Question posted in the Landlord Tenant Law category relating to Western Cape
Question value: R 0.00
To whom it may concern.
I would like to get some legal advice regarding an issue I am currently facing with my ex-landlord regarding the deposit.
I have since read up about laws protecting a tenant and landlord, in our case, I understand from what I have read there have been faults by both parties involved. I would, however, like more clarity on the issue, please?
Myself, my now ex boyfriend and a friend of ours rented a property from mutual friends' parents.
Prior to us moving in we had discussed via WhatsApp that we would be responsible for the water and electricity additional to the rental amount.
We had said that we were looking for a long rental of preferably 2 years.
When we went for the viewing the landlord said we will be responsible for the water, electricity and the fee added by the municipality for the electricity box.
We had also discussed that the total deposit for the property is R18 000 which was 2 months' deposit as the rental for the property was R9 000 a month.
The deposit and rental was split between the 3 of us and myself and my ex boyfriend would pay R10 000 deposit and R5 000 rental and our friend would pay R8 000 deposit and R4 000 rental.
The landlord advised that the deposit can be paid over the first 2 months with the month's rent, making it R18 000 for the first month, R18 000 for the second month and R9 000 thereafter.
All 3 of us had supplied the landlord with all the necessary documentation they required in order to rent the property which included 3 months bank statements, 3 months payslips and copies of our IDs.
We paid the first R18 000 and moved into the property on 27 August 2019.
We did a light walk through inspection with the landlord when moving in.
When we moved in they told us in person that we would be responsible for anything that breaks etc. while living there. We would also be responsible for refuse and sewerage.
They had told us from when we moved in that they would drop off the contract for us all to sign. Until the day we moved out they had still not dropped off a contact for us to sign. We have nothing in writing other than what was discussed via WhatsApp and in person.
During the time we stayed there, we were paying the rent, water, electricity, refuse, sewerage, sundries and VAT on the entire bill which looks like it included the property rates. We did not pay for the property rates though.
On the 3rd of February 2020 we had informed the landlord that we are giving a month's notice and we will be moving out at the end of the month.
The reason for this was because our friend had decided to up and move out and me and my ex broke up and were going our separate ways.
Between the 3 of us, we had discussed that my friend will forfeit her 2 months deposit in lieu of her leaving.
Me and my ex had paid the entire water bill for the previous month and we asked the landlord whether they would be able to deduct our friends rent of R4 000 for the last month off the deposit as we could not afford to pay the full rental ourselves. We did pay our rent of R5 000 for the last month.
We had then moved out and asked them if we could keep a couple of things in the garage as we were not able to move everything in time. We were moved out of the house by 3 March, however, had some stuff in the garage. They advised us it is fine as they did not have any tenants moving in after us.
We did not do a walkthrough inspection with the landlord when we moved out.
We had then questioned when we would receive the deposit on 9 March and the landlord asked us about the water bill. I asked the landlord to send me the bill in order to make payment.
We were not able to pay the water bill at the time and paid the water bill the following month on the 30th of March.
The landlord asked us whether the alarm did not work. We advised that the alarm had not been working since they had tenants that moved out of the flat at the back of the house. As the zone indicated on the alarm was for a zone in the flat and could not be activated since the move out. The landlord also advised that they would need to price a broken toilet cistern and sort the alarm out before the deposit can be paid.
We had agreed that the above was in order.
The country then went on the full lockdown on 26 March 2020. The landlord agreed to pay one months deposit and the landlord advised that they are extremely busy getting ready for the lockdown and have not had a chance to sort out the above.
At this stage the deposit amount should be R14 000 as the total deposit was R18 000 - R4 000 rent of my friend's share for the last month's rent.
On the 31st of March I asked the landlord when we could expect the payment of the one months deposit. They advised the amount would be paid the next day and asked for bank details.
On the 2nd of April I asked the landlord again when the amount would be paid. I also advised that they do not need to pay our friend any amount and the deposit is only coming to myself and my ex. An amount of R4 500 was then paid.
We had agreed that we would be fine to receive half of the total deposit and they could hold on to the other half until pricing the alarm and cistern.
After seeing the amount of R4 500 paid I sent another message questioning whether they would be making another payment as according to my calculations we were due an amount of R7 000 as the one months deposit.
The landlord said they will check and advised they have still not been able to sort out the alarm and cistern due to the lockdown.
On the 13th of April I sent another message to follow up on the amounts.
The 15th of April the landlord advised they have not done it yet as the lockdown is delaying everything and they still have to sort out the alarm. They also advised that we must please remember that we paid the deposit in 2 parts.
I advised that I do understand and that they are keeping half of the deposit to sort out the alarm etc. which is R7 000. This means that we are still owed another R2 500 to make up the full one months deposit.
On the 16th of April I sent another message following up as no reply had been received.
The landlord advised we will be sorted at month end.
The landlord then advised that we had paid R9 000 deposit in total and that R4 500 was the first half paid and we would receive the other R4 500 at month end after deducting whatever.
I then advised the landlord that we had paid 2 months deposit totaling R18 000. R18 000 - R4 000 for our friends rent which is then R14 000.
I advised that we want the first R7 000 paid in full and the other R7 000 can be paid after deductions at the end of the month.
I also sent screenshots to the landlord of the convention on Whatsapp indicating the deposit amount of 2 months totalling R18 000.
The landlord then advised that our friend is in breach of contract whether it's verbal and that we cannot even discuss her. They also advised that to their understanding the 3 of us shared the deposit and that they cannot make out my above calculations.
I did not engage further from my side as I thought I would give them until the end of the month to make payment.
On the 6th of April my ex then tried to phone them to find out what is going on. They did not answer his calls. He then sent them message and started getting rude with them since they are not paying our money back. I also sent them a message to say my ex indicated money would be paid but I had not received anything yet.
Today, the 7th of April the landlord advised the money should reflect today and that they don't feel like speaking to my ex as he is getting personal. They also blocked him on Whatsapp. No money has reflect as of yet at 22:52 PM.I have also sent another message now to inform them no money has reflected yet.
Please let me know what we can do in order for us to get the remaining R9 500 back or slightly less after their deduction of the alarm and cistern or if we have a leg to stand on at all.
I would really appreciate the advice as I don't know what to do anymore.
Thank you very much!