Category Archives: Law Quest Blogs

rental deposit

Paying interest on a tenant’s rental deposit

My tenant of four years moved out a month ago. I paid him his deposit within days after he moved out. He says I short-changed him and is asking me to pay interest on the money. The deposit was a large chunk of cash, so I can understand why he’d be trying his luck. But I just want to find out whether he has any leg to stand on. I’ve never paid a tenant interest before.

personal suretyship & business rescue

Personal suretyship

My company has been struggling to stay above water in this rough economic climate, and was eventually put into business rescue. We owe one of our main suppliers a substantial amount of money. The supplier was on the verge of starting a law suit against us when the business rescue happened. Now he is demanding that I pay the debt personally, and is threatening to sue me instead, if I don’t pay up. I signed a personal suretyship when my company applied for the credit. Is this suretyship still valid?     

verbal agreement

Verbal agreements

Is a verbal agreement binding? I agreed to paint a mural in a guy’s reception area. When I finished he refused to pay me what we had agreed. He denied our agreement, and said that even if there was an agreement it wasn’t binding because it wasn’t written. He then claimed that I had donated my time as a marketing exercise! I’m a struggling artist, and this job took me 3 days!    

rental deposit

Repaying the rental deposit

My tenant moved out five days ago and is now getting all shirty about getting her deposit back. The problem is, she’s agreed to pay for a large window that her son cracked with a cricket ball – out of the deposit. My handyman is snowed under at the moment. He has ordered the glass but will only be repairing the window next week. Is there any deadline by which I have to repay her deposit, or can I wait until my handyman has finished the job?

rental deposit

Rental deposit

My tenant of 3 years moved out two weeks ago and has been hounding me to repay her deposit. The problem is, I went to check on the property a few days after she moved out and found it in a state! Between my gardening costs, cleaning costs and handyman expenses I’ve had to outlay more than the amount of the deposit to get the property ready for a new tenant. How do I tell her she’s not getting her deposit back?   



I am a minority shareholder in a company. A few years ago the company took out a loan and all the shareholders were practically forced to sign personal suretyships with the bank. I wasn’t happy with this because my share of the company is so small. Lately the company has gone through a dip in sales, and landed up missing a couple of payments to the bank. I’ve just received a summons from the bank to pay them the money. But they’re claiming the full amount. Surely I should only be liable for 5% of the loan, because I only own 5% of the company? 

Intellectual Property

I own two companies. The one company owns all the intellectual property in a whole lot of training books and material that I’ve developed over the years. Through my other company, I sold some software licenses to a guy who’s a motivational speaker. He wanted to make extra money on the side by selling some of my books at his speaking events, so I added the books onto his order. He paid me for the software but not the books, and now refuses to answer my calls. I want to send him a letter of demand. Which company’s letterhead should I use?  

Dismissal without a Disciplinary

I caught a staff member stealing money from the till. I caught him red-handed and told him that I won’t lay criminal charges against him but he’s fired and must leave immediately. He got a bit of a fright and left the shop immediately. The next day he came back and told me that he wants severance pay or else he’s going to the CCMA. Does he have a leg to stand on? I mean, it was blatant theft!     

Building Contractor

Building Contractors

Three years ago I did some building work as a subcontractor for a sizable building company. The work I did was a small component of a larger business complex. Every time I asked the building company for payment they said that they’ll pay me when their client pays them. This was one of those projects where anything that could go wrong did, so the project went way over time and budget. When it was finally finished, last year, I sent them a letter asking for payment. They sent a letter back apologising for the delay, explaining that the payment delay was because of unexpected costs in their project, but that they’re committed to paying it, and would I accept monthly payments. Of course, I said yes – I was just happy to finally see some progress with the payment. But after that, I got nothing but excuses. Last week I sent them a strong letter saying that if they didn’t pay then the next communication would be from my lawyers. They sent me an email saying go for it – I’ve got nothing on them – my claim has expired because it’s more than three years old. Is this true?  

Mental Health

Mental Health

There has been so much publicity about mental health recently, and this got me thinking: can you please draft a clause that I can use in my employment contracts? I want to be able to send my staff to get a mental health check done if I feel it necessary. If they refuse then I want to be able to discipline them for refusing to follow instructions. And if the medical assessment warrants it I need to be able to dismiss employees on the basis of their medical illness.