select
|

The importance of rental deposits for landlords and tenants

Landlords often ask for one and a half, two or more months rental to be paid as a deposit upfront before tenants take occupation.

These deposits safeguard landlords against breaches in the lease agreement, damage to property, rent shortfalls and the non-payment of utilities.

In the initial negotiation phases it is absolutely essential that the tenant and landlord (or his agent) inspect the property together, says Johann van der Merwe of Rawson's Somerset West franchise, and draw up a comprehensive lease agreement which includes a complete inventory of every item in the property and a written and photographic record of the condition of all aspects of the property.

Fairly often, says van der Merwe, the tenant is so relieved and pleased to have found a suitable home that he skips through this initial inspection without noticing defects to the premises. At the end of the lease he may well then find himself being held responsible for these but has no proof that they were already a problem when he moved in. Difficulties of this kind are, however, avoided if the lease agreement and inventory are thoroughly worked through.

In this initial stage, the tenant, having signed the lease, will be asked to pay the deposit mentioned above. What is vitally important here, says van der Merwe, is that this must be paid into an attorney's/third party?s trust account not into the landlord?s or any other cheque, savings or trust account. Furthermore, great care should be taken to ensure that the details of this account to which the money is being paid are exactly as specified by the attorney.'

It is also important, says van der Merwe, that the deposit should earn interest and that this is paid to the tenant when it is refunded. It is, he says, illegal (as has happened occasionally) to 'borrow' money from trust accounts for other purposes, even though the plan is to fully refund it on time.'

The precautions outlined above, says van der Merwe, are especially necessary as there is such a fine line between normal wear and tear and outright damage. The condition of floors, carpets, cupboards, lighting, internal walls (into which picture hanging nails may have been driven) and, not least, the garden may in the landlord's opinion be so unsatisfactory that he feels entitled to withhold part of the deposit. In South African law, however, disputes should be settled and the money returned within 14 days of the premises being vacated.


  Comment on this Article

  Please login to post comments

Post to my facebook wall
  
2000
Characters remaining


    Latest Property News
    • 18 Jan 2018
      The Southern Suburbs make up some of the most popular residential areas in Cape Town, comprising charming groups of suburbs which lie to the south-east of the slopes of Table Mountain. It is seen as the city's most expensive residential neighbourhoods with a choice of various private schools, upmarket eateries, wine estates, beautiful homes and trendy apartments.
    • 18 Jan 2018
      New year, new goals! If you’ve resolved to purchase your first property in 2018, then this 6-step guide from the Rawson Property Group is a must-read. It will help you navigate and simplify what is often be seen as a confusing process of buying your first home – right from the house-hunt to the house-warming.
    • 17 Jan 2018
      While the current property market may still favour buyers, it doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t be well prepared before putting in an offer to purchase.
    • 17 Jan 2018
      Lightstone lists Blair Atholl as the most expensive suburb with an average house price of R11.2 million, followed by Westcliff (R10.5 million), Dunkeld (R9.3 million), Sandhurst (R9.1 million) and Inanda (R7.2 million).
    • 17 Jan 2018
      As it currently stands, there are four main ways in which a home can be bought in South Africa, says Adrian Goslett, Regional Director and CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa, who adds that deciding in which legal entity to purchase the property is not a decision that should be entered into lightly, as each has its pros and cons.
    • 16 Jan 2018
      The start of the new year is symbolic of new beginnings. A good time to take stock of one’s possessions as well as how necessary they actually are. However, seeing as the process may appear daunting – a plan goes a long way.
    • 16 Jan 2018
      The Western Cape is still in the throes of a severe drought and many households have to adjust the way they use and save water. It is a little more complicated in sectional title schemes, however, as it is not that easy to implement grey water systems for multiple users and it is also difficult to monitor water usage accurately if there are no separate water meters
    • 15 Jan 2018
      In ideal rental situations, when a lease is signed the tenant will stay for the full duration of his lease without any complications and the landlord will uphold his obligations, creating a win-win situation for tenant and landlord.
        
    X
    Subscribe to the MyProperty Newsletter

    Name  
    Last Name  
    Email Address  
    Email Frequency
    select
    X
    Share this Page

       
    For Sale Property
    Rental Property
    More Options
    About
    Connect with us
    FEEDBACK