My landlord refuses to refund my deposit, what do I do?

Tenants have long since been left to their own devices when it comes to repaying their deposits by
landlords. In today’s time, there is the Rental Housing Act, the Estate Agents Act and the Consumer
Protection Act that make things easy for the tenant, provided the tenant stays on the right side of
the line. It goes without saying that it is necessary to have a written lease in place before the tenant
moves into a new place, whether residential or business premises.

The need for a signed lease that clearly sets out the parties’ rights and obligations cannot be
overemphasized. It makes the road ahead so much easier for both parties and gives peace of mind
to parties if it is born when the tenant and landlord become at odds over anything during the rental

But, as is often the case, landlords either take a long time to repay the deposit, or they simply refuse
to or they suddenly have to cover all sorts of expenses incurred for repairing the rental property
before paying the remainder to the tenant.
In terms of the Rental Housing Act and the Consumer Protection Act, the landlord may not withhold
the deposit on unreasonable grounds, therefore, if no damage was noticed at the exit inspection and
the alleged damages are not discussed there and then and determined that the tenant have to pay
for it, then the landlord may not deduct the damages from the deposit, but unfortunately it happens
that landlords still do as they please, therefore, it is good to keep the above in mind.

If the landlord does not want to refund your deposit or if none of your objections are heard during
the rental period, you as a tenant may approach the Housing Tribunal for assistance. It is a tribunal and a process that you can do without the help of a lawyer, although it will always be a good
decision to ask for a lawyer’s help. The Housing Tribunal was set up to help resolve disputes between
landlords and tenants in a speedy and economical manner, although in most cases it is easier said
than done.

Each municipality or Metropole has its own housing tribunal which is responsible for the municipal
area of ​​that municipality. For further information on the various housing tribunals, visit and search for housing tribunals. It is also important to remember that the
respective housing tribunals can not only be contacted in the event of non-refund of a deposit, but
for any dispute concerning rental housing or ordinary housing.

For further inquiries contact Johann Hattingh at Stratlaw (Pty) Ltd. by or
012 346

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