Tim Chase has been a director of STBB for 30 years. He is an attorney admitted to practice in the High Court of South Africa. He has experience in a variety of litigation matters, property law disputes, commercial and residential leases and specialises in all aspects of debt recovery.

Thought of the Week | Drought and your tenant

Many parts of South Africa are experiencing drought conditions on the moment – some mild, others such as in Cape Town, severe.

Lease agreements usually deal in some detail with the obligations of both the landlord and the tenant, but obligations in exceptional circumstances brought about by severe water shortages may not have been addressed. What happens if your tenant uses too much water and the city fines you as the property owner ? Most lease agreements have provisions that stipulate that the tenant must observe current laws and municipal by-laws at all times, and such a transgression will then be for the cost of the tenant. But what if the excessive use relates to damage to the pipes in the leased premises? And how does the water limitations impact on the usual duty placed on a tenant to maintain the premises – garden and swimming pool included?

Clearly, to avoid potential future disputes, it is prudent for landlords and tenants to detail their respective obligations in the current drought, so that there is no uncertainty regarding liability for damages that may arise.

Contact STBB for assistance to make sure your lease agreement addresses the risks and concerns.