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LANDLORD AND TENANT DISPUTES

HOW TO AVOID LITIGATION: THE RENTAL HOUSING TRIBUNAL

 

 

A quick search of Property 24 reveals 8 518 properties available for rent between Camps Bay and Claremont of which 6 516 are apartments and flats. As interest rates have reached an historic low, the property market and the mortgage originators are seeing increased interest from the buy-to-let sector. Ooba has cited research showing that up to 40% of millennials have little to no interest in home ownership but would prefer the flexibility of home rental with very specific requirements regarding location, smart technology and green/energy efficiency. At Blue Chip we are seeing a month-on-month increase in rental enquiries and applications.

 

A consequence of a bigger rental housing sector is an increase in rental disputes and with a tougher economic outlook, litigation is increasingly expensive and cumbersome as a solution. Not many people are aware of the Rental Housing Tribunal nor the services that it offers completely free of charge.

The Rental Housing Tribunal is a forum created by statute and providing a free service to assist in settling disputes between landlords and tenants in the residential rental sector across the Western Cape. As a tribunal, it is different from a court in that it can take considerations of fairness into account in its decision-making process and its decision is a final decision without further appeal. The tribunal has no power to adjudicate commercial rental disputes and its role is primarily to create stability in the residential rental sector.

 

The Tribunal comprises 5 members including a Chairperson and a Vice-Chairperson who all have experience in law, development and consumer matters relating to property and together have a wide range of powers of investigation, facilitation, mediation and decision making into a range of disputes including:-

 

  1. Failure to adequately maintain a rental property;
  2. Unlawful notice to vacate and unlawful evictions;
  3. Failure to accept lawful notice to vacate and failure to vacate;
  4. Non-agreed changes imposed on a lease agreement;
  5. Failure to render an account for rent and services provided or to issue receipts to rent payments;
  6. Unlawful seizure of possessions; and
  7. Failure to provide municipal services eg water & sewage, electricity, refuse removal.

 

Any dispute to the tribunal can be reported via its online reporting system and the tribunal strives to ensure hearings as quickly a possible after reporting. The website https://www.westerncape.gov.za/general-publication/rental-housing-tribunal contains all the links for reporting a dispute as well as an information brochure which can be downloaded, shared and printed.

As we learn how to manage these uncertain times, it has become clear to us at Blue Chip that the market is in a state of flux and to ensure a better chance of avoiding rental property disputes, it is best to have an experienced rental agent match tenants and properties with soundly drafted clear lease agreements underpinning the landlord & tenant relationship. A thorough tenant vetting process is advisable to protect your property investment. Speak to one of our experienced agents if you have any property letting questions.

Author Bronwen Woodward
Published 29 Jul 2020 / Views -
Disclaimer:  While every effort will be made to ensure that the information contained within the Blue Chip Properties website is accurate and up to date, Blue Chip Properties makes no warranty, representation or undertaking whether expressed or implied, nor do we assume any legal liability, whether direct or indirect, or responsibility for the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any information. Prospective purchasers and tenants should make their own enquiries to verify the information contained herein.