Cutting off electricity
Disputes between landlords and tenants most often arise when both or one of the parties has not adhered to the terms and conditions of a lease agreement. One of the most common disagreements arises over non-payment or late payment of rent. It must be noted, though, that the responsibilities attached to a lease agreement are equally borne by landlords and tenants.
The relationship between a landlord and tenant is governed and overseen by the Rental Housing Act 50 of 1999. In terms of municipal services, including the provision of electricity and water to a rented property, the landlord is ultimately responsible for ensuring that these are provided to their tenant.
Moreover, even if there are rental arrears, a landlord is not entitled to cut off the supply of water and electricity to their rented property. In terms of the Rental Housing Act and its related legislation, it has become a criminal offence to do so. Similarly, it is illegal for a landlord to change the locks on a rented property to “lock out” a tenant, even if rental arrears exist.
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