Rental Relief Options for Tenants

15th Jul 2020

Rental Relief Options to Assist Good Paying Tenants During COVID-19 Pandemics

South Africans are experiencing a hard time paying rent, both for residential as well as commercial properties. The COVID-19 crisis hit the economy hard, hence the struggle to make ends meet.

The regulations that apply during the current state of disaster will keep residential tenants with a roof over their heads, at least for a while. Evictions can be granted during lockdown Level 3 through a court order but can only be enforced during Level 2, unless stipulated otherwise by the court.

  1. Open the line of discussion
    Each case should be dealt with individually. Seeing as these are unprecedented times, a good reference on how to handle this situation will be the relationship between the tenant and landlord. A good paying tenant who paid rent timeously every month before the disaster hit, is more likely to be able to negotiate a payment plan with his tenant.

    If a tenant is unable to pay rent due to loss of their employment, the landlord may request a document confirming the tenant’s loss of income, be it a letter from his employer or a bank statement. It will, in fact, be an onerous process for the landlord to get new tenants during these financially difficult times if the tenant indeed does move out, which makes a partial payment option all the more appealing to landlords.
  2. Landlords can give tenants a payment holiday
    If the landlord chooses, they are free to allow the tenant to not pay for a while, especially if they have been given a similar indulgence by their bank on their bond instalments. Good practice will be to have these terms reduced to writing and signed to prevent possible confusion later. Also, stipulate the period agreed upon.
  3. Short-term loan
    Another option for the tenant is to apply for a short-term loan. If the landlord relies on rental income to pay for municipal accounts and no rent or partial rent is collected, the tenant runs the risk of his power being cut off.

If you are a tenant who struggles to pay the rent or a landlord who has not been paid what is due, contact us today for a consultation and we will discuss possible solutions with you.