How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Freddie Lombard Your Own Question
Freddie Lombard
Freddie Lombard, Attorney
Category: South Africa Law
Satisfied Customers: 2529
Experience:  Practicing attorney and conveyancer with 16 years post article experience.
75614155
Type Your South Africa Law Question Here...
Freddie Lombard is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

I rent an apartment in Tamboerskloof in Cape Town for almost

Customer Question

Hello
I rent an apartment in Tamboerskloof in Cape Town for almost two years now. My shower began to leak 21 days ago causing irritation to the block and the tenant below me.
The body corporate called a plumber to investigate and they found the shower to be leaking and gave a quote for r1600 to patch the job or r10k to do the job properly. The landlord elected to do the quick fix which did not work. I asked her to fix the shower as we were having to wash in the sink and shower in a bucket to clean ourselves.
I left the keys with the body corporate as i went to London for 9 days only to return and find the work had not been completed. I asked the landlord why and she had since changed plumber who said they could fix the leak for r1600 without chopping up the tiles and said it was just a leaking pipe. They then said it would cost r10k and she was asking them to investigate to prove it was a burst pipe claim on her insurance.
All the whilst we were unable to gower and we had tp book ourselves into a guesthouse at our cost which she agreed to repay as the plumber said it could be repaired in 48 hours.
The work took 72 hours and for the last few days we were limited to washing ourselves out of the bathroom sink.
I have told the landlord i would like the rent discounted because we have not been able to enjoy living in the apartment and had not had a shower for almost 21 days.
Since we have not had an operational shower for 21 days out of 31 days the total rental being R8000 per month, is calculated at R258 multiplied by 21 days is R5419. The balance is R2581.
As I am a fair person and I do not wish there to be hard feelings between us, I am prepared to not penalise landlord for the days where I was not present in the apartment. Thus I am happy to pay her less R3096 or R4909.
The guest house was 900 rand approximately, but to be quite frank, it was more hassle and messing around than it was worth.
We were informed the work would take 48 hours but it was more than 72 hours without a shower.
I emailed her asking if I could book a room for a second night but it was too late as she lives in japan and she only answered at 6am in the morning. I have the guest house receipt for one night however I do not believe this covers the sress and anxiety this situation has caused.
The landlord has now served me with 3 months notice to increase the rent from R8000 to R13500 which she says is market rates.
I had a discounted rent for 2 years as i renovated the apartment for her as i am an interior designer. I expected the rent to go to R11k per month as agreed in writing, but it would appear the stress and cost of the shower issue has soured any good feelings she may have had to entertain this agreement.
Can i force to accept tone 11k rental as my lease runs out in November and i want to know if i am being unfairly penalised and forced out of my accommodation by the landlord?
thanks in advance.
Piers Mansfield
Submitted: 6 months ago.
Category: South Africa Law
Expert:  Freddie Lombard replied 6 months ago.

Hallo Piers

Thank you for your question. I will try to assist you in answering it today but please feel free to ask as many follow up questions as you like until you are 100% satisfied.

I am afraid that I do not have good news for you. Unless your contract stated an increase amount and affords you the option of renewal, you can do nothing about the landlord's decision to increase to this amount. This is to say, unless you have already agreed to a an amount for a new lease as I will explain below.

In terms of SA property law there are no limits to the amount by which a landlord can increase the rental, but in practice most leases contain a clause stipulating that the annual increase will be a specified percentage.

If you can rove all conditions for a verbal lease agreement has been met and agreed to, then you can hold the landlord to said agreement but in order to be bale to do that, you will most likely have to resort to legal action which will be expensive and take time to do. This usually has the effect that tenants would rather find alternative accommodation than fight the landlord.

I hope this answered your question.

I know that this was possibly not the answer you were hoping for but please bear in mind that I am obliged to supply you with sound legal advice in accordance with the current legal position and that I am not able to change the laws to suit your case.

I therefore ask that you keep this in mind when rating my service and that you will rate my service, irrespective whether you like my answer of not.

I know it will take an extra minute of your time to rate my service, but if you do not rate it, I do not get paid by the website so I would really appreciate it if you would be so kind as to rate my service positively. Feel free to ask further question here on this topic at no extra cost if you need more information.

Regards

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
HelloI'm not sure i understand the term "rove"....please explain further.Do i not have rights as a tenant? Is the landlord able to put the rent up by any amount?..I did send you the transcript...did you read where she committed to the amount of 11k?Am I at least able to not pay her rent for this month based on her failure to provide adequate shower facilities?thanks
Expert:  Freddie Lombard replied 6 months ago.

Sorry, it should be PROVE.

On the contract is states rental will be renegotiated. If you can prove that these negotiations lead to a verbal agreement for R11k, then you are in with a good chance.

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
HelloI have it on email that she agreed 11k......what next steps please?How can i enforce the agreement?thanks
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
In addition, what are my rights wrt the last months debacle with the shower?
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Me: Please see below the extract from an earlier email sent to me on the 29th June 2016….Her: "Ok, you are a good tenant so I'll give it to you for R11 000/month."I am of course very well aware of the fact that I told you that. But I contacted both a lawyer and a rental agent to make sure. As per SA law you as an owner should at least give your tenant 40 working days notice. So I am still within my rights if I do not wish to extend our contract.
Expert:  Freddie Lombard replied 6 months ago.

If you have the prove than I would suggest that you refer a dispute to the rental housing tribunal in your area. They will be able to assist you with both issues (shower and new agreement).

I am not sure where this part fits in: "I am of course very well aware of the fact that I told you that. But I contacted both a lawyer and a rental agent to make sure. As per SA law you as an owner should at least give your tenant 40 working days notice. So I am still within my rights if I do not wish to extend our contract. "

In response to what message was this made?

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
this was her response to my email where i said ...Me: Please see below the extract from an earlier email sent to me on the 29th June 2016….Her: "Ok, you are a good tenant so I'll give it to you for R11 000/month."
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
where would i find a rental housing tribunal please?btw she lives in japan.....hard to get her in the room!
Expert:  Freddie Lombard replied 6 months ago.

You can google rental housing tribunal and then search for your nearest office.

I am not sure where she gets the 40 day thing. You do not have an automatic right of renewal of a lease agreement that expires. If the agreement makes provision that you can renew it at the end of the term, then you have that right. usually such clause will also have conditions such as you have to notify the landlord in writing a month or two in advance if you will be renewing.

If no such RIGHT of renewal is contained in your current lease, then you do not automatically have such right and the landlord will be within her right to refuse a renewal.

I am not at my office where I can print your attachment in order to read it so it is a bit difficult for me to peruse it now. You will have to go through it and see if there is such right. The hand written part is not enough. it simply states that if it is renewed. It does not specifically state that you will have the option to renew for another year.

Expert:  Freddie Lombard replied 6 months ago.

I will be stepping out now and will be unavailable for a while should you have further questions, I will attend to it at a later stage.

If you are satisfied, please remember to rate.

regards