Owners and Tenants have different rights and obligations
Apr 2, 2024


Wondering who should do or pay for what? These guidelines help sort out the details between lessors and lessees (landlords and tenants).



  • You have the right to do anything you please with the property, unless restricted by Common Law and legislation. Restrictions may include, amongst other things, subdividing a stand, maintenance specification, minimum building standards, and so on.
  • Improving your property is your prerogative as long as you comply with the guidelines and consents of the Local Authority, Body Corporate or Homeowners’ Association. You will also need approved building plans.
  • You are able to sell the property when you wish.
  • Your property can be used as security to obtain finance.
  • You own the land surface, everything permanently affixed to the land including the plants/crops, the movable accessories and all the permanent fixtures.
  • You are responsible for the maintenance of everything on your property.
  • If the property is mortgaged (bonded) and you are renting it out, you are obliged to maintain your repayments with the financial institution (bank).
  • You have to make sure that you are aware of all the extra costs involved in purchasing property.
  • You are obliged to pay the rates and taxes imposed by the local authority, as well as any levies when renting out a sectional title property or a property in a security estate.



  • The owner may restrict what you as the tenant are allowed to do with the property. All your rights and obligations will be subject to the terms and conditions of the Lease Agreement.
  • Sometimes you have to ask permission from the owner to do even the smallest thing, like hammering a nail into the wall. Destroying anything on the property may cost you your deposit, or part thereof.
  • You cannot sell the property you are renting, only the owner can sell it.
  • You cannot obtain finance by using the property you are renting, as security.
  • You only own the goods that you moved in with. It may be stipulated in the lease agreement that any fixtures you add to the property remains in/on the property when the lease has terminated.
  • It is the owners’ responsibility to maintain, replace or fix equipment like the stove, geyser, electrical wiring, although the owner could stipulate that you are responsible for the garden, swimming pool and so on.
  • You are obliged to pay the monthly rent agreed upon by you and the owner, which is stipulated in the Lease Agreement.
  • Be aware of all the costs involved in renting property, other than the deposit and monthly payments. You must understand which costs are for your account and which are for the landlord’s account. Check your Lease Agreement for these details.
  • Depending on the Lease Agreement, you are not generally obliged to pay the rates and taxes but you are however responsible for the electricity bill, water usage, telephone bill and so on.