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Frequently Asked - Apr/May 2022

Landlord vs tenant - the continuous battle

Landlord vs tenant - the continuous battle

With the economic downturn, caused by the Covid-19 pandemic and various other factors, the Namibian market is experiencing a tremendous increase in the rental market. Also, with increasing rules, regulations, and requirements, it seems that the purchasing process has become daunting to potential purchasers. Therefore, many potential buyers have turned to a more accommodating form of housing, joining the rental market statistics.

In South Africa, there are various pieces of legislation and precedents to assist with disputes which occur between landlord and tenant. Currently in Namibia, the lease agreement is the basis for the landlord/tenant relationship.

The result is that the parties to the lease agreement avoid legal costs wherever possible, taking any lease agreement commonly found on the internet, or which is outdated. Therefore, disputes between landlord and tenant are a given.
One of the most common disputes is who is responsible for what cost and charges presented on the municipality account? Below serves as a norm and guideline, unless otherwise clearly stipulated in a proper signed lease agreement, and agreed upon by both parties:

Rates and taxes

Property rates are based on the municipal value of the property and are payable by the owner/landlord.

Basic water and electricity

This is payable even if the land or erf is vacant. The reason is that the municipality has already made this service available to all property owners. Therefore, basic water and electricity is payable by the owner/landlord.

Electricity and water consumption

The party responsible for the usage will also be responsible for the payment. Therefore, water and electricity consumption are payable by the tenant, except if the lease agreement provides a condition that the rental amount includes the usage of water and electricity, or part thereof.

Sewerage and refuse removal

This is the major cause of disputes between landlords and tenants. Many real estate practitioners and legal experts have different opinions on the matter. The norm currently, as in accordance with the City of Windhoek portal, is that owners/landlords are responsible for both sewerage and refuse services, even if the owner/landlord is leasing the property.

With the current rental market experience, there is increasing demand that rules and regulations be created to mediate this argument. To avoid future disputes between landlord and tenant, it is important to reach a conclusion with the above descriptions set out in the municipal account before a lease agreement is concluded and signed. This article only serves as a guideline for the relationship between landlord and tenant which can be used for future negotiating and when concluding a lease agreement. Parties should seek the assistance of experienced legal and real estate practitioners before entering into a lease agreement.


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