fbpx

Help: Lease Agreement for Residential Property

← Back to Document Help

Lease Agreement

A lease agreement is a legally binding contract between a landlord and a tenant that specifies their rights and responsibilities in regard to the rental property. For example, the lease will specify the amount of rent, the length of the agreement, and each party’s duties and obligations under the agreement. It also includes specific language regarding pets, security deposits, late fees, utilities, etc.

The lease agreement can be set for a fixed amount of time or month-to-month. It’s important to understand that if the lease agreement is for a fixed term, both parties are legally bound by the lease until it expires. This means that each party must perform all of their duties and obligations under the lease during the entire lease term.

For More Information:
TOPIC INDEX

Landlord

The landlord is the person or company who is renting out the property. “Lessor” is another way to say landlord.

For More Information:
TOPIC INDEX

Tenant

The tenant is the person or company who is renting the property from the landlord. “Lessee” is another way to say tenant.

For More Information:
TOPIC INDEX

Access to the Property

The lease agreement allows the Landlord to have access to the property for necessary purposes; for example, to make repairs or to show the property to prospective tenants or buyers.

For More Information:
TOPIC INDEX

Early Cancellation

You can include specific terms for the early termination of the lease agreement.

For More Information:
TOPIC INDEX

Late Fees

In South Africa, the late fee amount must be reasonable. A good guide to determine what is reasonable would be the estimate of the costs that the landlord will face as a result of the late payment. For example, it might be the administrative costs for a late payment. A late fee that is not considered reasonable, or is considered excessive, will not be legally valid.

For More Information:
TOPIC INDEX

Lease Term

The term can either be fixed (such as 12 months) or periodic (such as month-to-month). Leases that have a fixed term help landlords and tenants feel more secure because both sides are locked in. Month-to-month leases offer more flexibility.

The start date is usually the same as the move-in date. It’s the day the tenant takes possession of the property and not the date when the lease is signed. The end date is the day the tenant must deliver the property back to the landlord. The tenant must have moved out of the property by the end date unless the parties have arranged for another agreement. For example, a new lease can be signed, or the lease can continue on a month-to-month agreement.

After the lease ends, you have the option for the lease to become a month-to-month tenancy. During a month-to-month tenancy, each party can terminate the tenancy by providing written notice to the other party of 1 full calendar month.

For More Information:
TOPIC INDEX

Rent

Rent is the amount of money the tenant will pay to the landlord each month.

For More Information:
TOPIC INDEX

Security Deposits

This document allows the landlord to require a security deposit from the tenant. The deposit is intended to give the landlord security against extra money that might be due by the tenant after the final rent payment is made, this is why the tenant is not supposed to use their security deposit as their final rent payment. The landlord can deduct damage to the property that needs to be repaired but must return the balance to the tenant within 21 calendar days of the tenant vacating the property.

Most landlords will require a security deposit. The deposit is often equal to one month’s rent but may be other amounts.

For More Information:
TOPIC INDEX

Utilities and Other Services

It’s important to specify who’ll be responsible for utilities. For example, the landlord might pay water and rates and taxes, while the tenant pays electricity.

This lease agreement requires the user to specify who will pay for water; electricity; and, rates and taxes; the user may also enter other utilities and services to the agreement as they require, such as gas, internet, telephones, etc.

For More Information:
TOPIC INDEX