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Infolawyer, Attorney
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Satisfied Customers: 53569
Experience:  Experience representing landlords and tenants.
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I was renting an apartment through an estate agent for about

Customer Question

I was renting an apartment through an estate agent for about a year and a half. Early this year around May, water started coming out of the toilet filling up half of the room space such as I had to stand on something to be able to use the toilet. I spoke to the agency to come and fix it and it took a month and a half to send someone to come and fix it. The person then said he cannot fix it and will tell the agency.After about a month they sent the same guy to come and have a look at the problem and he again said he cannot fix it as the problem was on the wall, it looks like a pipe had burst. I then decided after begging them to send someone to fix it I decided t withhold my rent and only then did they send someone,By that time the place had a bad stench from the water and I told them I want to leave immediately. I asked them to take my deposit for the outstanding rent which is in August and I will not serve notice as I cannot stay in the place anymore. The agent insist I must pay rent for August and September if I do not want to serve notice. I refused and told them to take that from my deposit and have left the property.Was I wrong in doing that as I felt that they broke their contractual obligations by not attending to the problem. It only got fixed when I stopped paying rent. They promised to blacklist me if I do not pay. Do I have any legal recourse? I also did not have a contract. I since signed the contract last year.
Submitted: 1 month ago.
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Expert:  Phillips Esq. replied 1 month ago.

Hello: This is Phillipsesq. Welcome to JustAnswer! I am reviewing your post, and I will post my response very shortly. Thank you for your patience.

Expert:  Phillips Esq. replied 1 month ago.

No, you were not wrong for withholding the deposit. The Landlord cannot fail to make needed repairs and then expect you to pay rent. The Landlord violated your rental agreement by not attending to the flooding in your bathroom in a timely manner which made the situation worst. You did the right thing by withholding the rent.

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
Hi PhillipesqPlease read the agents' response below and please advise:Unfortunately you cannot use your deposit as rent. Your lawyer, who have not contacted us yet, should have told you so. You did not give one month’s notice so you are liable for September’s rent. Where exactly will your friend give the keys of tonight because we close at 4pm?
You can ignore my messages and not pay, it will be handed over to our lawyer and you are going to be responsible for all legal costs. This matter could have been solved in a decent way but you were unreasonable and you are in bridge of contract.
I doubt if your lawyer will proceed with this because it is unfortunately how the law operates and the excuse you have of the circumstances is not good enough. I explained to you that the owner was waiting for the insurance to fix the problem, your plan was to move out anyway without giving notice.
Your file will be handed over on the 7th of September if payment is not made
You are welcome to phone Louise if you disagree(###) ###-####
Expert:  Maverick replied 1 month ago.

Welcome to Just Answer! My name is Maverick. Please give me a few minutes to review, analyze and/or research your inquiry and I will be back. Thank you for your patience.

Expert:  Maverick replied 1 month ago.

You may want to just wait and see if they sue and then file a counterclaim for breach of the implied warranty of habitability since the LL did not timely repair the flooding problem. If you want to take a proactive approach in the event that they do not sue you, but simply decide to black list you, then you can sue the LL in what is known as a declaratory judgment action where you ask for an order that states that you owe the LL nothing under these circumstances. In other words, because the LL breached the implied warranty of habitability, you are excused from paying any more rent that what the LL already kept in the form of your deposit.

Here is the IL law on that. Here is a sample suit to use as a go-by.

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Customer: replied 1 month ago.
Hi, I just want to know will thisbe applicable to South African Property law?
Expert:  Maverick replied 1 month ago.

For some reason I thought this was for Illinois law. I did not realize you were asking about SA. The same general concepts may apply. But, I will opt out and let SA expert try...

Expert:  Infolawyer replied 1 month ago.

different expert here.

do you still need an answer?

Expert:  Infolawyer replied 1 month ago.

let me know and what specifically you would like answered at this point. thanks.

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
I am South African and looking for a response from a South African lawyer. Is that possible?

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