The importance of registering a long-term lease

By definition, a long-term lease is a lease agreement which subsists –

  • For a period of 10 years or more;
  • For the natural life of the lessee, or another elected party in the lease agreement; or,
  • Which is renewable at the option of the lessee, either indefinitely, or for a sum period of 10 years or more.

A lease agreement must be in writing to be eligible to be registered in a deed’s registry; the same deeds registry in which the property itself is registered. The lease must also be signed by both parties in the presence of a notary public to attest their signatures, and as always, doing so in the presence of two competent witnesses is advisable.

Although a registered long-term lease does not grant the range of rights which ownership of a property does, it nevertheless grants the lessee real rights in terms of a limitation of the rights of the owner, which are enforceable against him or her, their successors, as well as third parties for the duration of the agreement. It is important to note, however, that these rights only come into operation upon registration of the lease agreement.