After a few years of renting the tenant decides it’s time to move on. On the last day of the lease the tenant supervises the loading of the truck, sweeps the floor on the way out, returns all the keys and remotes, and waves a nostalgic goodbye to the property as the gates close behind them. All that’s left is to wait for the deposit to be returned. As the days pass the tenant becomes more anxious. Has the landlord forgotten? Or waiting to roll-over the deposit from the new tenant? Or, worse, has no intention of paying the deposit at all? After several polite then not-so-polite reminders the tenant receives a one-liner response from the landlord: the deposit is being retained to cover damages to the carpet. The tenant’s eyes widen. Seriously?
Ask any tenant, “What’s the most stressful part of renting?” and they’ll tell you it’s waiting for their deposit to be repaid. The final box has been loaded, the lost back-door key has thankfully been found, the floor’s been swept, and all keys and remotes have been returned to the owner. All that’s left is for the landlord to refund the deposit. The tenant already emailed their bank details days earlier, in the vain hope that this would expedite the payment. And now we wait. And wait. And wait. The tenant sends friendly reminders, followed by a few not-so-friendly reminders, asking for their deposit to be returned. Eventually the landlord sends a curt response: the deposit is forfeited to cover the cost of replacing the carpeting. Sorry, whaaaat??
If there’s one thing that 2017 taught us, it’s beware of the disguised agreement. False agreements created to lend legitimacy to suspect accounting practices used to evade tax. Dodgy appointment terms signed to disguise the fronting nature of companies trying to obtain BEE certificates. Convoluted consulting agreements signed with politically-connected lead generators who miraculously secure lucrative public-sector contracts in return for disproportionate commission payments. In law, we call this a simulated transaction. Which is polite wording for “dirty rotten criminal activity”. Last year we saw many dirty rotten criminals being knocked from their perches, and 2018 should be no different.
Are you paying for an SABC TV licence, but don’t own a TV? You are not alone. There are many people who are technically eligible to cancel their TV licence and yet continue to pay the annual fee year after year. Reasons for this include:
- exasperation and finally giving up on the tedious cancellation process;
- fear of prosecution;
- not knowing how to go about cancelling their licence.
If you reside in South Africa and own a working television set, you are obliged by law to pay an annual licence fee to the SABC. Even if you never use your television. A television set is defined as any device designed or adapted to be capable of receiving a broadcast television signal, regardless whether it’s been relegated to a paperweight, dust-collector or computer monitor. But what if you no longer reside in South Africa, no longer own a television set or your television set no longer works? Well, that is where the challenge comes in. The SABC is quick to accept your licence fees and issue a licence – it is, after all, “the right thing to do”. But they’re not quite as efficient or forthcoming when it comes to cancelling a licence. Indeed, their website is remarkably helpful when it comes to applying and paying for your licence. Conversely, information about cancelling your licence is almost non-existent.