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Q: Thanks to the lockdown, I am unable to pay my rent. I am going to discuss it with my landlord but he can be rather unhelpful.

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What can I do if he refuses to assist me?

A: Tenants should first speak to their landlords to see if some arrangement can be reached. If the landlord can afford it, the tenant might be able to take a payment holiday or set up a suitable payment plan.

If a plan cannot be reached, then tenants should give their notice and find alternative affordable accommodation. Tenants should review their lease to make sure they are not in breach of contract.

Unless there are grounds for cancellation of the agreement, which is stipulated in the cancellation clause, it can be difficult to get out of a lease without any recourse. A way to prevent issues is for the tenant to help the landlord find another tenant willing to take over the current lease.

Alternatively, the tenant can suggest subletting the property until a time when they can afford to pay the full rent on their own again. – Adrian Goslett, chief executive of Re/Max of Southern Africa.

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