When it comes to signatures to a lease agreement, more is always better. The more people that are signatories to an agreement, the more people can be held liable for rental and ancillary expenses. There is no legal rule precluding a landlord from insisting that a parent or guardian, for example, co-signs the lease agreement with a student-tenant.
Similarly, surety agreements are not only used in the commercial property realm. In the case where a company leases a property for occupation by an employee, it is advisable that the occupant be made a party to the lease agreement or sign a surety document, concurrently binding him for payment. Surety agreements are especially handy when issuing a summons against the tenant for non-payment of rental while serving the same summons on the surety. The response is usually affirmative and economically beneficial.
Our two main tenant focus groups here are spouses and students. Newlywed couples often look for rental property as their first accommodation together. Agents usually call us at this time to ask which of the spouses must sign the agreement; more notably so, when the couple is married out of community of property. Again, insist that both spouses sign, even though only one of the spouses may be economically inclined to sign the document. Having both spouses as signatories on the lease agreement leads to better security for rental payments and other obligations.
Student accommodation can be a great investment, provided the lease agreement is well drafted. The inclination of the student to pay late decreases as soon as a parent/guardian co-signs the lease agreement with the student. This is conclusively proven by statistics. The importance of concurrent signature cannot be overstated to significantly improve the chances for payment, month-in and month-out. The TPN Student Lease Agreement in the LeasePack, has already been drafted to include a parent/guardian as co-tenant and we suggest that this document be used, should you not have a tailor-made solution.
Late or non-payment of rental and ancillary expenses is an inherent risk to any rental property investment. Protect yourself or the landlord by insisting on co-signatories or a surety. Never overlook the necessity of binding another party jointly for payments in terms of the agreement, simply because a party may appear to be a low risk on face value. This oversight may just be the difference between successful tenancy and fruitless property investment.
This article first appeared on SSLR Inc’s blog and is reproduced here with the kind permission of the author
Who is Cilna Steyn?
Cilna Steyn, MD of SSLR Inc, completed her LLB Degree at Unisa, after which she was admitted as an attorney in 2007. She co-founded Steyn & Steyn Attorneys, where she began specialising in evictions.
She regularly presents training sessions, where she advises groups of rental agents and private landlords on matters relating to landlord and tenant disputes and broader scope property law-related matters. She also acts on the panel of experts for the Law Society of South Africa’s Legal Education and Development. She presents seminars on behalf of LSSA: LEAD, educating attorneys nationally on eviction procedures and rental claims. She is one of the drafting attorneys of the TPN (Tenant Profile Network) Residential Lease Pack.
Cilna authored The Landlord’s Guide – Property Rental and Eviction in 2015 and regularly publishes articles in newspapers and peer-review magazines. She also appears on television and radio, participating in discussions relating to property law and, in particular, evictions. As the managing director she is dedicated to leading SSLR Inc in accordance with its core values.
Cilna is passionate about property and understands the pressures of being a landlord. Her attention to detail and knowledge of property law makes for efficient evictions.