The KwaZulu-Natal Rental Housing Tribunal has been established to resolve disputes between tenants and landlords arising from unfair practices.

The tribunal was established by the MEC of the Department of Human Settlements.
According to the department, the primary function of the tribunal is to promote stability in the rental housing sector by resolving disputes that arise between landlords and tenants living in residential dwellings that include flats, houses, shacks, backrooms, outbuildings, apartments, and hostel rooms, among other places that they rent.

According to the department, these services are available throughout the province free of charge to the parties in dispute and there is no need for lawyer involvement. The tribunal is tasked with the responsibilities to educate, provide information and advise tenants and landlords on their rights and obligations.

Powers and functions
In terms of the Rental Housing Act (Act No. 50 of 1999) and the Regulations thereof, the Rental Housing Tribunal is assigned with rights and obligations to:
• Receive complaints lodged by either tenants or landlords;
• Conduct mediation or hearings to resolve disputes between tenants and landlords;
• Rule that any person must comply with a provision of the regulations relating to unfair practices;
• Make any ruling that is just and fair to terminate any unfair practice, including, without detracting from the generality of the afore going, a ruling to discontinue overcrowding; unacceptable living conditions, exploitative rentals, lack of maintenance;
• Refer a matter for investigation to the relevant competent body or local authority where it would appear that the provisions of any law have been or are being contravened.

Unfair practices
Unfair Practice refers to any act or omission by a landlord or tenant in contravention of this Act or a practice prescribed as practice unreasonably prejudicing the rights or interests of a tenants or landlord.
May, amongst other things, relate to:
• The changing of locks;
• Deposits;
• Non-payment of rental;
• Maintenance to property;
• Damage to property;
• Forced entry and obstruction of entry(illegal lockout);
• Eviction;
• Disconnection of services;
• Illegal attachment of goods;
• Demolitions and conversions;
• House rules, subject to the provisions of the Sectional Titles Act, 1986 (Act No. 95 of 1986), where applicable;
• Intimidation;
• Issuing of receipts;
• Tenants committees;
• Municipal services;
• Nuisances;
• Overcrowding and health matters;
• Tenant activities;
• Reconstruction and refurbishment work;

Tenants, landlords, institutions, body corporates, tenant’s associations and property managing agents who either reside, manage or own such residential rental property within the KwaZulu-Natal Province, are eligible to lodge a complaint. Complaint lodged with the tribunal must be in writing on the prescribed Tribunal Complaint Form.

For more info, contact your nearest tribunal office in Durban on 031-372-1800 or email info.rht@kzndhs.gov.za. Or visit their offices at Eagle Building (Murchies Passage), 9 th Floor, 353-363 Dr Pixley ka Seme Dr (West St).