My tenant of four years moved out a month ago. I paid him his deposit within days after he moved out. He says I short-changed him and is asking me to pay interest on the money. The deposit was a large chunk of cash, so I can understand why he’d be trying his luck. But I just want to find out whether he has any leg to stand on. I’ve never paid a tenant interest before.
During your personal and professional life you are bound to enter into numerous legal agreements. But an often-overlooked question when you enter into an agreement is: when and how can you get out of the agreement? This generally depends on what was agreed in the terms and conditions of the contract.
Fixed-term: an agreement will end when the contract says it will end. If the agreement was only intended to last for a few months and expressly states that it will end on a pre-determined date, then the agreement will end on that date. Some agreements provide for a renewal. This renewal can be automatic, in which case you would need to notify the other party if you would rather the agreement terminates (and not renew). Or the renewal can be at the option of one or the other party, in which event you would have to notify the other party if you don’t want the agreement to terminate (and do want it to renew).
How effective is a verbal agreement? Is it binding? A lot of businessmen and women enter into verbal contracts without being entirely sure whether they’re valid, or how effective the contract is.
In general, South African law recognises verbal agreements. There are some exceptions to this. For example, a sale of property needs to be in writing, as does an ante-nuptial agreement. But unless there’s a statutory provision that says otherwise, oral agreements are, in theory, just as binding as written ones. In theory. The problem is that verbal agreements come with a lot of, well, problems.
My company has been struggling to stay above water in this rough economic climate, and was eventually put into business rescue. We owe one of our main suppliers a substantial amount of money. The supplier was on the verge of starting a law suit against us when the business rescue happened. Now he is demanding that I pay the debt personally, and is threatening to sue me instead, if I don’t pay up. I signed a personal suretyship when my company applied for the credit. Is this suretyship still valid?
After endless weekends searching for that perfect property, the tenant finally heaves a sigh of relief. Found it! And it’s perfect! The forms are signed, the deposit and first month’s deposit is paid, the removal van is booked. Let the settling in begin.
But have you ever wondered what the landlord is planning on doing with that deposit? Here’s the thing: the deposit doesn’t belong to the landlord. It is held by the landlord as a form of security, in case the tenant damages the property or fails to pay their rent or electricity. But unless or until such time as the tenant steps out of line, the landlord has no right to the money. This is generally not really thought about until the lease ends. Which is when the tenant starts clamouring for their money back. And this is when the landlord often scurries to find another tenant, so that they can use the new tenant’s deposit to pay back the old tenant’s deposit. Because the old tenant’s deposit was spent within days after it was paid over.
Well, 2018 has certainly been an eventful year! And from the looks of things, 2019 looks to be equally interesting. As the year draws to a close, now is a good time to pause, reflect, and give thanks for all that we have to be grateful for. And we truly treasure our subscribers, supporters and loyal fans! Thank you for giving us the opportunity to serve you. Our heartfelt gratitude goes to all our readers and customers, without whom our business could not exist. We thank you for all the support and encouragement that we continue to receive.
Is a verbal agreement binding? I agreed to paint a mural in a guy’s reception area. When I finished he refused to pay me what we had agreed. He denied our agreement, and said that even if there was an agreement it wasn’t binding because it wasn’t written. He then claimed that I had donated my time as a marketing exercise! I’m a struggling artist, and this job took me 3 days!
My tenant moved out five days ago and is now getting all shirty about getting her deposit back. The problem is, she’s agreed to pay for a large window that her son cracked with a cricket ball – out of the deposit. My handyman is snowed under at the moment. He has ordered the glass but will only be repairing the window next week. Is there any deadline by which I have to repay her deposit, or can I wait until my handyman has finished the job?
There’s a familiar struggle that plays out at the end of every lease. It revolves around the repayment of the deposit. Unsurprisingly, the tenant is keen on getting their deposit back pronto. But the landlord is invariably not so keen to part with the cash. The distrust on both sides is not entirely without justification.
There are many tenants who have been caught out by the games that landlords are wont to play with their deposit. On the final day of the lease the tenant dutifully removes the last moving box, sweeps the last dust particle, locks the door on the pristine property and returns the keys. Only to find themselves being held liable for paying a painter, carpet-cleaner, handyman, gardener, cleaner. For good measure the tenant may even find themselves paying for the carpets to be replaced and fixtures to be updated. All out of their hard-earned deposit.
My tenant of 3 years moved out two weeks ago and has been hounding me to repay her deposit. The problem is, I went to check on the property a few days after she moved out and found it in a state! Between my gardening costs, cleaning costs and handyman expenses I’ve had to outlay more than the amount of the deposit to get the property ready for a new tenant. How do I tell her she’s not getting her deposit back?