Who is the rental housing tribunal?

Rental Housing Tribunals are a product of the Rental Housing Act and have been established with a view to resolving disputes between landlords and tenants. The services rendered are free and can be used by tenants, landlords and property agents.

The tribunals have the power to determine issues relating to, amongst others, 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.

How to lodge a complaint:

Complaints have to be lodged in person or by mail at relevant Rental Housing Tribunal offices which can be determined by looking online. It is important to note that while a complaint is being handled, the landlord may not evict a tenant, a tenant must continue to pay all rent payable and the landlord must remedy any and all necessary maintenance.

Required documentation for lodging a complaint:

If you feel you need to lodge a complaint you will need certain details and documentation to do so. These include:

  • Your ID/ permit/ passport
  • The relevant lease agreement
  • Proof of applicable payments
  • Proof of the physical address of both parties
  • Contact telephone numbers

The process

There are essentially seven steps involved when lodging a complaint with an Rental Housing Tribunal.

1: The first step involves opening a file for each complainant

2: A letter is sent to all parties which outlines the nature of the complaint

3: The Rental Housing Tribunal will conduct a preliminary investigation

4: A mediation session will be arranged to try and resolve the matter. If no agreement is reached, the matter will be referred for a tribunal hearing or arbitration

5: Once arbitration has taken place, a binding ruling will be handed down to both parties

6: Any ruling will be enforced in terms of the Magistrate’s Court Act

7: If one of the parties is dissatisfied with the outcome, he/she can have the matter reviewed by a High Court

From the time a complaint is lodged, it should take no more than three months for a complaint to be resolved by an Rental Housing Tribunal.