Mini-money tipSublet to expand your budget


Subletting a rental property can provide you with additional income or help you cover rental costs as a tenant.

You may choose to sublet your flat or home entirely while you move back in with your parents; you may need to sublet while you are away for six months; or you could sublet a portion of your home.

However you choose to do it, be certain about your rights and what you are letting yourself in for (pardon the pun).

Under South African common law, tenants have a right to sublet property, but you do need to read your original rental contract properly as some landlords specifically exclude subletting.

If this is the case and you are caught subletting the property or a portion of it, you will be in breach of contract and the landlord can evict you.

When you sublet, there will be two rental contracts: the original contract between yourself and your landlord, and a second contract between yourself and the person you are subletting to.

Ryette Munro, a rental manager at Rawson, warns that, depending on the wording of the original contract, you may need to get signed permission from the landlord and possibly even their signature on the secondary lease contract.

Make sure the terms and conditions of the original lease contract match up with the subletting contract.

Examples could include no animals allowed, a maximum of two cars on the property, or no parties after 22h00.

Responsibilities need to be clear in both contracts.

Legally, you are responsible for any damages caused by the sub-tenant.

This also means that if they default on their rental payment, you still remain liable for the full, original rental payment.

If things go south, you and your landlord would have to sue the sub-tenant for breach of contract and/or damages.

The landlord is usually responsible for maintenance and property insurance.

Take photos of the property when you first take occupation and again before the sub-tenant takes occupation.

A picture is worth 1 000 words, but in this case it could save you thousands of dollars.

Make sure you vet the sub-tenant properly. Ask for references from previous landlords, a credit check, and proof of income in the form of three months’ salary slips and/or bank statements. – Daily Maverick

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