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Thread: How do you cancel a lease on a property?

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    Question How do you cancel a lease on a property?

    I deal with many young people, and they often bring me all their problems. Finding this forum so far has been god-sent, and I thank those who are able to respond!

    One such young couple have hit on hard times, and the husban no longer received overtime. I have been told them that they simply need to downgrade. In December the moved into a townhouse and signed a year lease. The lease agreement states that if they move out before the lease is over they lose their deposit, which is equal to 2 months rent (R13000.00).

    What legal options do they possibly have to also ensure they get their deposit back?

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    Just a question but why should the landlord lose out by them moving out before the lease is up ?? I rent out offices which I own and have leases - why should I be the one to suffer if my tenant moves out and I sit with an empty property ??

    I would also hold them to it unless they came to me and said they had a problem and helped me find another tenant. Surely the right thing to do would be to talk to your landlord, I mean they have made a committement to him and signed a legal document !!
    And yes I would also withold their deposit ........... thats why I have it !!

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    Diamond Member Vanash Naick's Avatar
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    With lease agreements and contracts the actual legal remedy that one can offer is never what the person in that predicament wants to hear.
    The only way a lease can be enforced or any clause therein nullified is to go to court. The law of contract is applicable here.
    “The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however, is to change it.” Karl Marx
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    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Catz View Post
    What legal options do they possibly have to also ensure they get their deposit back?
    Finding a replacement tenant to take up the balance of the lease might be a solution. It'll be subject to approval by the landlord, of course, but that consent cannot be unreasonably withheld.
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

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    Nice to have got the view from the other side of the fence. In the interim they have chatted to the landlord and they will need to find a replacement tenant. So thanks Dave. They have already started advertising, so hopefully they come right!

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    Platinum Member sterne.law@gmail.com's Avatar
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    The clause relating to losing the deposit can actually be a "gift"
    This type of clause often acts as a penalty/damages clause. It means that the R13000 is the damage for breach, so where a person breaches with 8 months to run, and could be liable for 8 months if, say, no tent was found, the R13000 is great.

    Bearing the cost for replacing is fair and a small price to play. A win win solution, in the circumstance
    Anthony Sterne

    www.acumenholdings.co.za
    DISCLAIMER The above is merely a comment in discussion form and an open public arena. It does not constitute a legal opinion or professional advice in any manner or form.

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    "Reasonable cancelation fee"

    According to the law you can give 20 days notice and will be held acountabile for outstanding payments aswell as a "reasonable cancelation fee". I am in a similar psition as the the person above and gave notice acording to the law. The owner accepted the cancelation but now we disagree about what a reasonable cancelation fee will be. I only have one month left of a 12 month contract of R3800 per month. How will I calculate a "reasonable cancelation fee" and if I dont agree with the owners offer what steps must I follow.

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    Platinum Member sterne.law@gmail.com's Avatar
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    With on month left there is not much to negotiate.
    To be clear - outstanding payments relates to any arrears and not to a balance of the lease.
    Reasonable fee consider number of issues including the ability to replace the consumer, with one month left it i unlikely that the owner will get a new tenant in les stain 2 weeks plus his costs to advertise, I think the one month rent will be acceptable as reasonable.
    Anthony Sterne

    www.acumenholdings.co.za
    DISCLAIMER The above is merely a comment in discussion form and an open public arena. It does not constitute a legal opinion or professional advice in any manner or form.

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    My story that started this thread, updates: The young couple gave 20 days notice and have moved in with their parents. The wife has been retrenched, and she was the breadwinner. No tenant was found as the agents leasing the property restricted the young couple from putting boards up on the property and from associating them with the rental (very immature behaviour if you ask me). Personally as a landlord myself, I never sign leases longer than 6 months, and take 2 months deposit upfront. This covers me reasonably. I feel landlords that sign long term lease agreements place themselves at a big risk, and unfortunately have to take the knock when their risk becomes a reality. We live in hard economical times, people ARE losing jobs, and jobs are just more and more difficult to come by - many landlords are pretty greedy and do not take the economic climate into considration when signing long term leases. In this case i cannot see the landlords even bothering to take the young couple to court as the young couple have nothing really between the 2 of them anyway!

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    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Catz View Post
    Personally as a landlord myself, I never sign leases longer than 6 months, and take 2 months deposit upfront. This covers me reasonably. I feel landlords that sign long term lease agreements place themselves at a big risk, and unfortunately have to take the knock when their risk becomes a reality.
    I don't see how a longer lease increases risk. Ultimately your losses only relate to how long it takes to get a new tenant in, surely.

    Quote Originally Posted by Catz View Post
    In this case i cannot see the landlords even bothering to take the young couple to court as the young couple have nothing really between the 2 of them anyway!
    Yep - generally it's just SARS and banks that try to squeeze blood from a stone
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

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