I am currently in a rental property and have been in the same property for almost 3 years. Every year we have a battle to extend our rental agreement as the owner wants to sell and at the last moment decides to rent again. My problem is that it is a well known agency whom we are renting from and from moving our contract from one office to the next one they lost our deposit as well as original agreement stating how much we originally paid as a deposit. The excuse we received is that the owner of the first office ran away with the deposits and that the second office can not be held accountable for this. If we need to move and find a next property I am out of pocket of more than R10000. Do I have any recourse and is there a quick way to sort this as our contract expires beginning of September 2012. Paul Myers
I have only spoken to the rental agency in question and was advised that they can not be held accountable and if I want to pursue this I would have to take action against the previous office owner and not the company.
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Did the rental agent physically change ownership or did the person they accuse of stealing the money just resigned?
The rental agency, part of a group, closed down and all the files was transfered to an office of the same group in another part of town. The person accused was the owner of the franchise office.
So, he was a registered estate agent?
Yes. The company is registered and I would assume that the owner would be registered as well.
Apologies for the delay:1. In terms of the Rental Housing Act, you are entitled to ask, and the landlord or his agent is obligated to provide you with a statement that reflects where the money was deposited and the amount of the interest, if any. 2. Since he was a registered estate agent, this should have been deposited in his trust account, which means that, that money is insured by the Estate Agency Affairs Board Fidelity Fund. This means that, if he truly stole that R 10 000, you would be able to claim the same from the Fidelity Fund. The process and relevant documentation to lodge that claim can be found at this link. 3. I would also advise that you lay a criminal charge of theft against the former principal. 4. Since this rental agent was an agent of the Landlord, and since principals (the landlord in this instance) are liable for the actions of their agents, if the EAAB is not able to honor your claim, you would be able to claim the R 10 000 from the landlord.
Thank you for the information.
My pleasure. Do you require any further information?
Not currently. Should I require additional info, can I return to this link?
You are welcome to do so.
L.LB, Civil and criminal litigation, contracts, labour and family law
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