If the tiles were not damaged when you viewed the flat prior to October 2015, then surely the implication is that the previous owner damaged the tiles between you viewing the flat and when he vacated the flat? If that is the case, then YES, he is liable for the cost of the repairs.
If however the tiles were previously damaged (e.g. in 2014) and they were already in their damaged state when you viewed the flat but you didn't notice the damage, then NO, the previous owner is not liable to repair them now.
It all comes down to when the damage occurred, and if you knew about the damage, and whether you could have seen the damaged tiles after a careful inspection of the flat. In other words, a superficial inspection is not good enough.
It is a common law requirement that the previous owner needs to deliver the flat to you (date of transfer) in the same condition or a better condition as when you purchased the flat (date of signing the sale agreement).
You need to draw a timeline of the dates and then see where the damage to the tiles occurred. You might find that the tiles were damaged prior to date of signing the sale agreement (then you don't have a claim) or between date of signing the sale agreement and date of transfer (then you do have a claim) or after date of transfer (then you REALLY do have a claim).
If it was a condition of the sale that you rent the flat back to the previous owner from Jan 2016 until March 2016, then I assume that he is still in the flat?
How can you then complain that you have lost out on R200,000 rental because you haven't had the ability to rent the flat out to somebody else? When? For which months?
The situation you describe is VERY different to a situation where you bought a flat in October 2015, and the previous owner has refused to move out. In that instance you WOULD be entitled to a damages claim against him.
But in your situation, I don't think so.
Assuming that you're talking about renting the flat out to a third party for the period October 2015 to 15 January 2016, then you might have a claim against him for the lost rental, but you would need to prove to the court that you mitigated your loss. That means that you fixed the tiles as soon as possible so that you curtailed the "can't rent the flat" period.
The court won't entertain a claim like that if you just didn't repair the tiles when you could.
Also, it's unfortunately NOT a good argument that you were not entitled to repair the tiles because the sale agreement contained a clause that said that you need to rent the flat to the previous owner in the same condition as it was before. That condition would most certainly not apply to damages that need to be repaired, or to maintenance.
That clause would apply to "you can't do renovations" in that October to January period.
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