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How do I prove my landlord used my deposit to repair claimed damages?

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I moved out of our rented home at the end of October and I’m concerned that I’m not going to get my deposit back; one of my neighbours who knows my landlord told me “he does not pay back deposits”. She told me that he deducted three previous tenants’ deposits for an old iron burn in one of the bedroom’s carpets which he never replaced – the tenants probably never listed it as a fault when they moved in. Luckily we did.

My question is what recourse do I have when he says I’m only getting X% of my deposit back? Am I entitled to invoices from service providers and over and above this am I entitled to personally inspect and confirm that the repairs/replacements he was invoiced for were actually effected? – Thumi


Hi Thumi, refunding of deposits is always a contentious issue. You are entitled to see the invoices, and confirm that the landlord obtained more than one and is not simply raising a figure with no basis. It would not be required that the landlord accept the lowest quote; he has to ensure that the repairs are to a certain standard. The tenant does not have the right to inspect the repairs as this is the landlord’s right and obligation with regards to, and for the benefit of, the next tenant that will be taking occupation.

Got a burning question? Email david@hometimes.co.za and we’ll be sure to assist you

Cilna Steyn, MD at SSLR Inc.

Cilna Steyn, MD at SSLR Inc.

Answered by Cilna Steyn, attorney and director of SSLR Inc

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David A Steynberg, managing editor and director of HomeTimes, has more than 10 years of experience as both a journalist and editor, having headed up Business Day’s HomeFront supplement, SAPOA’s range of four printed titles, digimags Asset in Africa and the South African Planning Institute’s official title, Planning Africa, as well as B2B titles, Building Africa and Water, Sewage & Effluent magazines. He began his career at Farmer’s Weekly magazine before moving on to People Magazine where he was awarded two Excellence Awards for Best Real Life feature as well as Writer of the Year runner-up. He is also a past fellow of the International Women’s Media Foundation.

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