Ricochet News

Eastern Cape tribunal to resolve disputes between tenants and landlords

Apr 25, 2018
Eastern Cape tribunal to resolve disputes between tenants and landlords

Eastern Cape MEC for Human Settlements, Ms Helen Sauls-August, has appointed new members of the Eastern Cape Rental Housing Tribunal with effect from 1 April 2018 for a three-year term ending on 31 March 2021.

According to Department Spokesperson, Lwandile Sicwetsha, the Member of the Executive Council for Human Settlements is mandated by the Act to appoint the Rental Housing Tribunal, which comprises of five members (including a chair and a vice chairperson).

"The tribunal is set up according to the Rental Housing Act of 1999 and it was enacted to protect both tenants and landlords from exploiting each other and against other forms of unfair rental practice. The Act informs both tenants and landlords about their rights, duties and responsibilities when they enter into a lease agreement," he said.

"The Tribunal provides a free service to tenants and landlords to promote stability in the residential rental housing sector throughout the province.

"Their functions include Receiving complaints lodged by either landlords, tenants, property agents or interest groups; Receive complaints lodged by either landlords, tenants, property agents or interest groups; conduct hearing to resolve disputes; educate, provide information to tenants and landlords about their rights and obligations in relation to dwelling."

The new members are as follows:

  • Advocate John Korkie – Chairperson
  • Ms Nomalungelo Petela – Ngcanga: Deputy Chairperson
  • Mr Dave Murray – Member
  • Ms Zanele Semane – Member
  • Mr Andile Badi – Member

Sicwetsha further said that the rental tribunal concluded and resolved three landmark cases which related to excessive increase in rentals and placement of deposits into trust accounts as stipulated in the Act. 

"In a matter of Fanie Cloete/Mark le Grange/Marcia Westraat v/s Taurus Property Group, the complaint was about the excessive increase in rentals. The key issue in the matter was that the respondent increased rental by more than 10% to 300% and the respondent was advised that according to the Rental Housing Act, the rental increase cannot be more than 10% per annum," he described.

"The respondent agreed to correct the rental increase and the complainants were also advised to sign a new lease agreement which will reflect the new rental amounts. The settlement agreement was made a Ruling of the Tribunal."

He said that the second land mark ruling involved a matter between Lans Malhebere v/s Just Letting. The complainant approached the Tribunal requesting a relief that the respondent failed to place his deposit in an interest bearing trust account.

"The total amount that was calculated and due to be refunded to the complainant was R10 000-00. In this case the Tribunal was satisfied with the evidence that the respondent failed to refund full deposit with interest. Parties agreed to mediation and the respondent undertook to refund the full amount of the deposit including the interest. The settlement agreement was made a Ruling of the Tribunal," Sicwetsha explained.

"The Rental Housing Tribunal will also form part of the consumer protection drive and a platform to resolve disputes between tenants and landlords and raising awareness about the Rental Tribunal to the consumers during this financial year."