Since there appears to be a fair amount of confusion regarding time and the counting of time – which is fundamental to proper implementation of a lease – we decided to re-post this article for your convenience.

Whether it be notice periods for a letter of demand, the period/term of the lease agreement or suspensive conditions, all lease agreements have certain time periods prescribed to them.

Firstly, a clear distinction must be drawn between calendar- and business days. Calendar days, in most instances, include weekdays, weekends and public holidays, whereas business days only include weekdays while excluding weekends and public holidays. In short, all days that a normal South African would be at the office.

Secondly, when counting days in relation to letters of demand, exclude the day that the notice is sent and include the last day that the time period runs. Bearing this in mind, let’s count the days when a letter of demand would expire, taking into consideration the Consumer Protection Act:

The importance of the correct counting of days cannot be overstated and to illustrate why this is such a critical issue, consider the consequences below of getting it wrong.

If you cancel a lease agreement on day 20 (business days i.e. when CPA applies) or day 6 (Calendar days i.e. when CPA does not apply), instead of anytime after these dates the consequences will be that:

  • you cannot proceed with an eviction application; and
  • must reinstate the lease agreement;
  • send a new letter of demand; and
  • cancel the lease agreement… again.

This could cost you a month or two, which you don’t have! However, if you cancel the lease agreement any time after the period has elapsed, you’ll be safe as houses!

Note: Please have a look at your lease agreement first. Some leases state that receipt of a document i.e. letter of demand, will only occur 2 (or any other number) of days after delivery by hand or in the case of post, 6 days after the post office has received the document. Always take this into consideration and if you are unsure, we have lovely, friendly staff that are more than happy to help you with this essential step. #Happy Renting!

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