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The Law of Landlord and Tenant by Sue-Mari Viljoen- Reviewed by FWB’s Louis Rood


Despite its title, this book encompasses far more than the traditional common

law contractual relationship between landlord and tenant.

The provision of housing, shelter, and “a roof over your head” for the homeless

has become a critical political and socio-economic issue in South Africa’s new

constitutional dispensation. For close to a century there has been state

intervention in the housing market in various ways, such as rent control and

increased tenure security to respond to demand and political pressures. More

recently, government policies as a means to achieve the constitutional right of

access to adequate housing has had a major impact on the contract law and

property law principles relating to the private law relationship of landlord and

tenant.

 

This comprehensive overview of the law of lease lists more than 100 South

African acts, regulations, by-laws and proclamations that have shaped the local

rental landscape. Comparable foreign legislation is also tabled, as is relevant

domestic and foreign case law. An extensive bibliography and pertinent

footnotes underpin the authorities, precedents and resources upon which the

text relies.

The distinguished author, Sue-Mari Viljoen B Comm LLB LLD, Associate

Professor of the Department of Public, Constitutional and International Law at

the University of South Africa, has marshalled the extensive subject matter in

masterful style to create an invaluable source of reference for legal

practitioners, property owners and developers, financial institutions, local

authorities, provincial and national housing departments, and nongovernmental

organisations dealing with the drastic shortage and provision of

housing in urban and rural areas.

Separate, well-organised and lucid chapters place the nature of the landlordtenant

relationship in context, analyse the intricacies of that relationship, its

creation and termination and deal in detail with the respective obligations of the

parties.

The notes on relevant foreign law which are to be found in suitable places

throughout the text are instructive in illuminating the relevant aspects of South

African law. The manner and extent to which landlord-tenant law can be

regulated to reach specific socio-economic goals and political aims is

illustrated by the author’s observation:

The tenant’s obligation to return the property upon termination of the

lease as well as the actual expiration of the relationship has undergone

radical change in the constitutional dispensation through both the

introduction of new laws and judicial developments to provide greater

tenure protection for private and public sector tenants. These

developments are constitutionally inspired to ensure a more welfareorientated

approach to the eviction of vulnerable groups.”

Accolades are also due to publishers Juta and volume editor, Distinguished

Professor André van der Walt, South African Research Chair in Property Law

at Stellenbosch University, who has himself made a significant contribution as

author to Juta’s Property Law Library, most recently Introduction to the Law of

Property (with GJ Pienaar), Law of Property Casebook for Students, and The

Law of Servitudes (2016).

 

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