Must a letter of breach mention the 20-day period?
In terms of section 14 of the Consumer Protection Act (CPA), if a lessee is in breach of his lease agreement the lessor must provide the lessee with 20 days within which he can rectify the breach before the lessor may cancel the agreement.
The question is whether the letter of breach should specifically mention this 20-day period. In the recent court case of Transcend Residential Property Fund v Mati, the court held that to specifically make reference to this 20-day period in the letter itself reads too much into what is required in terms of the CPA.
The court therefore held that there is no requirement that a lessee must be expressly notified that he has 20 days to remedy his breach. In this court case it became evident that the lessor is obliged to deliver the letter of breach to the lessee. However, it is not necessary to make specific reference to the 20-day period in the letter. It is important to note that the lessor should still adhere to the 20-day period and can only cancel the agreement after he gave the lessee 20 days to remedy his breach.
Thanks to MC van der Berg for their kind permission allowing us to republish this article