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May 2021 2nd edition

Assisting landlords and tenants

written by Albert Pule
The Rental Housing Tribunal helps landlords and tenants solve disputes.

A rental housing development in Alexandra. (Photo: BSA)Renting out a property, such as a backroom, flat or cottage can bring in extra income, but dealing with rowdy tenants can be a hassle and could cause frustration.

For problems between landlords and tenants, one of the first ports of call is the Rental Housing Tribunal.

The Rental Housing Tribunal is a government entity that falls under the provincial departments of human settlements or housing.

The tribunal, a dedicated body that can resolve disputes between tenants and landlords, is an alternative to costly court action.

Like many tribunals, the Rental Housing Tribunal has certain powers and its ruling is the same as that of a magistrate.

 The tribunal has the power to summon a landlord or tenant to a hearing or mediation, can order a landlord or tenant to comply with any part of the Rental Housing Act and can impose a fine or imprisonment on both the tenant or landlord.

It must be noted that the tribunal’s powers cover issues of landlords and tenants of residential buildings – it does not, for example, cover business or commercial properties.

The complaints can be about things like the non-payment of rentals, failure to refund a deposit, invasion of tenant’s privacy, unlawful seizure of tenant’s goods, discrimination by a landlord against a prospective tenant, receipt for payment not issued, lack of maintenance and repairs and illegal lockout or illegal disconnection of services.

The services rendered by the tribunal are free.

For more information, download the Rental Housing Tribunal fact sheet from the Department of Human Settlements website: www.dhs.gov.za/content/rental-housing-tribunal

Call the national office on 012 444 5212 for provincial tribunal information.