Are there any circumstances under which a tenant can withhold rent?
One of the most common reasons for wanting to evict a tenant is due to late or no payment of rent money.
Some tenants withhold rentals for good reasons and others use excuses because they do not have the money to meet their rental obligation.
Whatever the reason, tenants who do not pay their rent are most likely to face eviction. Tenants need to be made aware that they cannot withhold payment as a means of rectifying the situation.
Making the choice not to pay your rent is a legal breach and even though the tenant is deprived of full use and enjoyment of the property in which he lives or their usage may have diminished, rent still has to be paid.
However, the courts have allowed for non-payment of rent under certain circumstances, but has to take the following considerations into account: the facts of the dispute, common law and the terms of the lease contract.
In the case of Ntshiqa v Andreas Supermarket (Pty) Ltd , 1996 (3) All SA 154 (Tk) – an important case in the South African law of lease - the tenant was entitled to withhold rent for one month to compel the landlord to perform.
The tenant’s use and enjoyment were disturbed by the landlord’s failure to maintain the property; the defects being necessary as the landlord had tampered with the electricity.
The Constitution also stipulates that all South Africans have the right to adequate housing.
Date: 20 th November 2013
Legislation: Rental Housing Tribunals
Rental Housing Act (50 of 1999)
The Constitution, 1996
Laws of Contract
Consumer Protection Act (CPA)
Case Law: 1. Ntshiqa v Andreas Supermarket (Pty) Ltd, 1996 (3) All SA 154 (Tk)
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