SINCE Sowetan published a story about a tenant who was battling to recover her deposit from her landlord, Consumer Line has been inundated with complaints from people who claim this practice is prevalent in the property industry.
The landlords have their say too.
Some claim their tenants breach the terms of their contracts by not giving the required notice before vacating.
Other landlords say tenants owe rent or have left leased premises in a disgusting state of disrepair and without arranging a joint inspection of the dwelling - forgetting that the landlord has rights too.
l Daphney Mayindi's case was different.
She never took occupation of the leased property after paying her deposit and one month's rent.
This happened two years ago.
In May 2008 Mayindi entered into a lease agreement with Emperors Properties and paid the agreed deposit and one month's rent.
She was assisted by their agent, Tumi Rames, who took her around to show her properties that were available.
"The lease agreement I signed was for unit 64 Flamingo Place, Jagluiperd Street, The Wilds, Pretoria East. The lessor's name was indicated as Sharon Louw.
"Rames had advertised the property on the Private Property website.
"She took me to view an empty property and I could only look through the window because she said she did not have the keys," Mayindi said.
She said that was probably the first sign that she was dealing with an unscrupulous estate agent. But she ignored the warning.
"She took me to another unit on the same premises, which I viewed since the occupant was at home, and claimed it looked exactly like the one that I was supposed to occupy."
Mayindi claims she signed the contract immediately and transferred the funds after receiving the signed agreement with the lessor's signature on it.
The keys never came, though she made several promises to get them from the lessor.
Mayindi could not take occupation on June 1 as agreed.
"On May 29 she promised to bring the keys to my work before I knocked off.
"I waited for her until 8pm and after that she no longer took my calls," Mayindi said.
A day later Mayindi was told that the lessor had received a better offer as a result of which her contract was cancelled.
"I asked for my money back and was told I would get it at the end of the month since they had to get it from a trust account."
That, she reckons, is how she was defrauded.
Mayindi employed the services of an attorney, who later served Rames with a letter of demand, but Rames left her offices soon after that and nothing further was done about the matter.
When approached for comment Rames told Consumer Line she could not refund Mayindi her money because she did not know her whereabouts.
Rames immediately promised to make arrangements to pay her last Thursday. But when Consumer Line tried to give her Mayindi's bank details to facilitate payment she came up with the excuse that she had not yet reclaimed the money from the landlord.
l Floyd Sidandze took a lease agreement with Aengus Property Management in November last year and terminated the agreement three months later.
"I took up the lease in November 2008 and vacated at the end of February 2009," Sidandze said.
He vacated before the expiry of the lease agreement because his financial situation had deteriorated.
"I, however, read the agreement a couple of times before lodging the notice to vacate, and it explicitly stated that should I wish to vacate before expiry of the lease one month's notice was required. It made no mention of a stipulation that if that happened one forfeited the deposit," Sidandze said.
"After giving notice to vacate Aengus Property Management refused to pay back my deposit of R3000."
Sidandze said he would have sought legal assistance, but could not afford legal fees.
Hazel Benard of Aengus Property Management ignored our enquiry.