Minister Simmers receives quarterly Rental Housing Tribunal report
On Wednesday, the Western Cape Minister of Human Settlements, Tertuis Simmers and the Head of Department Jacqui Samson met with the Rental Housing Tribunal (RHT) Chairperson Lionel Esterhuizen. This meeting forms part of the quarterly engagements which is scheduled between Minister Simmers and the Chairperson of the Tribunal.
The operations of the RHT was drastically affected by the lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic which was announced in March of this year. Since the lockdown was announced we had a select team of staff who fielded just over 571 calls from citizens not only in this province, but from across the country.
These citizens have been seeking advice on a range of issues related to rental accommodation and include the following;
- Unlawful Notice to vacate because of non-payment of rent as a result of the lockdown
- Landlords crying foul because rental has not been paid (Failure to Pay Rental)
- Landlords breaking in at the leased premises and seizing tenant’s possessions
- Landlord want to utilize the rental deposit in lieu of arrear rental.
“The Western Cape Rental Housing Tribunal was deemed an essential service during May and we have since then slowly been working towards full operations. During the month of June, we commenced with 22 hearings and I am pleased that we were able to conduct our hearings in a virtual environment with Members and the affected parties connected through technology. It is important that we ensure that citizens are aware that the Rental Housing Tribunal is operating under the current lockdown level 3 restrictions which are in place and this is why we’re utilising technology optimally, to ensure that a service is delivered to our people,” said Minister Simmers.
“What we have seen is a surge in enquiries from citizens who are in distress and cannot afford to make a rental payment as they have suffered the economic consequences which have been brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic” says the RHT Chairperson Mr. Esterhuizen.
“I appeal to all parties (Landlord and Tenant), to meet each other halfway, as these times are unprecedented. Landlords must not evict tenants under the current Lockdown level 3 as this is illegal, unless permission is granted by a court of law. Any citizen who is faced with eviction during this time must make contact with their local Police Station and seek assistance from them,” added Simmers.
Operationally, we’ve had to amend some of our processes to ensure we take great care against COVID-19 exposure. As we’re continuing to receive complaints via e-mail, we’d like to encourage all citizens to submit theirs electronically. For those citizens who do not have access to technology, we’ve placed a drop box at our offices where citizens are able to drop off their complaints which will then be processed and investigated.
At this stage, the Rental Housing Tribunal can be contacted as follows:
Monday to Friday 08h00 – 16h00
- Mr. N. Vaveki - 061 527 0878
- Mr. L. March – 082 306 5707
- Mr. V. Sitatu - 067 829 8461