Rental Housing Bill submissions deadline

The public is invited to respond to the re-drafted Rental Housing Bill that was introduced on October 28, 2011, in the National Assembly.

The portfolio committee on human settlements (“the committee”) met twice to consider submissions, and after much debate, had the Bill redrafted.

Dr Sayed Iqbal Mohamed. Credit: Ex-QDMS

Written submissions must reach the committee secretary by 4pm next Thursday, April 5, 2012, with public hearings in parliament scheduled for April 24-25.

A public notice issued by Beauty Nomhle Dambuza, MP and chairwoman of the Portfolio Committee on Human Settlements states, among other things:

“The Portfolio Committee on Human Settlements had embarked on the process of redrafting the Rental Housing Amendment Bill. During the process of public hearings and oversight visits, the committee had witnessed irregularities in the rental sector.

“The committee is of the opinion that the Act should address the challenges the country faces in respect of the rental sector. Therefore, the committee invites all interested persons and stakeholders to submit written comments on the redrafted Rental Housing Amendment Bill, which must reach the committee by 4pm on Thursday, April 5, 2012.”

This time around the Bill proposes more radical changes and with focus on tenants’ experiencing economic hardships. Below are some of the changes envisaged and the possible reasons for these changes and intended outcomes:

(a) educate, provide information and advise tenants and landlords on their rights and obligations in relation to dwellings in its area of jurisdiction;

(b) provide advice to disputing parties on reaching solutions to problems relating to dwellings;

(c) refer parties to the tribunal;

(d) comply with any request of the tribunal in terms of section 13; and

(e) keep records of enquiries received by the office and to submit reports in relation thereto to the tribunal on a quarterly basis.

(a) monitor and assess the impact of the application of this Act on poor and vulnerable tenants; and

(b) take such action as he or she deems necessary to alleviate hardships that may be suffered by such tenants.

(6) For purposes of subsection (5), the minister may define criteria based on age, income, or other form or degree of vulnerability that apply to such tenants or group of tenants, and amend or augment the policy framework on rental housing referred to in subsection (3) in such a manner as he or she sees fit.”

* Dr Sayed Iqbal Mohamed is the chairman, Organisation of Civic Rights.

For tenants’ rights advice, contact Pretty Gumede at 031 304 6451.