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Freddie Lombard
Freddie Lombard, Attorney
Category: South Africa Law
Satisfied Customers: 2461
Experience:  Practicing attorney and conveyancer with 16 years post article experience.
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My rental contact expires at end Aug this year, I gave

Customer Question

My rental contact expires at end Aug this year, I gave notice on 24 April, moved out on 21 May,and paid rent up to end of June..contract says notice of "not less than 2, and not more than 3 months' penalties may be charged"...I tried to discuss with the owner, he said he can't get a new tenant..however, he advertised an increased amount rent for any potential new tenant. According to the CPA, is it fair of him to expect me to pay the full term if I have already paid 83,3% of the entire contract's rent over...surely penalties must be proportional to many months of the lease remains? what should I do? He is not open to discuss and threatens to sue me, I cant afford legal fees if I am wrong. I hear that 10% penalties of the remainder of the contract would have been a fair penalty? Please advise
Submitted: 5 months ago.
Category: South Africa Law
Expert:  Freddie Lombard replied 5 months ago.

Hi there

Thank you for your question. I will try to assist you in answering it today but please feel free to ask as many follow up questions as you like until you are 100% satisfied.

This is a bit of a grey area as the CPA does not prescribe what would be a fair and reasonable penalty. It simply gives guidelines of what would be considered to establish if a penalty is fair and reasonable.

These factors include the original contract term, the remaining balance of the contract term, the ease or difficulty of getting a new tenant on the same terms and conditions, period of notice given etc.

Your contention that the penalties must be proportional to the remainder of the lease is therefore correct.

I am not sure what amounts we are talking about here but he will most likely not be able to successfully claim more than one extra month's rental from you and most attorneys would advise him not to litigate for a small amount as it would cost him more in legal costs than what he would receive if successful.

You can also be pro-active and refer the dispute regarding penalty claimed by the landlord to the Rental Housing Tribunal in your area. They will adjudicate on this matter free of charge and give you some peace of mind. To get their contact details you can simply google them and then phone to find out if they have a office near you. Their website also set out the procedure to follow for making a referral.

I hope this answered your question.

I know it will take an extra minute of your time to rate my service, but if you do not rate it, I do not get paid by the website so I would really appreciate it if you would be so kind as to rate my service positively. Feel free to ask further question here on this topic at no extra cost if you need more information.

Regards

Expert:  Freddie Lombard replied 5 months ago.

Hi there,

I have noticed that you have not yet rated my service and consequently I am not sure if you still need help from me or if you are satisfied.

Please rate my service positively if you are satisfied.

Kind regards