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Can my landlord penalise me for leaving in a month-to-month lease?

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Hi, I am a student and I had a lease with my landlord for the year 2016. I continued to stay for 2017 without a lease renewal. During the course of the year I received a bursary and informed my landlord that I will not be liable for my own rent as the bursary will pay out. After two months my landlord informed me that it had been too long without rental and suggested I pay from my own pocket and she will reimburse me when the bursary has paid out. I informed my landlord that this will be financially overwhelming and I will pay the rent of the months lapsed but will have to move out as she is unable to wait for the bursary payout. She now wants to hold me liable for loss of future rental. Please help. – Lindiwe


Hi Lindiwe, a month-to-month lease does not fall within the purview of the Consumer Protection Act, and can therefore be terminated by either party on a month’s notice. Simple! No penalty can be applied.

Got a burning question? Email mariette@hometimes.co.za and we’ll be sure to assist you

Who is Marlon Shevelew?

Marlon Shevelew, director of Marlon Shevelew and Associates.

Marlon Shevelew, director of Marlon Shevelew and Associates.

Marlon Shevelew is the director of Marlon Shevelew and Associates Inc. a law firm specialising in rental property, contractual, consumer and company law.


Mariette Steynberg is a qualified economist with a post-graduate diploma in financial planning. She has enjoyed working on holistic financial plans for clients in various stages of life, as well as a development economist assessing the socioeconomic impacts of new developments. When she is not working, Mariette enjoys parenting her quirky, delightful toddler girl. Cloth diapering, Eskimo kisses and the importance of reading to your child are all causes close to her heart. Mariette is passionate about financial education and hopes to use the experience she has gained to share knowledge with HomeTimes’ readership. Her goal is to provide information that is implementable by everyone.

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  • lineo 10th January 2019

    goodday ,

    I happen to rent a flat for a year and on the second year I received a no offer in another location which forced me to move closer to that place of work . I have my landlord a notice on the 10th and he refused to refund even the half of the deposit I have paid . I just wanted to know if that’s a fair practise