Skip the uncertainty of unsigned lease agreements

When it comes to signing agreements, people can be surprisingly hesitant to sign a lease the correct way. Before we get into the legalities and effects of unsigned lease agreements, let’s look into the requriements to sign an agreement.

What makes a lease agreement binding?

In order for a lease to be binding on the parties, the agreement must be signed in full (with the signatory’s signature) at the end of the agreement. Each other page of the agreement must be initialled in the bottom right corner of the page to signify that the signatory has read that page and agrees to the terms and conditions contained on that page.

Two witnesses can be requested to sign the agreement in full and initial the agreement. Witnesses are requested to sign the agreement in order to confirm the identity of the signatory if a dispute relating to their identity arises. However, if the witnesses do not sign correctly or do not initial correctly then this will not invalidate your lease agreement. The most important signatories are the landlord and the tenant to have a binding agreement in place.

The one signtaure solution in South African rental law

However, often the agreements are unsigned or not signed correctly. The Rental Housing Act, specifically Regulation 4, does provide a solution to this dilemma:

In the event that the tenant signs the agreement but the landlord fails to sign the agreement:

  • The landlord’s acceptance of the rental payments will cause the lease agreement to have the same effect as if it was signed in full.

In the event that the landlord signs the agreement but the tenant fails to sign the agreement:

  • The acceptance of possession of the dwelling and the payment of the rental by the tenant will cause the lease agreement to have the same effect as if it was signed in full.

Therefore, even in the event that your lease agreement is not signed correctly, your rental transaction will still remain valid and binding on the parties. However, the most vital requirement for a valid contract is to have both parties sign the agreement in full in order to be binding.

Securely eSign and store your leases agreements

TPN offers the perfect solution for signing agreements electronically to assist property practitioners and landlords get every lease signed effectively, without having to print a single piece of paper. Revolutionise your rental transactions and make life infinitely simpler! Learn more about eSign here.

By Rowan Terry, Legal Counsel at TPN from MRI Software

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