Your rights as a Residential Tenant

There is a useful article on our website concerning residential leases and the rights and responsibilities of landlords and tenants governed by the Rental Housing Act, 1999 (e.g. what terms the lease must contain, the obligation on the landlord to invest your deposit in an interest-bearing account, the obligations on the parties to list any defects and attach them as an annexure to the lease, etc.).

What happens if the landlord does not comply with his or her obligations under the residential lease. What rights do you have as a tenant?

Rental Housing Tribunals were created in terms of the Rental Housing Act to resolve disputes between landlords and tenants. Their services are free and can be used by tenants, landlords and property agents.

The tribunals determine issues relating to non-payment of rentals, failure to refund deposits, overcrowding, unacceptable living conditions, harassment and intimidation, lack of maintenance, determination of fair rentals, unlawful seizure of tenant’s belongings, discrimination, exploitive rentals, illegal lock-out or illegal disconnections.

Go here for more information about the Gauteng Rental Housing Tribunal. Their numbers are 0860 106 166/ 011 355 4000/ 012 483 5020.

What happens if a landlord or tenant lodges a complaint:

  • The tribunal conducts a preliminary investigation;
  • It arranges a mediation session to try to resolve the dispute;
  • If no agreement is reached, the matter will be referred for a tribunal hearing or arbitration;
  • Once arbitration has taken place, a binding ruling will be handed down to both parties;
  • Any ruling will be enforced in terms of the Magistrate’s Court Act;
  • If one of the parties is dissatisfied with the outcome, he/she can have the matter reviewed by a High Court

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