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Consumer Law | The Legal Advice Office

Consumer law advice and legal services especially pertaining to the purchase of defective and damaged motor vehicles and your remedies in these circumstances. Cancellation of Leases and contracts etc.  

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One of the issues that crops up on a regular basis with The Legal Advice Office are queries and advice sought from us when you have been lied to or, at least, not been told the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

If someone sells you an item, for example a motor car, and they do not fully disclose to you any defects in that vehicle that they knew about or should reasonably have known about; then you have certain legal rights and recourse.

The Consumer Protection Act No 68 of 2008 (CPA): Expiry and Renewal of fixed term contracts/agreements, especially Leases. Continued: Section 14 (3) & (4).

Today; to finalise this set of blogs on the above topic; we look at the last two subsections of section 14 dealing with the expiry and renewal of fixed term contracts and once again we will concentrate on leases as this is the most frequent source of enquiry; although the provisions of the whole of section 14 apply to ALL fixed term contracts.

As stated in our previous blog; at The Legal Advice Office we get numerous enquiries from clients and consumers seeking our help in terminating lease agreements because of one reason or another.

The CPA deals with the above subject and in our last blog we looked at section 14(1).

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 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.

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Legal Advice Office

South Africa

Kandelaar Street, Vermont, Hermanus
Phone: +27 (028) 316 2832

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