The rental housing tribunal is one of the many tools available to the property professional in South Africa and when used correctly it can provide significant value to your letting business.
What is the Rental Housing Tribunal?
It is an independent body appointed by the Provincial Minister of Housing (MEC) to resolve disputes between landlords and tenants of residential dwellings. Its members, between 3 to 5, are appointed to serve a term of up to three years, that could be extended to a further three years on the same appointment. Two alternative members may also be appointed. The RHT also has staff that includes inspectors, technical advisors and administrative support staff. It is not a court but performs a judicial function; its decision, called a ruling, is deemed an order of a magistrate’s court and is enforced in terms of the Magistrates’ Court Act17. The RHT has jurisdiction over all tenant-landlord matters and any person or entity can lodge a complaint. All tiers of government, which is a party to a lease contract of a residential dwelling are subjected to the same treatment as any other private citizen when a matter comes before the RHT.
Any government administration, like the department of Public Works or the department of Housing in the province or of a municipality, may also lodge a complaint with the RHT against its tenant. The RHA, which is the empowering legislation, does not confer delegated powers on the MEC and does not vest him / her to delegate any power to his / her subordinates. Commissioners of the RHT are independent members even though they are appointed by the MEC for housing. The MEC for housing can be summonsed or subpoenaed by the RHT where the department of housing is a party to a lease. No one can interfere with the functions and duties of the RHT, including any Minister or government official.
It is vital that estate agents who manage and let properties are familiar with the functions of the rental housing tribunal and the Rental Housing Act. Knowing and understanding the Act puts agents in the position to make the laws and regulations governing the landlord-lessee relationship work for them. And with legislation continually evolving, estate agents who keep up to date on the latest amendments will benefit even more.
The tribunal function is to settle disputes between tenants and landlords. It comprises of five members (including a chair and vice chairperson) appointed by the Provincial Minister of Human Settlements, who each have expertise in property management, housing development and consumer matters pertaining to rental housing.
Following the contact for the Rental Housing Tribunal. Rental Housing Tribunal Email.