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Cape Town eviction lawyer Archives | Eviction Lawyers South Africa

What’s covered by the rental deposit

By | Lease Agreement, Rent, Rental deposit, Rental Housing Act

This article, from the Personal Finance section of Independent Online, is a clear and helpful explanation of the purpose of the rental security deposit.

rental deposit
File Image: IOL

Reprinted from iol.co.za – 2020-10-06

Following a period of lockdown restrictions that put severe pressure on the income levels of many households, some landlords have had to go through the costly process of applying for a court order to evict defaulting tenants. Adrian Goslett, regional director and chief executive officer of RE/MAX of Southern Africa, explains that the rental deposit exists largely to protect the landlord against defaulting tenants and the lengthy, expensive process that is involved to evict them.

According to Goslett, tenants are protected by the Prevention of Illegal Eviction from Unlawful Occupation of Land Act, No. 19 of 1998, also known as the PIE Act. If the correct procedures are followed, it can take at least eight to 10 weeks for an eviction order to be granted during which time the landlord is out of pocket. “Besides the fact that the landlord is not getting a rental income from the defaulting tenant during that period, they will also have to pay legal costs. An unopposed eviction could cost between R12 000 and R20 000 in legal costs plus disbursements, while the cost of an opposed matter will be substantially more. Section 5 of the Rental Housing Act, No. 50 of 1999 states that a landlord is legally entitled to request a deposit from their tenants. This deposit can be used to help cover these legal costs,” he explains.

With this in mind, most landlords request a deposit from their tenants before they move into the property. The amount that the tenant will be required to pay as a deposit is stipulated in the lease agreement. Conventionally, the rental deposit amount is equal to anywhere from one to even three months’ rent.

“When a tenant pays the deposit, the landlord is required by the Rental Housing Act to place the money in an interest-bearing account, held with a financial institution. The tenant is within their rights to request a statement of the interest earned on the money at any time during their tenancy. Even though the deposit is paid to the landlord, it remains the tenant’s money. The landlord is merely holding the money as a security measure, should the tenant default or breach the rental agreement. If the tenancy runs its normal course, the deposit along with all interest earned on the money must be paid over to the tenant at the end of the lease agreement period,” says Goslett.

However, he warns that the landlord is entitled to deduct from the rental deposit any expenses incurred repairing any damage to the property which occurred during the tenancy. “The remainder of the money must then be refunded to the tenant no later than 14 days after the restoration of the property as dictated by the Act. If repairs are done, the tenant can request to see all repair receipts to confirm that the money was spent to repair the damage they did to the property. The landlord cannot use the deposit for general maintenance or upkeep of the property. If there is no damage to the property, the full deposit and interest must be paid to the tenant within seven days of the lease’s expiration date,” he explains.

Should any disputes arise between the landlord and the tenant regarding the rental deposit, Goslett recommends they can turn to the province’s Rental Housing Tribunal. “The tribunal assists to mediate and resolve disputes between the parties. Before entering into a rental agreement, both the tenant and the landlord should familiarise themselves with their legal rights regarding the tenancy and the rental deposit. Knowledge of the relevant procedures can help prevent unpleasant and costly disputes down the line,” he said.

Links added by SD Law.

Do you have questions about your lease agreement or rental deposit?

Whether you are tenant or landlord, if you have questions or concerns about your existing lease agreement or security deposit, contact Eviction Lawyers for a confidential discussion. We will explain your rights and responsibilities to ensure a worry-free tenancy. Contact Simon now on 086 099 5146 or email him on info@sdlaw.co.za.

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CAMPS BAY MANSION OCCUPIERS SERVED WITH EVICTION ORDER

By | Eviction news, Eviction notice, Eviction orders, Evictions, Rent

The seven activists legally booked the house more than a week ago but have overstayed their welcome.

Image 123rf.com

CAPE TOWN – A group of activists illegally occupying a mansion in Camps Bay have been served with an eviction order.

The seven activists legally booked the house more than a week ago but have overstayed their welcome.

They only paid for a weekend.

Turnkey Property Management group said that it had been left with no other option but to take legal action.

The property management company had given the activists a chance to leave the house but they wouldn’t budge and pushed ahead with their protest.

Law professor, Elmien du Plessis said that before the COVID-19 lockdown under the Prevention of Illegal Evictions Act, homeowners had to first go to court then only would an eviction order be granted if deemed justifiable.

But under the state of disaster, she said that things worked differently now.

“The court will decide whether the people can be evicted and if the court says that it is just and equitable, then the court will give a date on which the people must leave the premises. That date, because of the regulations, may be suspended until after the state of disaster.”

Du Plessis said that it would be interesting to see in this case where people had rented holiday accommodation through Airbnb, if they would be deemed “illegal occupiers” in terms of the legislation.

Meanwhile, UWC land expert, Professor Ruth Hall said that under level 3, landlords or property owners could apply for eviction orders but it could not be enforced but now people could be evicted.

