How long for rental deposit refund?

22 Feb 2012

A Property24 reader asks:

How long must I wait for my rental deposit to be refunded? My landlord says 60 days.

I have a problem with not being able to move into a house because the owner sold it (so he says) – I’ve signed the contract and paid R5 300 deposit. 

I was supposed to move in 1 Feb – he delayed the date till 1 March (due to renovations). 

Now he says I have to wait 60 days before I can get my deposit back. 

I just don’t know how I can get my money from him. 

Alan Levy, an attorney at Alan Levy Attorneys who specialises in evictions, rent recoupment and landlord/tenant law replies:

The scenario seems to be that you signed a lease agreement to rent a property and paid a deposit to the landlord.

You were supposed to take up your tenancy on 1 February 2012 but the landlord advised you that he has sold the property and that you have to wait 60 days before he will return your deposit to you.

In terms of the Rental Housing Act, the deposit (less any amounts that the tenant is liable for under the lease agreement) must be refunded to the tenant by the landlord not later than 14 days after restoration of the leased premises to the landlord.

Therefore the landlord needed to have refunded your deposit to you 14 days after he informed you that he had sold the property and that you would not be able to take up your tenancy of the property.

I suggest you inform that landlord of the above and make a final demand to the landlord for an immediate refund of your deposit. Failing the refund you can approach your local Rental Housing Tribunal to lay a complaint against the landlord and to obtain a refund of the deposit.

Readers may submit questions to Property24’s Guest Expert panel and/or comment below. We may not be able to answer all questions received, but all will be considered.

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