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Tenants to challenge landlords over Covid-19 rental clauses

One of the groups affected right now are landlords, many of whom have been unable to collect rent during the past three months.

One of the groups affected right now are landlords, many of whom have been unable to collect rent during the past three months.

Published Jul 1, 2020


DURBAN - The South African Independent Tenants Association (SAITA) says it is tired of being bullied by landlords into leases and then holding them to those leases for ridiculous periods of time. And it is for this reason the association says it is proposing a joint legal action against landlords at the high court.

Dr. Ivor Blumenthal, CEO of SAITA said: “We have engaged with counsel to establish what relief there is in law for SAITA members against Landlords who persist in demanding full or part rentals during the period of the Covid-19 pandemic,”

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“Truly Small Retailers and Businesses fall between the cracks when Governments recognise Small as businesses doing R80 Million Rand turnover instead of the more likely R15-R20 Million.”

According to Statistics South Africa, 73% of small enterprises warned that if the lockdown continues for longer than three months, it is most likely that they won’t survive.

Bluementhal says they have about 400 members who form part of this case and their objective is to approach the High Court on behalf of members to rule on the interpretation of rental clauses insofar as they relate to the Covid-19 pandemic.

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“The first objective is to achieve a Court Decision requiring Landlords to discount rentals where no trading has been possible through no fault of the Tenants, with no conditions such as Lease Extensions and where Deferment is not an alternative to complete discounts. SAITA will be the party undertaking the action to ensure no reputational risk for tenants with their landlords,” he said.

In addition Blumenthal urged businesses whether they have reopened or not to join their cause of action.

“We believe you should be compensated from unnecessary Rental charges for April, May and for as long as this Lockdown lasts. To be a part of this landmark action, email [email protected] with YES COVID LEGAL in the subject line,” he concluded.

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