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Free lease agreement template for South African landlords

Our free lease agreement is a legal contract that you can make your own. Drafted by our lawyers, it is fully compliant with rental law and is designed to protect you and your tenant from nasty legal surprises later on.

Your lease protects your investment

As a landlord, finding a great tenant is half the battle. But before giving them access to your property, you need to make sure your investment is covered for any scenarios that could affect its physical or financial state.

 

For example, what happens if your tenant pays late? And if the geyser bursts, who is responsible? How do you deal with early cancellation? Your tenant is subletting, what do you do? A strong lease covers you for all these scenarios and more.

The lease agreement is a legal contract between you, as the landlord, and a tenant. Once the lease is signed (physically or electronically) by both the landlord and the tenant, it is binding and each party must adhere to its terms. The lease outlines these terms, guarantees the tenant the use of the property and guarantees the landlord regular payments from the tenant for a specified period of time.

 

The lease agreement is one of the most important documents for a landlord. It outlines the rules by which a tenant can use and occupy the space you own and the repercussions should these rules be broken. In the event of a dispute between a landlord and a tenant, the lease represents what was agreed upon by both parties and serves as clarity on various matters. It provides security to both the landlord and tenant and prevents misunderstandings that could potentially lead to litigation.

It is in both parties’ interest to have a comprehensive lease that can answer tenant-landlord questions. Here's a list of items that are essential to include in a lease agreement:

  • The names of the tenant and the landlord or the landlord’s agent or company who manages the property.
  • The premises, which includes the address of the property.
  • The total number of occupants allowed.
  • The duration of the lease, including commencement, termination date and notice period.
  • The monthly rental amount, including the date it is due as well as late payment charges. This includes how rent will be paid, e.g. EFT, debit order or cash.
  • Acceptance of the offer and payment of the deposit. This includes the amount, purpose and where it will be held.
  • Who will be responsible for damages, repairs and maintenance. This can include an insurance policy.
  • Prohibition of subletting the property, if applicable.
  • The utilities that are available and how these will be charged.
  • The rules in terms of pets, noise and smoking.
  • What happens in the event of a breach of contract, and a lease cancellation policy.

Landlords should take great care when drafting their own lease agreement.

 

Firstly, well-intended clauses trip you up later if they are not written in a watertight way.

 

Secondly, there are strict laws governing the rights and obligations of landlords and tenants - some of the clauses you include in your lease agreement may not hold up in court if they contravene these rules. For example, you have to return the deposit within a set amount of days after the lease ends, you must hold the deposit in an interest-bearing trust account, etc. Make sure you have read the Rental Housing Act and the Rental Housing Amendment Act - both available here - before finalising your draft.

 

And lastly, rental laws continually change so a lease agreement that was compliant when it was drafted may no longer be valid a few years later. For example, see our blogpost on the latest changes to the Rental Housing Amendment Act.

Because of these common pitfalls, it is worthwhile consulting a legal expert, particularly someone who has experience in handling landlord and tenant concerns. 

 

Alternatively, you can purchase or re-use an existing lease from rental agencies as a basis for your draft. That way, you benefit from others' rental expertise but still have the flexibility to add in your own clauses such as house rules (e.g. no pets).

 

For example, HouseME's generic lease agreement, which was drafted with the help of our lawyers and is fully compliant with the latest rental laws, is available for free for your benefit. 

Need help drafting your lease?

If drafting your own lease agreement sounds like a headache and our free generic lease template still leaves you with questions, why not let HouseME handle these matters for you?

 

As digital renting specialists, HouseME uses technology to make renting easier and more affordable for independent landlords like yourself. At the unbeatable fee of 3.5% of the value of the lease, HouseME will vet your tenant, issue the lease, hold the deposit, collect rent, give you free call-outs on our network of maintenance providers, help with renewals, and more. You can add on a Rental Guarantee that ensures you get paid on time even if your tenant pays late, and Eviction Coverage for if your tenant can’t meet their obligations anymore. In other words, we handle all the hassle and risk for you.

 

You can transfer your tenant to HouseME’s online platform at any time, even mid-lease. Or, if you’re still looking for a tenant, we can help you find one. 

 

Now that’s renting smart.

Download your free lease agreement

HouseME free lease contract