Good day.My question is related to rental of real estate.I rented a property for 37 months in the edenvale area and over the last 7 months, the electric garage door, which is the only access to the property, started to not open properly. I spoke to the agent and landlord repeatedly over the 7 months to fix it and between the two of them they sent people out to quote on fixing the door. On each occasion the quotes were sent out but the owner never bothered to fix the door. The door eventually got to a point where it became a danger to me and my wife as we had to lift it physically to get in or out regardless of weather. Upon repeated delaying tactics from the landlord, I said to the landlord the landlord if he bought some hinges I would get the agents door man to replace the hinges which were totally broken which the door man did. This did not fix the door but only stopped it from falling apart further. A month or two later the door dropped a bit and hit myself in the back and hurt my dog to. I must admit by then I was angry so I withheld a months rent to fix the door unless the landlord fixed it. Immediately the landlord came back to me saying if I did not pay he will evict me. I must note here that I paid the rent after that as normal just keeping the 1 month back. As by this time our contract had expired for many months and we were paying on a month to month basis, I took his threat seriously and repeatedly just asked him to fix the door. The landlord then told me that because I broke the door I must fix it. (He is obviously referring to the hinges which he believes I installed personally.) Because this was over Christmas and him sending me horrible sms's (which I have still got) to pay up and get out the house, I paid the outstanding month. I then received letters a week later informing me to move out which we did. The landlord and agent are now holding my deposit of more than R9000 claiming that it will be used to fix the garage door. The agent has a quote from a professional garage door artisan stating that the damage is wear and tear and not from breakage. We had lived there for more than 37 months and not once was the garage door maintained by anyone..My question is what I can do. I also would like the interest on my deposit from the agent but don't know how to calculate that as the agent says it is only about 1%
We are trying to speak to the real estate ombudsman
Good day. First off, it seems as if the door became broken because of normal wear and tear and you would, under normal circumstances, not be held liable for damages under those conditions. You will only be liable for damages to the property that you caused.
Secondly, since the inception of the Rental Housing Act in 1999, landlords are required to keep deposits in a interest bearing account to the benefit of the tenant. The exception is where the deposit is held in the trust account of a registered estate agent, in which case, the interest is paid over to a fidelity fund.
The Rental Housing Act states that a landlord may only hold back a deposit for arrear rent, other arrear amounts in terms of the agreement as well as damages.
You have two basic options:
1. You can take the matter to the rental tribunal. You will find their contact details from your closest office of the Department of Human Settlements. The number will be in the blue pages of your phone book.
2. You can approach the Small Claims Court in order to claim your R 9 000 back. This is situated at your local Magistrates Court and you should ask to speak to the Clerk of the Small Claims Court. It will cost you about R 100 and a night in court. It is cheap and normally quicker than the Magistrates Court. No attorneys are allowed to represent either plaintiffs or defendants.
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