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Dispute Settlement between Tenants and Landlords

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Dispute Settlement between Tenants and Landlords

by Cape Gateway
02 Feb 2007
Cape Gateway
Cape Gateway

The Rental Housing Tribunal provides free services to tenants and landlords throughout the Province of the Western Cape. Hearings and mediations are held as close as possible to the point of complaint.

Formed in 2001, the Tribunal consists of 5 members (including a chair and vice chairperson), appointed by the Provincial Minister of Housing, who have expertise in property management, housing development and consumer matters pertaining to rental housing. The Tribunal is assisted by the Support Component of the Directorate Housing Settlement.
The Tribunal seeks to:

  • Harmonise relationships between landlords and tenants in the rental housing sector.
  • Resolve disputes that arise due to unfair practices.
  • Inform landlords and tenants about their rights and obligations in terms of the Rental Housing Act.
  • Make recommendations to relevant stakeholders.

Its objectives are:
  • To promote stability in the rental housing sector in the Western Cape.
  • To create mechanisms to deal with disputes in the rental housing sector.
  • To facilitate, investigate, mediate and conduct hearings to resolve disputes.
  • To inform landlords and tenants of their rights and obligations should unfair and unlawful practices arise.

How do you lodge a complainy?
Complaints must be lodged on the complaint form which can be obtained from the Tribunal.
A case file will be opened and a reference number allocated.
The Tribunal will conduct a preliminary investigation to determine whether the complaint relates to a dispute in respect of a matter which may constitute an unfair practice. An inspector may inspect the property concerned and compile a report if necessary.
The Tribunal must, within 30 days of receipt of the complaint, determine whether the complaint relates to a dispute in respect of a matter which may constitute an unfair practice.
If the complaint does not relate to such a dispute, the complainant will be notified in writing. If the complaint does relate to such a dispute, the Tribunal will try to resolve the matter with informal/formal mediation. If the parties are unable to reach an agreement, the case will be referred for a ruling at a formal hearing.

Who may lodge a complaint?
Any tenant or landlord or group of tenants or landlords or interest group in the Western Cape Province may lodge complaints to the Western Cape Rental Housing Tribunal.

What is mediation?
It is a process that encourages people to resolve disputes by talking in an informal, safe and confidential manner. Trained, experienced and impartial mediators help the parties to come to an agreement. The parties decide what is in the agreement and not the mediators. An agreement can be made an order by the Tribunal.

What is a hearing?
A hearing is a process whereby the both parties can state their cases, with supporting evidence, in order for the Tribunal to make a ruling which is final and binding on the parties. Proceedings of the Tribunal can only be brought under review before the High Court.

What happens if the parties dont stick to the Tribunals ruling?
A ruling by the Tribunal is regarded as an order of a Magistrates Court.
Any person who fails to comply with Section 16 will be guilty of an offence and is liable, on conviction, to a fine or imprisonment not exceeding two years, or both. For example if you:
  • Fail to attend a hearing without sufficient cause.
  • Refuse to be sworn in.
  • Refuse to produce any document or object in his possession
    Intend to deceive the Tribunal.
  • Wilfully make false statements.


    Call Centre: 0860 106 166
    Fax: 021 483 2060
    The Western Cape Rental Housing Tribunal
    Private Bag X9083, Cape Town, 8000
    Department of Housing
    27 Wale Street, Ground Floor, Cape Town

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