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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 – 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.

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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

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Residents upset after Hangberg ruling

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

‘Very upset’ residents called Plato after Hangberg ruling, he tells Parliament

Reprinted from News 24 by Jan Gerber

Dan Plato. (Netwerk24)

Dan Plato. (Netwerk24)
  • Cape Town Mayor Dan Plato said he received many calls from disgruntled residents after the Western Cape High Court ordered the City to rebuild a house in Hangberg which it had demolished.
  • He said one house was preventing a development on the site, which residents were looking forward to.
  • The mayor said the City must protect its land, otherwise it won’t be able to build proper houses.

Cape Town Mayor Dan Plato said he received many calls from Hangberg residents who were “very upset” about a High Court ruling ordering the City to rebuild a house it had demolished in the area.Plato and his team were briefing the Portfolio Committee on Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs on the City’s human settlements policy.

In the court ruling, Judge Gayaat Salie-Hlophe ordered the City to immediately rebuild Ginola Phillips’ demolished house to the same size and dimensions it was, describing the City’s conduct as “deplorable, grotesque and without care for human dignity”.

News24 reported that the City was considering its options because the order to rebuild the single illegal Wendy house jeopardised the construction of a “valuable community facility”, which included a five-a-side soccer pitch.

A group called the Community of Hangberg, brought the application as the first applicant, with Phillips as the second, in response to the City of Cape Town’s dismantling of Phillips’ home in Hangberg, Hout Bay, twice in June. The City of Cape Town was the first respondent and Plato was the second.

“Mayor, I want to ask you, how do you feel after losing the court case?” EFF MP Hlengiwe Mkhaliphi asked.

“Most of the time, you run to the court, most of the time you win. This time you lost.”

She said they knew very well that the poorest of the poor couldn’t afford to defend themselves in court.

“Yes, it was negative for the City,” Plato responded. He added that they offered Phillips alternative sites on two occasions, but that he refused.

The City of Cape Town has been ordered by the High Court to rebuild a man’s small wendy-house home – within 48 hours. But in response, the City has advised it is “considering its options regarding the judgment”.

He told the committee he received lots of calls from residents “very upset” with the ruling because they were looking forward to the services that would have been provided through the City’s use of the site.

One house was stopping the development of the site, he pointed out.

“Many people abuse the lockdown measures,” he said. “They abuse the regulations for their own interests.”

Mkhaliphi also asked if he tried to contact Bulelani Qolani, a man who was dragged out of his house naked by City law enforcement officials in Khayelitsha.

Plato said he tried to and asked community organisations in Khayelitsha to help him track the man down.

“But I got the sense he doesn’t want to talk to me,” Plato said.

“We are not heartless,” Plato said.

“We are not excited about evictions.”

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 attorneys on 086 099 5146 or if you need advice on the eviction process or if you are facing unlawful eviction.

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Court declares Hangberg eviction unlawful

By | Eviction news, Eviction notice, Eviction orders, Evictions, Homeless, Miscellaneous


Reprinted from EWN by Jarita Kassen

On Wednesday morning, the Western Cape High Court ruled that the city’s conduct during an eviction in Hangberg was unlawful.

CAPE TOWN – Mayor Dan Plato is disappointed by a High Court ruling declaring the municipality’s conduct during an eviction in Hangberg as unlawful and unconstitutional.

Law enforcement officers tore down a structure there last month.

The court on Wednesday ordered the city to rebuild it within 48 hours.

Plato said rebuilding the illegally erected structure would halt the development of a community recreational centre.

“Despite the city offering two alternative sites for the structure to be built and making it clear that notice had been given at the time not to erect the illegal structure, the judge still ruled in favour of the occupant of the illegally-erected structure.”

Human Settlements Minister Lindiwe Sisulu has welcomed the judgment.

Her spokesperson Yonela Diko: “The state will do everything to enforce the court order and ensure that the City of Cape Town complies. As the court said, such evictions are in violation of Section 36 (i) of alert level three regulations in terms of Section 27 (ii) of the Disaster Management Act of 2002.”

*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 attorneys on 086 099 5146 or if you need advice on the eviction process or want to know the cost of eviction.

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