You rent a house and the geyser packs up or the pool starts leaking. The landlord ignores your pleas to fix the problem – or outright refuses to do so. Can you go ahead and do the repairs yourself, then deduct your costs from your rental payments? Landlords have a number of statutory obligations in relation to maintaining the house in good order and repair, but beyond that what counts most is the provisions of the particular lease that you sign.
So before you sign anything make sure you understand exactly what you are letting yourself in for. Pay particular attention to clauses specifying who must do what by way of repairs and upkeep – you will probably be responsible for minor and day-to-day maintenance issues but watch out for those landlords who try to put a much heavier burden on you.
Two final tips