Legal Agreements every business needs [ Infographic]

We have compiled a list of basic legal agreements any business in South Africa will need.


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Lenoma Legal Team


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Commercial Leases 

If you own a business, chances are you may need to consider entering into a commercial lease. So how do these differ from ordinary, residential leases?

There are a number of things you need to look out for. This article will cover the four most important things to look out for before signing the dotted line.

1 . Terms of the Lease and Options

The term of the lease is extremely important for business tenants. There often exists a conflict of interest between landlords and tenants with regard to the terms of leases so it is important to be informed and look out for your best interests.

Generally, landlords prefer the security of a longer term lease (for example, 5 or 10 years), whereas tenants usually prefer the flexibility afforded by a shorter lease (3 years is about standard). This is especially the case for start-up business tenants who commonly either go out of business or rapidly expand and require a new lease to expand operations in the near future. Keep in mind that, as mentioned, if the relevant retail lease legislation applies to your lease, there may be restrictions upon the minimum term of your lease.

Another important consideration is whether the lease provides you with an option to renew at the end of the initial term so you have the option to continue trading. This is very important for commercial leases as a large proportion of your businesses’ goodwill may be attached to your premises, so you may want to protect this.

2. Rent and Security

The rent clause is probably the most obviously important aspect of any lease agreement. When it comes to paying out expenses, we all want to keep it to a minimum! The rent clause specifies the the amount of money the tenant must pay to the landlord in return for the landlord providing the use and occupation of the property. Rent is a significant operating expense for most businesses.

The rent for the initial term, as well as any changes to the rent, must be specified in the lease. The most common methods of rent review (i.e. changes in rent) are consumer price index (CPI), fixed percentage increase and market rent. It is important to ensure you will be able to afford any proposed rent increases during the period of your lease and any renewal period to avoid falling behind.

The landlord may also request a security payment from the tenant to protect against the tenant failing to pay rent (i.e. defaulting). This would either be in the form of a bank guarantee by an individual tenant, or a personal guarantee by a company tenant’s directors. The security deposit can be a significant amount of money, usually equal to three to six months’ rent. Therefore, you shouldn’t forget this cost when assessing the affordability of your commercial lease.

3. Termination

Lastly, you should also review the termination clause contained in your commercial lease. Keep an eye out for any clause which allows the landlord to terminate the lease before the end of the term. In most cases, it is highly advised that you seek to have this removed as it causes uncertainty of your lease which can be very damaging for your business. Further, you should be aware of any other circumstances which will cause your lease to be terminated.

Get Advice from a Professional

There are clearly some very important things to look out for when entering a commercial lease for your business.

Each of these factors has the potential to have a major impact on the performance of your business, so it is worth looking into obtaining independent legal advice to protect your best interests. As a potential tenant, if you are unhappy with any aspect of your lease agreement, you should negotiate with your landlord to reach an agreement that suits your needs.

When do you need a Model Release and Permission of photograph use

The Photograph

Professional photographers generally use a model release right at the outset of a photo shoot.

However it is important to realize that the Model release and photograph is not about granting permission to take the photos, but rather to publish them. You don’t generally need written permission to photograph anyone. You need permission to publish the photo for commercial purposes (e.g., you will get paid for your photo).

It is generally accepted to snap a photo of a person in a public place without a release form.

However, if you use that photo for specific commercial purposes, like promoting a product, it’s better to be safe and get the release form.

The Release

A Model Release is like a contract. It specifies all the ways the resulting images can or cannot be used.

If you are the photographer, you will want to use the broadest language possible about where and in which media formats the image can be used, so you will have great latitude in selling the photo.

The release should also cover other details about the use of the model’s name (or not), whether the model has any right to inspect the end product before publication, and whether the release has an expiration date.


Whether you work in a marketing department, in graphic design or are a commercial blogger (to name just a few possibilities), you need to be careful that any image you may be planning to use in your material has a properly executed release form. Generally, the photographer will have done this step for you, but ultimately it is your responsibility to make sure the release exists before you license any photographs.

Remember there is a R249 Model Release form and use of photograph available HERE RIGHT NOW, just for you.

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Legal mistakes to AVOID 

Everyone makes mistakes because no one is perfect. Most mistakes can be corrected. But there are some mistakes that can be fatal, especially when it comes to the handling of legal matters. Here are five common fatal legal mistakes and how you can avoid them.

Not Responding To A Letter of demand 

If someone serves you with a letter of demand (a formal legal document that describes legal and factual allegations made by one party against another party), you are required by law to respond to it within a certain period of time. Failing to respond is fatal because someone can ultimately obtain a judgment against you, which leads into the next fatal legal mistake people make.

Allowing A Judgment To Be Entered Against You.

Allowing a judgment to be entered against you can occur for reasons stated in #1 above, by losing a case, or by failing to take the appropriate actions in a case. Once a judgment is entered against you, your valuable possessions such as your home, your business, money in your bank accounts, and even your hard-earned wages are at risk of being taking from you.

Not Having An Attorney When The Other Party Does.

Most do-it-yourselfers believe they can win a case against the other party or handle a legal matter without having an attorney, even when the other party has an attorney. Whether its arrogance or ignorance, most do-it-yourselfers end up learning the hard way that the legal system is complex and merciless.

Signing A Contract Without Understanding It.

Signing a binding legal document such as an apartment lease or an employee contract without understanding the terms in the documents can be fatal. Unfortunately, the consequences of signing a contract are often unknown until an event occurs, such as when a landlord fails to make maintenance repairs to your apartment or your supervisor threatens to fire you. But by that time it is often too late.

Not Having A Written Contract At All.

Perhaps worse than signing a contract without understanding it is not having a written contract at all. The truth of the matter is that people say one thing and do another. Additionally, if a dispute arises out of a verbal agreement, it is hard for a judge to determine what the parties actually agreed to and who is right and wrong. At the very least, a written contract can help the parties clearly understand what their rights and duties are. For these reasons, it is better to avoid the verbal agreements as much as possible and enter into a written contract.

You can easily avoid these fatal legal mistakes by getting the right legal help. By speaking with and hiring the right attorney, you put yourself in a better position to have your legal matters handled properly and mistakes eliminated.

Need to be linked with an attorney in your area?

Drop us an email on or call us on +27 74 560 8063.

Team Lenoma Legal