My tenant has signed a 12 month lease for a home which he is renting for R15000.00 per month. This lease is due to expire at the end of August 2012. I received an email from him today stating that he is giving me 1 calendar month notice and will be moving out on the 30th May. In terms of the CPA, am I forced to accept this or is he legally bound to pay the rent until another tenant has been found? He has no reasons for terminating the lease other than that his own new home is now complete and ready form him to move into.
As today is a public holiday, I am unable to get in touch with the estate agent who dealt with this particular tenant, so have not been able to do anything. I am anxious to know if I have to accept this notice period or if he is liable for the rent until a new tenant is found. Many thanks!
Hi there and thank you for your question,In terms of the CPA, your tenant is entitled to provide you with 20 business days' notice of termination or cancellation of a lease agreement, for whatever reason. As such, you have to accept the tenant's cancellation notice!The landlord's rights however includes the charging of a "reasonable" cancellation fee. Exactly what a reasonable cancellation fee is depends on the situation. As this term has not been dealt with in Court yet, lawyers often argue that it is one of the following:- One month's rental- 10% of the value of the contract- Some other factors taken in combination, which are considered "reasonable"If finding a new tenant is going to take you a long time, then a reasonable cancellation fee could be 2 (or even 3) months rental. However if you can find a tenant at short notice, then the reasonable cancellation fee will most likely be 1 months rental. It all depends on the circumstances.There is no authority however for charging rental until a new tenant has been found. I don't think that that would be reasonable, and remember, you will need to prove what is considered to be reasonable in the circumstances...My advice: Charge 1 months rental as a cancellation fee, as well as any damages/repairs to the property which may be needed. If you are holding a large deposit, charge that as the cancellation fee.This is the reason why some landlords now require a 2 month rental deposit from their tenants - to cover any actual damages/repairs, and to cover any early termination of lease agreement. This is also the reason why some landlords increase the rental amount - to cover against early termination - however this could scare off potential tenants.If there is something more specific that you need clarity on, please continue in this same thread.Good luck and best regards,CaseLawI hope you found my answer helpful. If you did, please leave me positive feedback! Only if you leave feedback will I get paid for my work. Your question will not close, and you will still have the opportunity to follow-up if needed.Please remember this is a dialog if you have follow up questions please use the REPLY button and ask. If you have additional questions, please keep in mind that I do not know what you already know or don't know, or with what you need help, unless you tell me. Please consider that I am answering the question or question that is posed in your posting based upon my reading of your post and sometimes misunderstandings can occur. If I did not answer the question you thought you were asking, please respond with the specific question you wanted answered.Also remember, sometimes the law does not support what we want it to support, but that is not the fault of the person answering the question, so please be courteous.Please note: This answer does not create an attorney-client relationship. Please consult a local attorney in person for legal advice. This information is being provided so you can better discuss legal matters with your attorney.
Many thanks. I have discovered, subsequent to renting my house to this tenant that he is in the real estate business and makes a habit of taking landlords for a ride as he knows what he can get away with. I am hoping to find another tenant asap, but obviously now only have 1 month in which to do that. The lease agreement states that he must give me three months notice if not renewing at the end of the lease period (12 months) in order to find another tenant. Could I use this as a reason for charging him 2 or 3 months rental if I cannot find another tenant?
Hi again, You can use basically whatever factors you want in order to charge him whatever cancellation fee you want. The problem is that if you are not holding that amount of money as a deposit, at the end of the day you are going to have to sue him in Court in order to force him to pay the reasonable cancellation penalty to you!That is going to cost you money. This is why most people seek to enforce a reasonable cancellation penalty which is reasonable, and which both parties find reasonable.If you can't agree, and you are not holding enough money, then you'll need to go to Court. Good luck and best regards,CaseLaw
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