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Landlord locks ‘decent’ tenants out in the cold

My Money
We have been renting a two-bedroom unit at the William in Fourways for the past 36 months and have never skipped a month’s rent. We have a prepaid electricity meter in the unit.

The landlord is a director of Balwin Properties and the agents work for the company. On commencement of the first, 18-month lease, we stipulated that we are on a commission basis only and requested that we be given a grace period until the seventh of each month. At times the commission only comes in between the 5th and the 10th of the month but we always paid rent.

In the three years, we have only been late with payment six times, yet each time they’ve cut our prepaid electricity and Balwin and the “landlord”, who apparently gives them the instruction, refuses to switch it on until we have made payment.

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Once we had to live for 14 days with no electricity in the middle of winter. We had to throw away our frozen foodstuff. They also charged us an extra R1000 if we paid late.

Recently, when we arrived home after work, we were unable to enter the unit because the landlord had ordered the locks to be changed.

My wife had chronic medication in the apartment which she needed. We had to drive to a family member to be put up for the night.

They seem to have an attitude that they are above the law.

Wally Goossens

Georgie: Inasmuch as the tenant is required to pay rent on time, as per the contract, is against the law for the landord to disconnect services or lock tenants out of the property. Balwin refused to comment on the matter, saying it’s a private rental but the landlord is a company director and his staff are involved. I gave them ample time to respond to my queries, but they refused.

CAPE ARGUS

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