Lack of maintenance leads to the breakdown of landlord-tenant relationships

Sunell Afrika, Rental Manager for SAProperty.com, says that “one of the main causes of broken landlord-tenant relationships is lack of maintenance or repairs.”

Landlords have a duty to maintain the accommodation they rent “reasonably fit for the use for which it was rented”, according to the Rental Housing Act, which states that the landlord is “responsible for repairs and maintenance. maintenance as defined in the lease. or as found during the “inbound inspection” of the property “. Homeowners are also responsible for maintaining the property in good repair in accordance with health and safety standards and local municipal bylaws.

The landlord would therefore be responsible for ensuring that the house has a leak-free roof, that all doors and windows close and lock properly, that the floor is in good condition, that the surrounding walls and gates are in good condition. , that the electrical system is healthy and the water and sewer system has no leaks or faults, for example. In turn, the tenant must keep all of these in good repair by being diligent in using the property, says Afrika.

Generally, the landlord is responsible for a home’s fixtures and fittings, as well as the structure, and the tenant should be responsible for maintaining these. For example, the homeowner would ensure that the gutters are all installed correctly and the tenant should ensure that they remain free of leaves and debris to allow water to drain properly from the roof. Or the landlord will make sure that a built-in oven and stove are working properly, but the tenant is responsible for cleaning these items. Another example is where a house may be prone to the formation of moisture or mold, and the landlord can take every precaution possible to ensure that the walls and ceilings are waterproofed as best as possible, but the tenant must ventilate the house and clean any stains that it sees forming.

Stipulate the obligations of each

When signing a lease, whether as owner or tenant, it is preferable to stipulate as clearly as possible what each person’s obligations are regarding the use of the property and its maintenance. this. There should also be regular inspections (every three months at least) of the property so that the owner can keep abreast of what needs repair or maintenance, and have a maintenance plan so get things done on time to avoid costly repairs in the long run. Course.

The chances of being able to charge more for well-maintained housing are higher, as well as being able to increase the rent of the housing each year. A unit that is maintained attracts good tenants and good tenants while giving the owner more options in terms of tenant selection, she says.


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Rosemary S. Bishop