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WCLawyer
WCLawyer, Attorney
Category: South Africa Law
Satisfied Customers: 15601
Experience:  L.LB (UOVS)
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What can I do if the landlord has not paid the electricity

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What can I do if the landlord has not paid the electricity bill and the power to the house has been cut (we received a notice in the post to this effect), leaving my family to have to stay elsewhere and move all foods to prevent damage. (I have paid the bill to the landlord in full).

I have been renting for two months, and the outstanding amount due seems to be from before I moved into the premises. When speaking to the state agent about the electricity being cut, the response was "we were worried this may happen"
Good day and thank you for your question. My name is XXXXX XXXXX I will try and assist you today.

In order to provide you with the most accurate answer, I may have to ask you a lot of questions. This may seem tedious and irrelevant, but trust me, there is a reason for every question. So please be patient throughout the process and if it takes a little long for me to come back to you, it is probably because I am researching your answer. I hope that is okay.

What is the amount that is owed by the landlord?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Amount owed: R2000.00

What would you like to do: Cancel the agreement, or pay the account and take it off your rent payment?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Pay the account and take it off the rent payment will be the best option for me. Do I need to engage with the landlord before I do this or can I go ahead. Can I deduct the equivalent of the days that I cannot stay in the house from the rent as well?

Is there anything in your lease agreement that says that you cannot set off any amount from your rent for whatever reason?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Not as far as I know (assuming I interpret the contract correctly).

It is not expressly stated anywhere in the contract? Normally those types of clauses leave no doubt as to how it is supposed to be applied.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Just checked. Nothing stated in the contract to this effect.

Then you are golden.

Write a letter to the landlord or the agent. Inform them that you will give them 24 hours to pay the arrear account and have the electricity up and running again, otherwise you are going to pay it and withhold it from the rent.

If they do not comply, then pay it and deduct it from next month's rent.

With regards XXXXX XXXXX further deduction due to the fact that you could not live there for an extended period of time, it is a little bit more murky and I suggest that, although you can claim for that, since it is a damages claim, you do not deduct that from the rent. I do suggest that you rather approach the Rental Tribunal, or the Small Claims Court and request for a reduction from there.

I hope I have answered all of your questions and addressed all your concerns, but if you have follow up questions before you rate, feel free to ask them at no extra cost. If you are satisfied with the service, kindly rate it positively.
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