Luanga v Perthpark Properties Ltd 2019 (3) SA 214 (WCC) related to the interpretation of the Rental Housing Act whereby the tenant, Mr. Luanga, appealed against an eviction order granted against him.

On 19 July 2016, the lessees were informed that their lease will not be renewed. Luanga remained on the premises after 28 February 2017. Perthpark informed Luanga on 4 May 2017 that the lease was immediately cancelled and they had to vacate the property by 5 June 2017. Luanga failed to vacate the property and an application for eviction was made and granted against Luanga in September 2017.

On appeal of the order, Luanga argued that the notice of termination of a monthly lease must run concurrently with the period of the lease and expires at the end of a month.

The Court held that the Landlord bears the burden of proving the lawful termination of the lease. The Court held further that the one month’s notice is written in peremptory language in the Rental Housing Act and must be properly complied with.

The Court reached a conclusion and held that interpretation of Section 5 (5) of the Rental Housing Act should be interpreted with due regard to our common law and Constitutional values to ensure that there is legal certainty. The common law meaning of “a month” in indefinite period contracts of lease, runs from the beginning of each month and as such the notice must be given at the end of the month, in order to terminate the contract at the end of the next month.

Therefore, the court held that insufficient notice was given to Luanga to vacate the premises and that a full month’s notice should be given to Luanga to vacate the premises.

In light of the above, the appeal was granted by the Court.

This case highlights the protection afforded to Tenants in terms of the Rental Housing Act. Other key protection measures afforded to Tenants are as follows:

    1. Tenants have a right to receive a written lease agreement from the Landlord upon request;
    2. If a deposit was paid for by the Tenant directly to the Landlord, that deposit must be refunded to the Tenant after the necessary deductions are made;
    3. Any deductions made to the Tenants deposit must be substantiated with proof such as supporting invoices relating to these deductions;
    4. Deposits received by the Tenant must be invested by the Landlord in an interest-bearing account for the duration of the lease; and
    5. An inspection of the leased premises must be done before the Tenant moves into the property. If any defects are noted on the premises during this inspection, this list of defects must be put in writing and attached to the lease agreement as an annexure.
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