A landlord’s view of the Consumer Protection Act (CPA)

We spoke to Sonja Wijnja, RentMaster’s legal adviser, to give us some insight into the CPA and how it affects landlords.

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The CPA regulates the marketing and provision of goods and services to consumers and protects them against unfair practices previously used by some service providers. In the context of property rental, a tenant is the consumer and a landlord is the service provider.
“It is especially with regard to the lease agreement that many landlords are misinformed and are often in breach of the CPA. One misconception that landlords often have is that they think that as long as they have their requirements stipulated in a lease agreement that has been signed by both parties, it will stand up in court. However, if the requirements are contradictory to the terms of the CPA, it won’t. The Act always trumps anything stipulated in the lease agreement.”
“For example, a landlord may include an early cancellation clause that states that if the tenant cancels early, she has to pay for the entire outstanding period. This is sharp contradiction with the provisions of the CPA, which entitles a consumer to cancel with 20 days’ notice.” (More information regarding early lease termination here)
CPA_Sonja tips