Diabetic grounded

A FLORIDA diabetic patient claims his life is threatened since his landlord has unfairly disconnected his electricity.

The Housing Rental Act provides that it is an unfair business practice for a landlord to willfully or intentionally interfere with your undisturbed enjoyment of the premises you lease according to the contract.

It is also unfair for a landlord to cut off hot water, power, gas, elevator service or refrigeration service where the landlord is required by the terms of your tenancy agreement to provide these services.

Gregory Jacobs of Florida Flats is without lights and he is now barred from parking his car in the bay allocated to him four years ago when he signed up with his landlord.

Last Thursday, after complaining to Consumer Line, his landlord proceeded to switch off hot water.

Jacobs problem started in 2008 when he felt ill and was later diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes.

This affected his eyes and kidneys. His eyes were later operated on, leaving him semi blind, his wife said.

"I also need a kidney transplant," Jacobs said.

His eye medication has to be refrigerated but is now kept in the cupboard since their electricity has been cut off.

The Jacobses said they had paid their rent without fail, and only fell into arrears now that her husband was ill and no longer working.

Desiree, a mother of three and sole breadwinner, said she later made arrangements with the body corporate to pay R1 500 towards her arrears and signed that agreement.

But later when she was at work, the body corporate called and ordered her husband to sign another agreement. To date they have not been given a copy thereof despite numerous request.

"Subsequently, they clamped the wheels of my car and left a note that i should see the body corporate chairperson. He only unclamped them after I told him he was preventing my husband from going to his medical check-up," Desiree said.

Their gate remote control was also deactivated, making it impossible to gain entry, they said.

Jacobs said they told them they did not care about the doctor's orders, whether her husband was later hospitalised or died.

"This was after I had produced a doctor's letter that stated he was on life support and that the electricity should not be cut off because his medication must be refrigerated," Desiree said.

She paid the agreed amount, but was later told to pay the full arrears amount or half of it.

"They ignored a letter of demand from Wits Law Clinic reminding them of the agreement we made. It also urged them to re-connect the electricity since it was unlawful to disturb her right to undisturbed possession of the property."

But Eastlake Body Corporate chairperson Esai Nadasen responded to the Jacobses by refusing to reconnect their electricity.

He also acknowledged receipt of their payment as agreed. He told them he was in no position to negotiate any further agreement and referred them to their attorneys.

This was after they accepted her arrangement, she said.

While her husband was hospitalised last week, she had to limp her way back to her flat from the complex where she parks her car. Her children continue to take a cold bath every morning, she said.

Nadasen declined to comment, referring Consumer Line to her attorney, Maralias Leyds of Richard Reed.

Leyds said they would not comment. Later she said there was a case similar to this which Consumer Line should acquaint itself with.

When asked if they intend relying on its precedent for their action she declined to comment.

She undertook to forward its citation before the close of office last Wednesday, but never did.

The Housing Rental Tribunal has agreed to look into the Jacob's complaint.