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  • Refund of deposit but insufficient notice given

    Hi,

    I'm a landlord that has just had a tenant leave my premises because his lease expired but his lease states that he has to give 2 months written notice prior to the termination date. In the last month he wasn't sure whether he was going to renew or not and keep leading me on until eventually giving notice only 2 days before contract expiry. He is now claiming back his deposit and was withholding the keys. His now sent me lawyers letter claiming there is no legal grounds to withhold his deposit. According to me he is in breach of his agreement by not giving 2 months notice and therefore liable for rent until such time i can get a tenant in place. Is this correct and how do i respond to his lawyers letter? Please help.

  • #2
    Re: Refund of deposit but insufficient notice given

    Originally posted by Sabzn View Post
    Hi,

    I'm a landlord that has just had a tenant leave my premises because his lease expired but his lease states that he has to give 2 months written notice prior to the termination date. In the last month he wasn't sure whether he was going to renew or not and keep leading me on until eventually giving notice only 2 days before contract expiry. He is now claiming back his deposit and was withholding the keys. His now sent me lawyers letter claiming there is no legal grounds to withhold his deposit. According to me he is in breach of his agreement by not giving 2 months notice and therefore liable for rent until such time i can get a tenant in place. Is this correct and how do i respond to his lawyers letter? Please help.
    Your tenant can be held liable for unpaid rent for the remaining days of the required notice period he failed to provide you, or until a new tenant can be found to replace them. Most judges find 1-2 months to be sufficient time to find a replacement.

    You don't have to listen to this lawyer. They are acting on behalf of their client, and do not represent you nor YOUR legal rights or interests.

    Hold onto the deposit while you make reasonable efforts to find a replacement tenant. Keep in mind your state's timeline for returning a security deposit or providing An accounting of how it was used - if that deadline approaches prior to you finding the replacement tenant, you'll need to send a letter to protect yourself from a claim that you withheld the fill security deposit in bad faith which can result in civil penalties foe some jurisdictions.
    "If it ain't in writing, it never happened."
    "A lack of planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part."
    "You can never make the same mistake twice, because the second time you make it, it's not a mistake, but a CHOICE."

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    • #3
      Re: Refund of deposit but insufficient notice given

      Originally posted by Sabzn View Post
      Hi,

      I'm a landlord that has just had a tenant leave my premises because his lease expired but his lease states that he has to give 2 months written notice prior to the termination date. In the last month he wasn't sure whether he was going to renew or not and keep leading me on until eventually giving notice only 2 days before contract expiry. He is now claiming back his deposit and was withholding the keys. His now sent me lawyers letter claiming there is no legal grounds to withhold his deposit. According to me he is in breach of his agreement by not giving 2 months notice and therefore liable for rent until such time i can get a tenant in place. Is this correct and how do i respond to his lawyers letter? Please help.
      First, without being privy to the language of the lease -- the precise language -- it is difficult for anyone to give a definitive answer.

      As long as the tenant keeps the keys, however, he is not considered to have turned over the property back to the landlord. On that ground alone,you well may be entitled to keep the deposit against rent he is accruing.

      Rental disputes are administered through the Rental Housing Act of 1999 which established tribunals in three of the nine provinces of South Africa, Western Cape, North West and Gauteng. If the property is in one of these provinces you would have the availability of a tribunal to settle any disputes. The dispute can be settled within 30 days through the tribunal.

      In the meantime, however, as long as the tenant hangs on to the keys, he has not surrendered the premises and rent is continuing to accrue -- you might reply to his lawyer. Or not reply at all. The rent will continue to mount in the interim.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Refund of deposit but insufficient notice given

        Make sure you follow any form and time limits on deposit notifications for your area.
        Due to a recent promotion, I should now be referred to as Major Obvious.

        I would not be trying to provide information and knowledge if I did not sympathize.

        Some days it is just not worth chewing through the restraints to face life.

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