She added that one did not usually see this type of occupation.

“This eviction can be enforced, so this means that if a court order is made for the eviction of this group, it will be legal for them to be evicted.”

Contact us

Simon Dippenaar & Associates, Inc. is a firm of specialist eviction lawyers, based in Cape Town and now operating in Johannesburg and Durban, helping both landlords and tenants with the eviction process. Contact one of our eviction attorneys on 086 099 5146 or sdippenaar@sdlaw.co.za if you need advice on the eviction process or if you are facing unlawful eviction.

Reprinted from EWN by Kaylynn Palm

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UPDATE:

Camps Bay collective rejects housing assistance as eviction deadline looms

Evictions ruling a tinderbox for Cape Town

By | Eviction news, Eviction notice, Eviction orders, Evictions
Bulelani Qholani opened a case against the City of Cape Town after a video of him being dragged naked out of his shack went viral. Picture: ESA ALEXANDER

Bulelani Qholani opened a case against the City of Cape Town after a video of him being dragged naked out of his shack went viral. Picture: ESA ALEXANDER

The recent Cape Town high court judgment barring the City of Cape Town from evicting illegal land occupiers from their shacks — occupied or not — without first obtaining a court order risks encouraging land invasions and deepening instability. This is entirely at odds with President Cyril Ramaphosa’s repeated assurances that “land grabs” will not be tolerated.

The court argued that the city would not be prejudiced because it could always apply for eviction orders on an urgent basis. However, this remedy is meaningless given the time needed to obtain such court orders. By then, unlawful occupiers will have become entrenched.

Moreover, those without the means to go to court will have no remedy at all. This will affect not only the 9.8-million people (almost all black) who own formal houses, but also the millions more with informal title to customary plots.

In October, the court’s interim interdict could be overtaken by a permanent ban on the common-law remedy of “counter-spoliation”. This allows a person to take back their property while the process of dispossession is still under way. In practice, says the city, this means evictions must take place within 48 hours and before new shacks are occupied.

Like the interim interdict already granted, the permanent ban is being sought by the SA Human Rights Commission, acting with civil society organisation The Housing Assembly and unlawful occupier Bulelani Qolani. The EFF is supporting them as amicus curiae.

Qolani, evicted from the Ethembeni informal settlement in Khayelitsha by the city’s Anti-Land Invasion Unit (ALIU) in July, told the court that when he saw officials approaching, he went into his dwelling, undressed for a bath and stood naked outside his shack, asking to be allowed to finish his bath. When he went inside again, the ALIU dragged him naked from his home, pepper-sprayed him and pinned him down before demolishing his shack.

The city, which has instituted disciplinary proceedings against the ALIU members involved, told the court Qolani’s dwelling, erected only the day before, was still unoccupied at the time. In addition, Qolani had chosen to stand naked in front of his shack. This was in keeping with “the latest trend, whereby people undressed themselves” as a strategy to avoid eviction.

The city argued that prior court orders were required only for evictions from shacks already occupied. It was only when shacks had already been turned into homes that unlawful occupiers fell within the ambit of the Prevention of Illegal Eviction From And Unlawful Occupation of Land Act. Only then were they protected by the constitution’s bar on evictions without court orders.

It said the lockdown ban on evictions did not relieve it of its duty to prevent illegal land invasions via swift counter-spoliations. It noted a recent and orchestrated upsurge in land invasions in the city, with more than 100 recorded since the start of July. These were often large (involving hundreds of people), well organised and accompanied by increasing violence.

While sympathising with the homeless, the city said land invasions threatened vital housing and infrastructure projects, allowed unlawful occupants to elbow aside law-abiding citizens waiting patiently on housing lists, and generated crowded shack settlements that were difficult to service. Invasions also eroded land values and deterred investments vital to growth and jobs.

Cape Town mayor Dan Plato pointed out that the city has already lost about 360ha (200 football fields) to land invasions over the last two years. “We could lose every open patch of land, (including) privately owned and state-owned land, along with public parks and sidewalks across the city,” he warned.

But judges Yasmin Meer and Rosheni Allie in effect reduced these issues to the “budgetary and many housing challenges the city faces”, saying such considerations could not outweigh the rights to shelter of “the poor, the homeless, the downtrodden, and the unemployed”.

However, on the court’s approach, land and housing could increasingly pass to those most willing to use force against existing occupiers — while the poor would be least able to resist this assault on the rule of law.

Reprinted from Business Day (emphasis by SD Law*)

Simon Dippenaar & Associates, Inc. is a firm of specialist eviction lawyers, based in Cape Town and now operating in Johannesburg and Durban, helping both landlords and tenants with the eviction process. Contact one of our eviction attorneys on 086 099 5146 or sdippenaar@sdlaw.co.za if you need advice on the eviction process or if you are facing unlawful eviction.

Further Reading: