Current Landlord Epidemic - Non-Working Oven and Disrespect of Time


In October 2019, last year, after staying at our apartment for almost 8 years, the rental agent told us that they want to sell our unit.

So after hunting, we managed to find one that we liked.
We met the new landlord at the intended place and he said that he hadn't seen the place in 3 years while the current tenants had been living here.

We told him that we wanted to give our current landlords a calendar months notice (even though they basically wanted to kick us out by just announcing that they're intending on selling our unit.)

Anyway, so the new landlord said that it's perfect because the current tenants were leaving at the end of October 2019, and we were only going to occupy in December 2019 - so they had the full month of November 2019 to sort out the place as they said that they would.

I even paid our deposit for the new place at the end of October 2019.
They created a WhatsApp group in November 2019 so that there would be easy communication.

Before moving in, there was an agreement that the place would be completely fixed up and that they would allow us to bring through our stuff to be stored in the garage - which was away from the unit.

It was towards the end of November 2019 and I made sure that the full amount of rent for December 2019 was paid.

Once we've finished the handover of the old unit on 30 November 2019, we proceeded to the new place and did a handover of the keys there.
We then went through the place and made mention of a few things that we noticed and they also mentioned that the Oven was not working.

They blamed the previous tenants furiously throughout the entire time the tenants vacated the premise and when something was mentioned that it was not working.
They assured us that they will get the Oven fixed in the New Year, so they can check for specials.

We emailed them a snag list in December 2019 as per routine (as we're no stranger to renting) and this time, we thought we'll be nice and divide the snag list into categories: Needs Attention, Currently Monitoring and For Record Purposes.
With this structure in mind, we showed them that the Oven really needed to be attended to as well as a few other things, and the other things had been recorded so that in the event of us leaving, they were aware that those things were an issue.

I am always ahead of the payments - making sure that each new month's rent payment is always made on the last day of the previous month. My husband and I are self-employed (we mentioned this to them) so we do not get a pay day like everyone else, nor are we guaranteed an income every month, but I always make sure that our rent for the new month is paid in full on the last day of the current month and the electricity for the month that we used, is paid in full.

With regards to the electricity, in the first month before the end of the month, the landlord sent us the electricity bill and said that the electricity is read on the 15th of every month - so in actual fact, we've been paying more than the amount due as we make sure that we pay for the full month used (so that we can pay it together with the new month's rent).

Anyway, in the first month, upon sending us the electricity bill, the reading was extremely high - way more than we've ever used and the amount was definitely more than we've ever had to pay in a month!

We used to have a prepaid meter in our old unit, so we've always monitored how much we used, how much we paid and with that - made sure not to over-use electricity.

Surely this doesn't go out the door once we move in to another place!
So we queried it with the landlord and he said that the company does the readings for the complex and gave a few reasons why it would be high. He said we could check with the security of the complex to find the electricity box and monitor the readings - but he and his wife mentioned that the previous tenants didn't "complain" about their electricity usage. (Although they complained completely about how the previous tenants left the unit and damaged the unit).

So we checked the readings and sure enough, the reading on the bill was incorrect!

We sent the landlord the proof of reading and payment for the electricity and they said that they will query it with the electricity readings company.
We gave them, and the electricity company the benefit of the doubt and said, that maybe they mistook the 1 for a 7 ...

Thereafter, we've been monitoring the readings and as mentioned, always make sure that the full month is paid with the new month's rent on the last day of the current month.

Every month, just before it's time to pay the rent, they tell us that they will come through to fix something (something aesthetic and never the oven).

They communicate the date and time with us on this WhatsApp group at the last minute and we're supposed to stop everything to be at home so that the "guy" coming to fix something can come through.

But when we've moved things around to make sure that we're available, half an hour After the appointed time, the landlord's wife sends a message on the group to say that "the guy" won't be able to make it. Furious that we missed a days work, we let it slide.

But then it keeps happening where they do not respect our time or "their guy" that they call (who actually happens to be someone working in the complex) does not come at the appointed time.

I eventually reached boiling point in mid-February and sent them a message on their WhatsApp group explaining that they can't keep disrespecting our time as unlike them and others who have proper jobs and get paid a salary every month whether they at work or not, our time is actually money. If we don't go out to do work or don't put in the work, we won't get an income.

The landlord decides that he's the one who's upset and says that the "guy" will come through at a certain day and we need to make sure we will be there.
Once again, this man doesn't think that either of them do anything wrong and cannot simply understand the frustration of the events...

