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Lease Cancelation and the Consumer Protection Act PDF Print E-mail

Dear Debbie,

Please tell me if I understand this correctly… A tenant may give 20 business days notice to cancel the lease agreement, but he stays responsible for the rent until a new lease is signed, and a penalty clause may be implemented (waiting for instruction)

Initially after the rental day, we thought a tenant may give 20 business days notice, without staying responsible for the rent until a new tenant has been found, but a reasonable penalty clause can apply.

We understand the indemnity clause, but what happens is the owner or a contractor appointed by the owner accidentally damages property/furniture of the tenant, is he also indemnified?

Hope to hear from you soon, thanks in advance for your time,

Kind Regards





Dear Ilse

A tenant may give 20 days notice if his lease was signed after 1 April 2011.   The Consumer Protection Act does not apply retrospectively.   In other words those tenants who signed leases before 1 April 2011 will have to adhere to the terms of the lease agreement they signed originally.

If the tenant gives 20 days notice before the termination date of the lease, he can be held to a “reasonable cost” of the rent until a new tenant is found.   Both the landlord/agent and the tenant must work to find a new tenant.   A cancellation fee can be charged as is being done now except for the fact that the amount charged must be justified.   Advertising and any other admin charges can be claimed provided they can be justified.   If the tenant brings a replacement tenant and there is no loss of anything to the agent or landlord, nothing may be charged even though it is stated in the lease.

We do not yet know what a ‘reasonable cost’ will be.   Future case history will give us guidelines.   I urge you to be careful and not to overcharge tenants nor insist on unfair costs as there will be investigations once a tenant complains to the Consumer Protection offices.

If a contractor mandated by the owner damages the property, the owner must take responsibility and claim what is necessary from the contractor.   If the tenant mandates someone, the tenant must assume the responsibility.   If it is the owner’s property that has been damaged by the tenant’s contractor, an agreement must be negotiated between the landlord and agent with the tenant that the amount concerned is deducted from his deposit.   The tenant must then claim whatever the damage has been from the contractor.   If a contractor damages the tenant’s furniture, the same would apply except for the fact that a tenant must insure his own possessions and can always claim in that direction.   Whoever mandated the contractor must see that the contractor ‘makes good’ any damages.

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