Parliament to redraft Rental Housing Bill

26 January 2012

The Parliamentary portfolio committee on human settlements has decided to redraft the proposed Rental Housing Amendment Bill, committee chairwoman Nomhle Dambuza said on Wednesday.

“Applying for a redraft of this amendment bill requires that another set of public hearings be held and we believe that this will give an opportunity to the parties who did not comment during the first round,” Dambuza said in a statement.

She said she decided to revert the bill to the committee and not the department because of the proposed amendments.

The committee decided to redraft the amendment bill so that it covered aspects raised by the department of human settlements and addressed the loopholes and ambiguities identified in the Rental Housing Act and the Rental Housing Amendment Act.

Dambuza said the Rental Housing Amendment Act had gaps which could lead to people’s exploitation.

“Complaints… suggested that there are lot of problems in the rental sector and we hope that redrafting this bill will minimise those challenges.

“In our view, the redraft provides a balanced view of how challenges faced by landlords as well as tenants should be addressed,” said Dambuza.

Rental Housing Tribunals

Last year, the department sought to amend the Rental Housing Act to make MECs responsible for establishing Rental Housing Tribunals and to extend the powers of tribunals so that they could withdraw or vary any rulings.

However, Dambuza said the committee noticed that the rights and obligations of landlords and tenants were not clearly spelled out and that some of the public comments raised during the department’s public hearings were not accommodated in the proposed amendment bill.

The proposed redraft obliged landlords to: reimburse rental deposit with accrued interest, provide regular maintenance to tenants’ properties or rooms and written agreements and receipts for every payment made, reserve the right to recover money owed to them, and terminate leases on grounds that did not constitute unfair practice and were specified in the lease.

Sapa