Of course, thoughtful and honest landlords deserve some credit, but the rude and greedy ones deserve punishment.
South Africa is occupied with a running battle against elitism, sexism and racism, now we must also be binded by the kind of red-tapism that robs some renters of their comfort (and we thought systems of oppression are left outside our “homes”?)
It is therefore restrictive that we help lessors settle their mortgages only to be bullied within their premises (in instances where extra costs of lawyers have to boot in, court visits that are time consuming and possessions being illegally withheld. So what can desperate average Joes living under manipulation of greedy problem-landlords react to harassment?
The encouragement to write about unfair treatment from a landlord came after realizing that numerous lessees are complaining about unfair practices in their places of rental and that they are uninformed of their rights, therefore tolerating what they receive to avoid further losses.
In not distancing myself, here is my story too:
In 2014 I moved into a building with two friends, unaware of its negative reviews. The awakening began a few months later when friend 1 woke me up from a nap to notify me that she was moving out. My bubble eyes were ready to pop! My sleepy voice was even struggling to come out after she stated that her belongings had mysteriously gone missing during a short doctor’s visit. My first thoughts were why so soon? A security guard was by the gate but surely we all knew that anything was possible, the real concern was that the caretaker was unsympathetic. The caretaker didn’t want any individual to move out without the 30 days’ notice he required, he was just unsupportive and rude.
I carry an idea that when you are working with people you communicate and take responsibility when necessary, a simple apology goes a long way. If you are wondering why a caretaker is playing man of the match here instead of the landlord, you are not alone yet I do believe that they are in agreement. The dismissal of concerns in the building sparked an interest which was quickly diminished by the idea of having to pack and hire movers, and still have to pay deposit at the new place. See, the admin people had stories whenever it was time to settle deposits (dodgy, right?), so I thought it would be a strain to pay deposit and rent while I wait for the previous deposit to be sent.
Fast forward to November 2015, after accepting days without electricity and dirty passages amongst other things, it was time to terminate my contract. I had mentioned to them that I would be moving out in 2015 but I guess it doesn’t really count as notice. So, three days before finding someone to move my stuff I notified the caretaker that I would be moving out in a couple of days. He argued (understandable, I guess) and I paid December rent regardless, just because I had not signed the notice prior. He confiscated my new fridge and promised to give it back end January with my deposit.
Today, he is denying everything and I’ll possibly be losing the fridge and deposit, whereas he is demanding January payment for the fridge he “kept” (I am not sleeping on the legal advice, this is against tenant protection laws).
In my distress, I have been communicating with several others in my building who are experiencing the same treatment. The fact that I was a non-complaining tenant equates to nothing now, I should have joined tenants’ meetings and exercised my rights. I am curious to know how successful they are in ill-treating the people making use of their services, maybe over tea, they pat each other’s backs in praise of who withheld the most possessions and how they’ll collectively scare the tenants off from taking legal action?
And it’s sad that there are many other landlords, together with their employees breaching tenancy rights and in other instances I imagine it to be far worse than my personal landlord problem. Have you ever had a horrific experience with a landlord? What did you do about it? If not, what would you do?
Of course, thoughtful and honest landlords deserve some credit, the world needs more of YOUs!