COVID-19 has placed immense pressure on the shoulders of almost every household in South Africa. Businesses and therefore employees have taken a massive knock. Salaries have been cut, staff numbers halved, and we will only see the true effects of lockdown in the next few months to come.
With little income to no income, it’s become increasingly difficult to keep up with bond repayments, rent and living expenses, resulting in many payments being settled late or a tenant not paying rent at all.
In one of our previous articles, Spoliation Orders and Tenant’s Rights in South Africa, we looked at the rights of tenant’s in South Africa and legal issues landlords may face when taking the law into their own hands.
In this article we look at the issues faced by tenants and what happens when they pay their rent late.
COVID19 has presented us with many issues we have never faced and therefore it’s understandable that there are many misconceptions regarding what is legal and what is not. Unfortunately, these misconceptions have led to many making false legal claims.
An example of one of these claims is the fact that rental agents can charge residential tenants a late payment penalty fee.
However, in terms of the Rental Housing Act 50 of 1999, Section 3(c)(i) of the Unfair Practices Regulations:
“3 – Leases
(c) A lease agreement must not include any provision which –
(i) imposes a penalty for late payment of rent whether or not the penalty takes the form of administrative charge or any other form other than interest;”
Therefore, tenants are entitled to demand that their landlords remove such late payment penalties from their invoices.
However, please note that landlords are entitled to charge their tenants interest on such late penalties.
The above only automatically applies to residential premises and leases. By and large, late payment penalties are permitted in commercial or retail premises and leases.
Please feel free to contact our attorneys in Cape Town and Johannesburg with any additional questions that were not answered in this article.
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