A lease is a special type of contract. An owner of goods or property may let such goods or property to another person who hires it. The owner is referred to as the lessor and a person to whom the property is let is referred to as the lessee.
Almost anything can be leased. We shall concentrate on the lease of immovable property ie. a house or business premises.
The lessor might also be referred to as the landlord and the lessee as the tenant. It is advisable to have a written lease agreement. This document should look after both the landlord and the tenant. The parties respective rights and obligations should be set out clearly.
Agreement should be reached with regard to the term of the lease, deposit, amount per month, a description of the property, responsibility for maintenance, breakage, number of people occupying, and consequences as a result of a breach by either party. There are many other things that should be taken into account and provided for in this document. It is advisable to consult your lawyer.
Both parties should try to find out a little bit about the other as both are at risk. There are difficult tenants and landlords. The tenant should take careful note of all the defects in the property, even going as far as a taking photographs, listing the defects and recording them in writing with the landlord upon payment of the deposit.
Too often the landlord tries to withhold a deposit at the end of the lease on the basis that the tenant has caused damage to the property which may have existed prior to entering into the lease agreement.
All leases of residential property are now governed by The Rental Housing Act and both landlords and tenants are advised to familiarise themselves with the provisions of the act and the regulations in terms of the act.
Landlords of residential property are advised to check out the tenant very thoroughly before signing and giving occupation. It is extremely difficult to kick out a "squatting tenant".