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Legal Advice Office in South Africa

The Legal Advice Office in South Africa

The Legal Advice Office offers affordable Legal Advice as well as Legal and Paralegal Services throughout South Africa.

Our legal advice and services are based on 40 years of experience in the professional legal field.  As a purely internet based legal consultancy business, we pride ourselves in personal, professional and efficient service at affordable rates and undertake to revert to our clients within 48 hours of their query being received by us.

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What do the Common Law and the Consumer Protection Act No 68 of 2008 (CPA) mean for tenants when the landlord sells the property?

When a property is sold with tenants in occupation of the premises; what rights do the tenants have when it comes to staying on, cancelling the lease or indeed enforcing its terms?

Landlords are within their rights to sell their properties at any time, even without notifying the tenant of their intention to do so; but the tenant’s rights remain in place before any of the rights of the buyer of the property. “Huur gaat voor koop” is an old Roman Dutch axiom which covers this situation. In effect this means that the tenants can remain in the property until their lease expires.

If a property is sold by the owner; the lease terms and conditions are passed from the one landlord to another being the buyer; and they do NOT fall away. If the lease has not been cancelled, both the tenants and the new landlord buyer are both bound by its terms and conditions until the lease is either renegotiated or expires. The deposit held by the previous landlord must be transferred to the new owner and as with the previous landlord it must be held in an interest bearing account for the benefit and interest of the tenant as its remains the tenant’s money at all times. At the end of the lease it must be refunded to the tenants with interest earned on it; unless the landlord has a legal rights to retain the whole or a portion of the deposit in terms of the terms of the lease agreement.

However if the tenants decide that they would no longer wish to stay on in the property if there is a new owner and landlord; the terms and conditions of the lease itself mat also prevent the tenants from leaving the new landlord in the lurch and cancelling the lease. They have no automatic right to do so; and the lease terms and conditions will still be binding on them. If the tenants try to cancel the lease in these circumstances; they may well find that there is a penalty for doing so.

The above is all based in common law and the law of contract.

Although the CPA allows tenants to give early notice of termination of a lease in certain cases by formally giving 20 business day’s notice; if the landlord is a supplier according to the CPA and lets the property in the ordinary course of business; there is still the possibility of a “reasonable penalty” which the landlord may be entitled to depending on the circumstances of each case.

In short; if for any reason the landlord or the tenants cancel the lease once the property has been sold and taken over by the new owner; it would be best if it was done by mutual consent.

The first course of action would be to have an open discussion and communication between the two parties and through this process hopefully reach an agreement without either party being put financially of legally at risk.

Landlords and agents usually work on a “reasonable penalty: equivalent to the cost of finding a new tenant plus one month’s rent; but this is not the law and this is not and can never be a once size fits all scenario. The rationale behind this approach is that it takes about one month for the landlord or his agent to find a new tenant.

Each case however should be judged on its own unique facts.

If on the other hand the new owner landlord wishes to cancel the lease; there should be no penalty and the tenants should always be given enough time to find alternative premises.

Once again; we must stress that it is always advisable  for both landlords and tenants to seek proper, professional legal advice and legal services when dealing with complex factual and legal issues as we reiterate once again that both the common law and the CPA and its contents can sometimes can be confusing and complicated, especially if you want its correct interpretation in the circumstances of your particular case; and it needs a trained experienced and legal mind to interpret it correctly and as accurately as possible in any given circumstances.

Please visit  The Legal Advice Office’s website at www.legaladviceoffice.co.za or write to one of our email addresses; either This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and we will respond within 48 hours.

Thank you.

The Legal Advice Office Team.

commercial lease ending

Landlords often refer to an early cancellation of a lease agreement by the tenant as “a breach of contract.” This is not the case.

At The Legal Advice Office, we receive emails every single week from tenants who want to inquire about the possibility of terminating their lease agreements.

There are many reasons for this. Some are purely financial reasons, some because their businesses are not viable, sometimes it is because they want to relocate either from one city or town to another or simply to change the venue for their business.

In other case, it is because they were misled by the landlord or the agent at the time of entering the lease eg with regard to a misrepresentation as to the amount of anticipated foot traffic for their particular centre.

If you have valid grounds a lease agreement may be terminated and cancelled in terms of the common law.

 business rescue

Business rescue is simply a legal process to assist businesses that are in financial distress

From time to time we get inquiries from business owners whose businesses are struggling financially and who seek advice regarding their options. One of those options is Business Rescue; which is a relatively new commercial concept.

This blog focuses on shedding a little more light on the very complex and technical issue of business rescue and the new Companies Act, which is Act No 71 of 2008; and we are going to focus on Chapter 6 dealing with Business Rescue.

We hope to answer the following question for entrepreneurs and business owners in general:

 private company

 Setting up a company can be a quick exercise if you have done your homework well

The Legal Advice Office recently received the following query via email.

“I have applied for and been approved to open up a small franchise business. The franchisor, however, requires that I run the franchise business in the name of a private company and not in my own personal name. Where do I start this process if I want to register my own private company; and how do I set a private company up.”

 e commerce tC web

Your website T&C's - essentially represent your agreement of use and trade

On Monday we received the following question via email.

 “I’ve recently launched an online business and I am busy setting up my website. My website developer has strongly advised me to look at proper terms and conditions for my website. I’ve always thought these were relatively standard T’s & C’s, but he seems to think they must be quite specific. Must they be specific or can I just copy terms and conditions from other websites?”

verbal agreement

Can you legally rely on a person’s word only instead of a written change in an agreement?

This was the simple inquiry we got the other day.

“Are oral variations of an agreement valid?”

 To illustrate let us take an example:

If, for example, you agree to rent a house from a friend of yours for a fixed period of two years.

You both furthermore agree that you should enter into a written lease agreement and you have a written lease drawn up properly.

Everything goes well until the monthly rental increases come into effect as per the written lease agreement at the end of the first year.

You discuss the situation with your friend who agrees to waive the increase verbally.

But is this sufficient and can you legally rely on his word only?

 mediation web

Many businesses around the world are increasingly opting for mediation as a method of commercial dispute resolution.

We recently received the following question.

 “My company is in business and is quite often embroiled in legal disputes that end in expensive litigation. This takes time, sometimes years, and is not only time consuming, but is expensive and frustrating. I realise that legal disputes are part and parcel of the business environment, but it would be nice if we could resolve some of these disputes faster and with less expense. Have you any ideas as I have heard about the subject “mediation”, but am not sure if this would is a good idea or simply be delaying the inevitable litigation?”

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Legal Advice Office

South Africa

Kandelaar Street, Vermont, Hermanus
Phone: +27 (028) 316 2832
Email: info@legaladviceoffice.co.za

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