Some people are not owners of their own homes/commercial premises yet and therefore they have to rent a place to stay or trade. This is equally applicable for expatriates that move to Mauritius for work and therefore their employer will have to rent a home for them. The owner of the property known as the Landlord or Landlady allows a person known as the tenant to stay/trade on their property in exchange for the payment of rent. This agreement is called a lease or rental agreement.
Mauritian Law prescribes specific rights and responsibilities to both the landlord and the tenant disregard of whether or not there is a written agreement. In many cases it is the Landlord and Tenant Act 1999 that will apply but however this Act will not be applicable in the following circumstances:-
- premises bona fide (in good faith) let at a rent which includes payment in respect of furniture or of board and attendance, or of equipment- business premises let after 1 July 2005 and business premises, where they were let on or before 1 July 2005, after 31 December 2020; or
- a dwelling house occupied by a person in the employment of the landlord or a member of his family or, where the landlord is a body corporate, of a related corporation, and put at his disposal rent free as part of his conditions of service; and
- the letting of a dwelling house which is included in the bona fide (in good faith) letting, for agricultural purposes, of the property of which the dwelling house is part.
In many cases, the tenant will rent the premises through a real estate agency appointed by the property owner to lease out the property on his or her behalf. In other cases the tenant will rent the premises directly from the owner of the property. However one of the must of renting in Mauritius will be to have a written lease/rental agreement. Often times there is only a verbal agreement which is still valid but causes unwarranted problems in case of any dispute.
Useful tips for both the landlord and the tenant:-
- To always have a written lease/rental agreement that governs the relationship of landlord and Tenant;
- To either have a standing order in favour of the landlord for payment or to keep a rent book for updating monthly rental payments;
- Before the tenant moves in the premises to inspect the property and agree on any defects or wear and tear which should be noted in the lease/rental agreement.
***Always seek professional advice for the drafting of lease/rental agreements and this article serves as a brief introduction.