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Tribunal orders landlord to pay up

Ex-tenant happy with outcome at it shows ‘ubuntu’

Tribunal judgement makes landlord and former tenant happy.
Tribunal judgement makes landlord and former tenant happy.
Image: 123RF

A landlord has agreed to repay her former tenant’s deposit after a two-month stalemate that landed in the office of the Gauteng Rental Housing Tribunal. 

Last month, Sowetan Consumer wrote about tenant Kgomotso Molehane who had a dispute with her former landlord, Sarah Mudobi, who withheld her R6,000 deposit when she moved out of her flat in Malvern East, Johannesburg, in January.

Molehane had been living there for about six years.

Mudobi said that Molehane’s stay in her two-bedroom apartment had cost her some money in maintenance and other structural damages, which included repairs to the geyser and the gate motor, , among others. 

In a desperate attempt to get her deposit back, Molehane approached Sowetan Consumer and was directed to the tribunal where she lodged a formal complaint.

Her matter was then referred for mediation on February 28, where she and Mudobi presented their cases before a mediator.

Their case was settled within hours after Mudobi conceded to not having been playing by the book and Molehane agreed to accept a R3,000 settlement from her. 

“During mediation, the respondent agreed to refund the outstanding monies to Molehane. A settlement agreement was then drawn that all monies owed to the complainant would be refunded at a specified date,” said Keletso Makeng, spokesperson of the tribunal.

Makeng said sanctions could be imposed should Mudobi not honour the tribunal’s order, which may also include court costs. . 

“If she fails to pay the settlement amount, the court may issue an order directing a sheriff to arrest Mudobi and to bring her before a court in order to conduct a financial enquiry under section 65 (6) of the Magistrate Courts Act.

“If convicted , a fine or imprisonment for a period not exceeding three months under section 65A (9) of the Act can be imposed. Action by Molehane to enforce the settlement agreement can only happen if Mudobu fails to honour the agreement,” said Makeng.

Molehane said Mudobi paid the R3,000 on the same day of the hearing. 

“She did not have anything concrete to put on the table and did not have the relevant documents needed to argue her case. I felt sorry for her because I know her situation. I could have easily fought to get my entire money back but I was happy to settle for half of it. I’m happy with the outcome because it was based on ubuntu and I put myself in her position,” said Molehane. 

She also thanked Sowetan Consumer for helping her.

“I’ve learnt a lot from this situation because I didn’t even know that there was a tribunal office that could assist me to get my money back. Before I contacted Sowetan Consumer, I was at my wits’ end and desperate. It will also help other tenants to keep all their receipts and records in place because one will never know when they would need them,” said Molehane. 

The Gauteng Rental Housing Tribunal can be reached at 011 630 5035 or at betty.kgobe@gauteng.gov.za, zain.mclaren@gauteng.gov.za or keletso.makeng@gauteng.gov.za

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