A GAUTENG landlord has been accused of flouting the Rental Housing Act.
This happened when Break Even, a leasing company that operates from Jellicoe Avenue in Rosebank, said it could not refund Lerato Mokabo's deposit of R3700 because it had no record of such payment - a move the act regards as an unfair practice.
The Rental Housing Act is intended to protect unsophisticated tenants against unscrupulous landlords.
Last year Mokabo entered into a lease agreement with Break Even since it had property available to let.
She signed the contract for a period of one year and paid a deposit equivalent to three months rent into Break Even's account as it demanded. The act states that the equivalent of one month rent must be paid.
She was instructed to pay her deposit before she could occupy the property.
Mokabo said she faxed her proof of payment to Break Even and the company told the caretaker to release the keys of the apartment.
"I also had to show him proof of payment before he gave me the keys and this procedure was adhered to by all tenants."
On termination of her contract Mokabo gave Break Even a month's notice as required, but when she demanded her deposit back the company demanded proof of payment since it had no record of the transaction.
"I no longer had my deposit slip," she said. "Besides, I expected them to keep a record of my payment as an interest-bearing account."
She said she went to Nedbank, where Break Even held an account, to get a copy of her deposit slips.
The bank allegedly told her that it did not keep deposit slips for more than a year.
Break Even also ignored their caretaker, who tried to vouch for her.
"The caretaker told them there was no way he could have given me keys without my showing proof that I had paid, but Afzal Coovadia dismissed him as a senile old man," Mokabo said.
Consumer Line took up the matter with Coovadia, who said they never received Mokabo's deposit.
"If we do not have her record it means she has not paid," Coovadia said
He said they kept records but could not find any record showing her deposit.
Coovadia said he could only pick up a payment of R1850 Mokabo had made at the beginning of August.
He said they might have been flexible in her case and allowed her to take occupation though she had not paid a deposit.
Coovadia did not know why this important information was not recorded on her file.
He nevertheless offered to do a thorough investigation and get to the bottom of this complaint.
"Please tell her I am also not happy that she said I robbed her money," Coovadia said.