Although much hype has (rightfully) been made of the water crisis in the Western Cape, the Eastern Cape is also in the midst of a water crisis, although less publicised.
Tenants and landlords are encountering new problems in relation to the water shortage, such as what happens when it becomes impossible to fulfil your contractual obligations due to circumstances beyond your control, such as water shortage, or “water shedding”?
In terms of common law, the current situation is regarded as an Act of God.
However, this does not allow tenants to cancel a lease without penalties, even if there is a non-supply of water due to water scarcity. Penalties would still apply.
Likewise, a landlord cannot charge a tenant for services they are no longer receiving due to water scarcity.
Tenants and landlords are advised to carefully examine the terms of their lease agreement and to obtain sound legal advice on the provisions of applicable legislation in order to fully understand their legal position in the current circumstances.
Read http://www.bizcommunity.com/Article/196/569/174385.html for more discussion on the topic and contact Goldberg & de Villiers Inc. on 041 – 501 9800 for sound legal advice.