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Renting a home: You need a Lawyer


Most of the time, our homes are places of safety and comfort, but it is important to remember that it is also a financial asset and a legal commodity. ‘If you pay rent, you might need a good lawyer at some stage,’ says Luleka Ngodwane of Clientèle Legal.

Dr. George Dennill from Bloemfontein knows this all too well. Here’s his story:

“I had a bad experience with a rental agency and a dispute ensued. It became a legal nightmare, filled with red tape and frustration! Just trying to understand the complications arising from the lease agreement was near-impossible,” says Dr. Dennill. “I turned to my lawyers at Clientèle Legal for help. They guided me through the legal clutter and the matter was resolved. I would never have been able to afford the legal fees otherwise.”

Recent changes to the Consumer Protection Act might have some controversial implications for lease agreements, says Ngodwane. The Act stipulates that the lease agreement must be drawn up in plain language, so that an ‘ordinary consumer with average literacy skills’ can understand. Further, the Act states that lease agreements may only exist for 24 months. “Automatic renewals are a thing of the past,” Ngodwane warns. “This means that landlords will not be able to charge a cancellation fee at the end of the lease and must now take responsibility to renew the lease appropriately between 40 and 80 days before expiry.”

Apart from issues with rentals, home owners or people who pay rent may also encounter other legal problems:

  • disputes with the neighbours;
  • contractual disputes;
  • poor service from security companies;
  • problems with builders;
  • disputes with the town council over billings;
  • legal issues resulting from pet ownership, just to name a few.

‘That is why, if you rent a home – you should have a lawyer!’ Clientèle Legal is here to assist you 24 hours a day.