. It could be that the landlord agrees to cut the grass at his cost, but still expects you to trim the bushes or do the weeds and water the other plants. This is important, because the garden may be considered part of your maintenance responsibilities just like the house/flat and could be an additional cost you need to factor in. If you move out leaving the garden a mess, the landlord/agent may charge you for fixing it.
You may not think of putting a nail in the wall as “making changes”, but your landlord may. Before you get excited about how you are going to make the new place your own, make sure you know what you are and aren’t allowed to do. Ask about things like painting the walls, putting in a curtain rail or blinds, changing the lights, wall art and nails in the wall. These are all commonly done but if your landlord doesn’t agree to them, he could hold you liable for the cost of returning the place to its original condition when you move out, and take money from your security deposit to do this.
Ask questions if you are unsure about anything, it’s your right to do so.
You may also be interested in:
Is interest on overdue rent legal?
What is the Rental Housing Tribunal?
Landlord won’t pay back my deposit!
If you have a query, follow Scorpion Legal Protection on Facebook and ask your question during our next Live Q&A (every first Thursday of the month from 11:30- 13:30). *This is only basic legal advice and cannot be relied on solely. The information is correct at the time of being sent to publishing.
* This is only basic legal advice and cannot be relied on solely. This is not financial advice. The information is correct at the time of being sent to publishing.
Date added: 25 March 2022
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