Question posted in the Property Law category relating to Gauteng
I need urgent advice.
I moved into a rental property (residential) on 1st of April 2021. I signed as 2 year contract. I moved in with my partner, due to covid-19 and being pregnant she is unable to do her job 100% so her salary has been cut by 50%. Due to this a lot more responsibilities has fallen on me and at this moment I cannot afford the rent. I approached the rental lady and the landlord and explaining my situation. I did inform them that I am giving 2 months’ notice (on 27th of July 2021), and that I will be out by end of September. I gave 2 months’ notice as I know the law says you only have to give 20 or 21 business days regardless of the lease period. I did also notify them verbally that if they can find someone for fist of September 2021 they can.
I have found a cheaper rental property however its for the first of September 2021. I then approached my current landlord in saying that we will be out by 1st of September. I also asked him if instead of us paying rent for the month of September that he can use my deposit as rent. I also said that all our service fees up until end of August will be paid end of August. Part of the deposit was for other deposits so I suggested that, that money are held for the event of outstanding service accounts that will only be delivered after we move out. However no one will occupy the house so service accounts should be at a minimal. My landlord now wants me to pay 50% of rent for the month of September even though I will not be here and at the moment I cannot afford that. I also suggested that we can do an exit inspection before we move out officially, however the landlord also never did an entrance inspection.
At the end of the day I don’t want my deposit back as I understand the effects of covid and therefore I have made peace to forfeit my deposit. However I just want to use my deposit as rent for the month I will not be occupying the house so that my landlord is not out of pocket. I know the law says something about a tenant cannot use deposit as rent only the landlord can suggest that or something. I have also read that the landlord actually has to place the deposit in a savings or something where it can draw interest and that it has to be paid back with interest, and if the contract does not state that then the deposit clause in invalid or something.
If someone can please give me advice on this, I have read up a lot on the laws and I only understand it as far as my knowledge goes. I also know with Covid this rental laws are tested and there is a lot of grey areas. I just like to know do I have a right to forgeit my deposit as last months rent even though I am not occupying the house, and me giving 2 months’ notice does that supersede the law’s 20/21 business days, or can I still fall back on the law’s notice period.
Thank you in advance
Information Requested by Lawyer
I see that you haven't made a payment for the question, but I'm going to assist you a little. If you want to ask a follow-up question, please make the required payment, even if it is R150 or R200.
You must realise that in terms of section 14 of the CPA, your landlord is entitled to a "reasonable cancellation penalty" for you terminating the lease agreement early. This normally amounts to 1 or 2 months' rental. So if your landlord wants 1/2 of September's rental, it sounds like that is a good deal.
Please remember this is a dialog if you have follow-up questions please make the required deposit, then use the REPLY button and ask your further question. I would like to continue assisting you, but I need to concentrate on people who make deposits for their questions - they get serviced first!