Should your landlord provide alternate power sources during load shedding?

Should your landlord provide alternate power sources during load shedding?

A question as to who's responsibility it is to ensure that properties are equipped with back up power and water has arisen since the current loadshedding and watershedding issues in our country.

Rooftop of residential building
Rooftop of residential building/Pexels

Amidst the national hinderances of loadshedding and watershedding issues that have been bombarding South Africans, a key question from landlords and tenants has come to light (ironically).

Are landlords legally required to provide uninterrupted utility supply if they are requested to do so by their tenants? 

And if so, who is liable to cover the costs of these amenities?

The question is completely valid and actually welcomed. Considering more and more people are finding alternate ways of dealing with both the power and water outages. 

We are noticing more property owners installing solar powered lights, as well as water tanks to collect natural water, which proves helpful when the water is cut. 

According to the credit bureau: "The first thing that tenants need to understand about load shedding and water restrictions or water cuts is that these are not due to the landlord’s fault. As a result, tenants can’t request a rental remission from their landlord. Neither are landlords legally obliged to provide generators, inverters or water tanks." (Business Tech)

One of the key reasons to add a generator to your property as a landlord is the added value it provides, but what about the cost factor in running a generator?

It therefore will fall on the tenant if they choose to add on a generator, inverter, or water tank. 

Once this has been installed on the rental property, whether residential or commercial, it becomes a fixture to the property and the landlord will own it. 

It is advisable for the tenant to come to an agreement with their landlord before installing anything or at least consider reviewing their lease agreement before making any permanent changes to the property. 

"Both parties can mutually agree on who is responsible for the costs of installing, maintaining, insuring and operating a generator, inverter or water tank and who ownership of these fixtures ultimately resides with. It is strongly recommended that an addendum be drawn up to avoid any ambiguity and unnecessary costs at a later stage." (Business Tech)

Things such as maintenance, operational costs, and any legal electrical compliance certificate upon installation should be specified in the addendum to avoid any dispute. 

If the landlord does supply alternative supply to energy, then the tenant can be held responsible for the costs to run the generator, which include maintenance, insurance, and compliance certification. 

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