'Agent is misusing my rental money'

Thuli Zungu

Thuli Zungu

When a landlord approached Just Letting to lease her property a year ago she thought she would have peace of mind since she did not have the time to collect rent from her tenant.

But Pearl Rantsekeng did not know that her problems would actually come from the letting agent, whose services she had used before.

Rantsekeng's problem started in November when Just Letting only paid her rental money a month later.

She said the agent had denied receiving payment from the tenant when they had actually received it. The agent only paid the money after Rantsekeng staged a sit-in at their offices.

"I am now in arrears with my bond repayments," Rantsekeng said.

Just Letting also withheld her rental money again in January and February, claiming the tenant had not paid.

"I think they are using my money for their own benefit," she complained.

The letting agent did not pay Rantsekeng in April and May, forcing herto approach Consumer Line for help.

Rantsekeng said she decided to use the agent because of the good service she received three years ago.

"They offered me the best service then and that is why I went back to them. As a homeowner with many demands, I cannot handle the day-to-day running of my property," she said.

Jeanne Theart of Just Letting denied that they unreasonably withheld Rantsekeng's rental money.

Instead, she accused Rantsekeng of not conducting her bond repayments properly.

"We have paid her all that was due to her, and we can only pay once payment is received from the tenant."

When Just Letting was sent Rantsekeng's bank statements showing the payments made by the agent, Theart accused Rantsekeng and Consumer Line of doctoring these.

Asked if Rantsekeng was a fraudster who was capable of manipulating the banking system and claiming non-payment, Theart accused Consumer Line of taking sides.

She promised to prove her case against Consumer Line, but has since failed to do so since last month.

Theart has also avoided further calls from Consumer Line and failed to send proof of payment to contradict Rantsekeng's claims.

Just Letting's chief executive Hermie Voster also failed to respond to Rantsekeng's complaint after promising - 20 days ago - to resolve the matter within an hour.

"I will investigate and give you our comment tomorrow," said Voster .

He too accused landlords of demanding payments when tenants had not paid.

The Estate Agency Affairs Board has agreed to probe the claims. There are 189 similar complaints against this agent, and 30 more on Hello Peter.com, Consumer Line has learnt.