I have a 12-month contract in place for a residential property. The conditions of the house have deteriorated to such an extent that I feel it is unhealthy for me and my family to rent the property. What are my options?
It is imperative that you immediately send a letter to the owner of the property and remind him of the terms and conditions of the rental agreement referring to the maintenance of the property.
Most lease agreements contain clauses which indicate what is expected from the tenant and what is expected from the Landlord in regarding of maintenance of the property.
In this letter, you must firstly, list out all the defects which you expect the landlord to remedy and indicate to them which clauses of the rental agreement they are contravening. These contraventions are regarded as a breach of the lease agreement. (Regardless of whether it is a verbal or a written agreement.
Secondly, also ensure that your letter contains the exact period which the Landlord is given to remedy the breach. Usually, if you have a lease agreement in place, this period will be stipulated under the breach clause. Should you not have a lease agreement in place, you must give reasonable period’s notice to enable the Landlord to remedy the breach.
Wait out the period that you have given the Landlord to remedy, and should they fail, you may proceed to send an additional notice to formally cancel the lease agreement. Should you not wish to cancel the lease agreement you can also report the Landlord to the Rental Housing Tribunal.
If your lease agreement is not in writing, you also have the option of giving a calendar months’ notice, without providing a reason for cancellation, that you cancel the lease agreement.
Should you have a fixed lease agreement you may also, without referring to any breach clause, give notice in terms of clause 14 of the Consumer Protection Act. The latter cancellation may cause penalties to be paid by you and it is therefore better to comply with the conditions of the lease agreement and cancel due to breach as you will then not be liable for any penalties.
Should you require any assistance with cancelling your residential lease agreement, please feel free to contact our firm.