My husband then decides to send them a message and an email for record purposes detailing only the facts.
A day later, the landlord replies and says noted.

I should also make mention that they keep reading our messages, but never respond, or respond a few days later (after reading it).

Anyway, in this "facts" message sent to them, my husband made mention of the fact that we did not nag them to fix anything. They kept saying that they will or that they would bring through someone (who eventually would not attend and this is the reason for our annoyance - the lack of respect for our time). He also mentioned that they have not gotten back to us with regards to the incorrect reading (read: intending to Rip Us OFF!) on the first month, but we've never pressured them about it.

They had the entire month of November 2019 to fix the most important thing, which was the oven, but they didn't. It is now almost April 2020 (almost 5 months that we've been living here) and the oven is not fixed and we've never rushed them, because they kept saying that they will.

On Saturday 21 March 2020, during the week of isolation, we had a feeling that the lockdown would be announced, so we sent them a message on their group to say that they should try and get it sorted out as if there is a lockdown, we will not be allowed to go out and will need to make use of our oven to cook, bake, roast and most importantly bake bread, since we don't want to go out unnecessarily.

The landlord sends a message on Sunday to respond that our request is noted.

Sure enough, Monday (23 March 2020) evening, a lockdown for our country is announced and it will take effect on Thursday 26 March 2020 23:59.

By Wednesday 25 March 2020, we had not received any communication. We sent them a follow up message to which they both had received And Read the message, yet no response from them.

On Thursday 26 March 2020, I sent through a message to the rental agent who advertised for this place (he was only used to advertise and get tenants for this landlord, but the managing was to be done by the landlord himself) to ask for advise and that the landlord had not responded. The rental agent then said that he will contact this landlord as it's ridiculous to let someone stay in a unit without a working oven!

At 6pm on Thursday 26 March 2020, the last few hours before lockdown, the landlord's wife calls on my husband's phone to ask if we were at home (!? Covid-19 pandemic and our country announced an isolation from 16 March 2020 as the virus was spreading... So anyone in their right mind would have been at home) and said that the landlord will be there at our unit shortly, he is just fetching someone from CTM.
At 6:30pm the landlord and an electrician arrive to take a look at the oven. The electrician mentions to the landlord that he does not have a certain tool with him as the landlord "caught him by surprise" - his words used to indicate that the landlord had only looked for this guy and called him at that moment (which means that the landlord only decided to do something once the rental agent called him to possibly tell him that if he doesn't do anything, it is our rental rights to get things fixed ourselves and deduct it from our rent that we pay).

Of course, the country would be on lockdown from that night, so nothing would be open for the electrician to get the parts needed to fix our oven, but the sheer audacity of this landlord to use the very last second to get someone in, is ridiculous!!!

Thereafter, on Saturday 28 March 2020, the landlord sends a message to say that the electrician will not be able to get a part as (and of course we all knew this) the country is in lockdown and he could get arrested for leaving his premises.

The way he worded it, annoyed me as once again, he did not think that he did anything wrong and he constantly makes it seem as if he's doing us a favour and furthermore, we've been extremely accommodating, but he always tends to be condescending.

My husband has been feeling extremely ill and so have I, and definitely not in the mood to respond to things that were obvious without being rude about it, so I did not want to go into the message until I felt better. This morning, I receive the message in the group where the landlord asks us to acknowledge his message... Honestly, why do we have to acknowledge and keep being the better people and giving people the benefit of the doubt, when the same treatment isn't awarded to us??

I should mention that all around the world, landlords and landladys have been extremely generous and actually just doing a good HUMAN act by realising that since we're all on a lockdown and most especially to those who are self-employed (like us) they've made arrangements for rents to be completely not paid or even halved for especially the two months of April and May 2020 - yet after making sure everything is paid on time and in full, and being considerate, this landlord cannot think to even chat to us about decreasing our rents, at least for these two months and of course, the oven and many other things, are still not working.
I'm not sure if we look stupid, or we look inexperienced in life matters... But somehow people always seem to test their boundaries with us. I'm honestly extremely tired of always having to fight for my rights and respect and fight to not be treated like shit.

N.P is an award-winning Digital Media, Marketing, and Advertising Company est. 2015, is a Member of the Independent Media Association of South Africa (IMASA), and Brand South Africa's Play Your Part Ambassadors, with a global reach of over 10 million

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 #iloveza❤️🇿🇦 #AfterFajrGrind Accolades:

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