During the COVID-19 lockdown that South Africa is currently in, how will landlords enforce and renegotiate rental contracts, both commercial as well as private?
The lockdown has resulted in two specific challenges facing landlords (and luckily we have addressed both below):
First challenge: Some tenants will not able to pay their rent. Rental agents or private parties will need to re-structure the lease agreements with their tenants in an effective, efficient and legally binding manner.
Solution: Here is a useful article on “What if I can’t pay my rent during the lockdown?” to guide tenants and landlords on how to restructure their agreements fairly.
Second challenge: The tenant needs to agree to the new terms of the rental agreement. Lack of home printers as well as the postal services not being allowed to run means this needs to be done digitally.
Solution: We offer various eContracting services that have the ability to be sent to either an email address or a mobile phone number and we provide a certificate showing the full audit trail of the communication. Here’s how they work:
- Registered SMS Contract, for example, allows a landlord to send a new repayment agreement via Registered SMS. The original message and the reply SMS from the tenant (An example of the reply is, “Yes agree”) are both recorded in a legally binding evidence document which is shared with both parties as proof.
- Registered Email Contract works similarly, just via Email rather than SMS.
- Click & Sign is a combination of both email and SMS channels.
These digital agreements allow for:
- Structured data (e.g. formal, pre-defined, repetitive documents)
- Unstructured data (e.g. ‘on the fly’ decisions and confirmations)
- Multiple/flexible documents, multiple/flexible signatories, multiple/flexible delegation of authority
Be safe. Be digital.