South Africa Law
Get Your South African Law Questions Answered by Experts
Hello: This is Phillipsesq. Welcome to JustAnswer! I am reviewing your post, and I will post my response very shortly. Thank you for your patience.
No, you were not wrong for withholding the deposit. The Landlord cannot fail to make needed repairs and then expect you to pay rent. The Landlord violated your rental agreement by not attending to the flooding in your bathroom in a timely manner which made the situation worst. You did the right thing by withholding the rent.
Welcome to Just Answer! My name is Maverick. Please give me a few minutes to review, analyze and/or research your inquiry and I will be back. Thank you for your patience.
You may want to just wait and see if they sue and then file a counterclaim for breach of the implied warranty of habitability since the LL did not timely repair the flooding problem. If you want to take a proactive approach in the event that they do not sue you, but simply decide to black list you, then you can sue the LL in what is known as a declaratory judgment action where you ask for an order that states that you owe the LL nothing under these circumstances. In other words, because the LL breached the implied warranty of habitability, you are excused from paying any more rent that what the LL already kept in the form of your deposit.
Here is the IL law on that. Here is a sample suit to use as a go-by.
Please Note: (1) Just Answer’s site disclaimers apply to all levels of service; (2) Most follow-up questions are answered with in the hour; however, if I am not signed on, please allow up to 24 hours; and (3) If we are done, please assign a feedback rating so Just Answer will compensate me for your question. Thank you for using Just Answer.
For some reason I thought this was for Illinois law. I did not realize you were asking about SA. The same general concepts may apply. But, I will opt out and let SA expert try...
different expert here.
do you still need an answer?
let me know and what specifically you would like answered at this point. thanks.
It seems as if at long last you have reached a South African law expert. My apologies for the confusion.
Estate agencies know nothing about the law. The contract is their bible. They do not realise that if their lawyer sues you for breach (you can tell the Estate Agent it is "breach" and not "bridge") of contract, you will be entitled to defend the matter and file a counterclaim for the owner's breach of contract and that you can claim damages as well.
But to just tell the estate agent that, will not work. In my opinion you should consult an attorney to write a strongly worded letter to her. In the letter the attorney must threaten that if they take any action against you, not only will you file a counterclaim (which, if quantified should be more than the outstanding rent) for the owner's breach of contract (waiting for the insurance is no excuse - what they should have done, is keep you updated and if it could not be attended immediately, arrange other suitable accommodation for you until it is fixed, alternatively ask you to fix it and deduct it from the rent), but also report their conduct to the Estate Agency Affairs Board. They have been trying to intimidate you and have misled you about the true legal position. Furthermore if they blacklist you under these circumstances they will make themselves guilty of intentional crimen iniuria, and you will lay criminal charges and sue for defamation as well. You gave them 3 months to fix the problem, and it is only because of the problem not being fixed that living there became unbearable. No magistrate will agree with them. The law in this case is on your side, not theirs.
Although the debt collector indicates a registration number on her letterhead, I think you must just verify with the Debt Collectors Council whether she is in fact registered and in good standing, because when I tried to look up her registration on their website, no information was available. If she is not registered or in good standing, she may not act as a debt collector.
I still stand by my previous advice, let an attorney send them a strongly worded letter. If they know anything about the law, they should know that when one party owes another party and vice versa, the one party can set off what he owes against what the other party owes him. If X owes Y R100, and Y owes X R100, then using the principle of set-off, no one owes anyone anything.
You need the attorney to send the letter now, before they start legal action, because if you inform them in time of your counterclaim and they still proceed with legal action, it will strengthen your case that they are litigating in bad faith. It will also show them you are serious i you send them an attorney's letter.
It will be part of premium service, which is extra (about $25).