Question posted in the Landlord Tenant Law category relating to Gauteng
Tenant /Landlord dispute
We urgently need legaladvice regarding our ongoingSituation. My partner and I moved into an apartment in Sandhurst, Sandton in March 2020.Initially the landlords (we have never met them, but they own the company CSA Properties - Whom are the managing agents for our apartment - as far as we know there are a few of the Directors whom own the apartment). We have only dealt with a secretary of the company.The rent immediately increased prior to occupation - we asked them to paint the apartment and sort out the very old stained carpets.The rent went from R13,000 to R15,000 because they “painted” and “cleaned” the carpets.When we moved in there was NO INSPECTION DONE.The state of the apartment was SHOCKING - the carpets were soaking wet and the apartment was only painted HALF Way with UNDERCOAT that looked more like nursery school watercolour paint. Paint was also messed EVERYWHERE It looked TERRIBLE. Even worse than the old peeling paint that was there previously. We notified them and they promised to make it right.We were told to get quotes and deduct from Rent. ON APPROVAL.Covid came that same month and everyone's lives stopped as you know. We reminded them but didnt push the issue. We stayed here for the incredible view over the city. Breathtaking.Fast forward to 2022 earlier this year when we once again started querying ACTIVELY about this and all the MANY wrong things but alas, no response except that they wanted to increase rent once again. Hiding behind the excuse that they have not increased in 2 years - never mind the property market caving in, occupation or should I say vacancy numbers at an all time high, never mind the fact that everyone went through a pandemic, nevermind they are lucky to have us as tenants as we always paid (sans couple of 1000 owed from pandemic days) even though they haven't kept their part of the deal. We were now asked to pay R15,900 per month. VERY overpriced and not market correct.We got increasingly ticked off that we were in year 3 of living there and we have yet to see something being done.Numerous e-mails were sent all surrounding these issues1. Re-negotiate rent: We sent them MANY photographic examples and proof and research of units in our building FULLY FURNISHED going for R12,500-R14,000. That is R3000 to 2000 less WITH FURNITURE AND PAINT AND WOODEN FLOORS They declined any form of negotiation and said its worth much more than we are already paying which is - R15,900.
2. We asked for a statement of our deposit.They refuse to give us one nor tell us where it is. We know it is a criminal offence to not put in interest bearing acc and refusing to disclose where our money is and to withhold access to view the statements. We even told them that.
3. Our apartment's main bedroom is filled with mold Numerous times we sent emails with photos to plead with them to DO something. It is a huge problem that is not being addressed. We tried remedy it with vinegar, etc. Didn’t work. My child has suffered extensivelydue to the mold. We had to buya nebulising machine TWICE because first one wasn't Strong enough for her severity and usage. She also has an asthma pump and is on chronic bronchodilators because of her chestAnd breathing difficulties. She also often experience nose bleeds, middle ear and throat infections. My partner also suffers extensively with sinusitis and breakingNo response.IGNORED.4. Our ongoing battle to paint the apartment, fix what has to be fixed and what we haven't just fixed ourselves in the interim. Also deal with the rotten stained carpets I had to cover with huge expensive rugs. One minimal response to send maintenance for the little issues (toilet seat, handles, cupboard fittings, you know not important things). Ignore all other queries, grievances.
Then, August we decided ENOUGH is ENOUGH and sent another 10 mails then finally gave notice and stopped paying rent. We were sent threatening e-mails and e-mails of demand.We demanded right back. asking for a statement of our deposit which by now should be R17,900 and We also sentthem an invoice of the amount o date we have OVERPAYED because they have been in breach of contract since the beginning.
So Sept rent and Oct not paid and we still haven't gotten a response from them except threats to immediately pay our outstanding rent and a couple of thousand we owed from earlier this year. Plus prepostorous interest that they added. Which I also saw is against the law.The above facts we set out nicely in an affidavit and had it stamped by the clerk of the criminal court in Randburg. We sent that together with an invoice of plus minus R76,000 that they owe us (see invoice)- worked out based on all the overpayed rental months and our deposit plus interest.It is now october 13. Nothing. No communication.We DO NOT KNOW what to do next.But their non response makes us scared. What are they doing? Planning? Maybe they find a loophole and we are on the street tomorrow.Please help.