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Tenants, you can’t be forced to pay your rent earlier in December

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With the festive season in full swing, and because many offices and businesses close for the year tomorrow, you may have received your rental invoice between one and two weeks earlier than normal – with some agents and landlords insisting rental is paid by the 21st of December.

There are two reasons for this: one is that agents’ admin functions close earlier in December; and, two, landlords and rental agents become nervous about their tenants not being vigilant enough to ensure they do not overspend their money on festive preparations and, come 1 January 2019, do not have enough money for the rent.

While their fears are very real and valid – January is generally the worst month for rental defaults according to TPN – there is no obligation on tenants to pay earlier. In fact, your lease is your guide, and if you’re unsure about when you should pay your rent, reread your lease for clarity. The vast majority of leases state that rental payments need to reflect in the landlord or rental agent’s account by the 1st of the month. You cannot, therefore, be forced or pressured into paying your rent a week or two earlier – especially if you are not paid earlier yourself.

Conversely, you should be aware of the time of year and the busyness and volume of financial transactions taking place; paying your rent a few days earlier than usual is responsible as it will ensure that your payment is not delayed. Remember, too, that 1 January 2019 is a public holiday and if you only pay on 31 December 2018, your rental may only reflect in your landlord or rental agent’s account on 2 January 2019 – meaning it’s late.

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david.steynberg@gmail.com

David A Steynberg, managing editor and director of HomeTimes, has more than 10 years of experience as both a journalist and editor, having headed up Business Day’s HomeFront supplement, SAPOA’s range of four printed titles, digimags Asset in Africa and the South African Planning Institute’s official title, Planning Africa, as well as B2B titles, Building Africa and Water, Sewage & Effluent magazines. He began his career at Farmer’s Weekly magazine before moving on to People Magazine where he was awarded two Excellence Awards for Best Real Life feature as well as Writer of the Year runner-up. He is also a past fellow of the International Women’s Media Foundation.

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