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CaseLaw
CaseLaw, Attorney
Category: South Africa Law
Satisfied Customers: 1293
Experience:  BCom; LLB; Masters in Law
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I have spoken to you previously on a rental matter

Customer Question

Hello. I have spoken to you previously on a rental matter where we have landed ourselves with landlords from hell. We did, as you informed us, place them in breach of contract in writing and gave them 20 days to complete the renovations. After that all hell broke loose. We received an sms from the female stating that she would not enter the house again. The male landlord has threatened me with physical assault. He has threatened Paul "I will have my biker friends sort you out; he threatened to have my houseman Justice arrested and it cost us R50 000 to send Justice back to Malawi (he was legally in the country). He has sent a male in a white sedan with a CG number plate to pick up "members of the 28"s" that the man said he had dropped off here the night before ( i then found out that the 28"s are a prison gang. Notably he then sent an email from a third parties address entitled NON PAYMENT OF RENT (the rent has always been paid on time and the utilities are currently overpaid) stating that if he didn't receive his rent on the 1st day of the month, he would cut the electricity supply. Paul informed him that this was illegal and a criminal and jailable offence to which he responded that "he didn't care about sitting in jail". His wife has told me I am a worshipper of "Bamphomet" - a demon who apparently controls the music industry. (I thought Sony was the main player). She has called me a prostitute and a street walker. She has accused me of interfering with the electrical supply _ i can't wire a plug. She has accused me of "stealing her mail" - they then removed the post box. In his letter where he states that he will cut the electric supply, he gives us two months notice - we are not in breach. He then attempted to get a harassment order against me (an interim order was not granted) claiming that I had told his wife who is of Oriental descent that she is a filthy person who eats dogs, cats and snakes. He further goes on to say that I Paul told him I was going to Knysna as I had been charged with calling three people "kaffirs". I went to Knysna as a witness for the State on an assault matter 99/06/2012. In his application he enquiries whether he can place two of his biker friends "with security experience to maintain law and order". He is off his head. My understanding is that since he has been in breach since day one I do not have to give him notice (and I won't). I have noticed a peculiar pattern in that each time the rent is paid, renovations in their house commence for a few days. I have told Paul that they no longer have the deposit and to this end went to his house yesterday to drop a demand that he presents us with proof of where the deposit is lodged and the interest thereon only to find that the postbox that he removed from my house and then reinstalled at his house had been removed. I through the letter over the gate and emailed a copy to the letting agent asking her to call him and give it to him. She has just emailed me and told me she cannot reach him. I am bedridden most of the time as I have severe respiratory problems. I am aware that I can issue summons once we have left these premises fondly ***** ***** the building site and I will sue him for the deposit, interest, moving expenses (I will get Stuutaford van Lines to pack and move), relocation of ADSL and telephone service and reinstallation of DSTV. This loon walks around wearing a Harley jacket - he has a souped up Suzuki - and carries a chain with him. I called the police yesterday but they said there is nothing they can do. Can I lay charges of theft against him if he does not respond and show me where the deposit (a minimal amount of R23 000) is?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: South Africa Law
Expert:  CaseLaw replied 1 year ago.
Hi there and thank you for your question,Sorry to hear about your further issues with your landlord from hell.Q: Can I lay charges of theft against him if he does not respond and show me where the deposit (a minimal amount of R23 000) is? --> unfortunately no. The return of your deposit is a civil matter, not a criminal matter. At no point in time did your landlord "steal" your deposit. You gave it to him in terms of your lease agreement. You will therefore need to sue him for the return of the deposit. You could always refer the whole dispute to the Housing Rental Tribunal for assistance. They look after tenants who are having issues with landlord, and often haul landlords over the barrel. They have the power to grant judgments and issue warrants of attachment to allow the sheriff to attach stuff! Google Housing Rental Tribunal for their contact details. If you are in Cape Town, I can certainly recommend their services!!!!If there is something more specific that you need clarity on, please continue in this same thread. Let me know if you need more advice!I hope you found my answer helpful. If you did, PLEASE rate my answer & please leave me positive feedback! Good luck and best regards,CaseLawPlease note: This answer does not create an attorney-client relationship. Please consult a local attorney in person for legal advice. This information is being provided so you can better discuss legal matters with your attorney.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Okay. What about the other matters raised? Can I press criminal charges against him? I was expect a comment on each point.
Expert:  CaseLaw replied 1 year ago.
Hi there,Q: Can I press criminal charges against him? As I stated above, unfortunately not.I don't know what else you want an answer on. Perhaps reply with each question, one line each, I can answer them?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Well intimidation for one thing. He has no right to threaten to beat me or tell Paul that his "motor cycle gang" is going to sort him out.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Calling me a prostitute and a streetwalker for another. (Sorry a bit slow today.)
Expert:  CaseLaw replied 1 year ago.
Hi there,Yes, you can lay criminal charges against him for intimidation. If you have witnesses, it'll really help, otherwise it'll be your word against his. You'll need to go to your nearest Police Station and open up a charge of intimidation and assault - as verbal assault and threats also amount to assault!Re: the prostitute -- you could charge him with defamation, but only if there were people around to hear it, and those people hearing it thought that it may have been true. This is, in practice, very difficult to prove unless it was said out loud to a group of people.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
It was said in front my daughters father (I am 52 he 62) and in front of husband who will deny it. In terms of the letter entitled NON PAYMENT OF RENT and threatening to cut the power, he gives us 2 month notice to move out of his building rubble. Surely since he has been in breach since day one and we formally placed him in breach contract - I don't have to give him any notice? I will just get an attorney to send him a letter of demand for expenses incurred in moving and sending Justice back to Malawi and moving the phone, ADSL, satellite as well as the packing fees and transport - if he doesn't pay, then I will seek an attachment order and attach his property. We paid this man a double deposit and notwithstanding that I dropped a letter over his fence on Sunday he has failed to comply.
Expert:  CaseLaw replied 1 year ago.
Hi there,Whether or not you need to give him notice of your intention to cancel the lease agreement depends on the breach clause in the lease agreement. You're going to have to be guided by the clause. Normally you would need to identify his breach, and then give him 7 days to rectify the breach. If he doesn't, then you can cancel the lease agreement.You need to ensure that you hold him accountable, especially regarding the return of the deposit. It looks to me as if you are on the right track and know exactly what to do. Well Done!