Western Cape Rental Housing Tribunal conducts virtual hearings
The Western Cape Minister of Human Settlements, Tertuis Simmers says he is pleased that the Rental Housing Tribunal (RHT) is using technology to continue assisting residents of the province, given the importance of adhering to the covid-19 regulations.
When the initial hard lockdown was announced in March 2020, the RHT had to cease its operations as it was not deemed as an essential service. During this time, only a limited telephonic service could be offered to citizens. Between 27 March 2020 to 31 July 2020, the RHT received 919 queries. Once the RHT was declared an essential service in May 2020, it commenced with virtual hearings on 9 June 2020.
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.
Minister Simmers said: “I commend the RHT’s chairperson, Lionel Esterhuizen and the entire tribunal for ensuring that their services are still available to those who need it. Instead of seeking to make excuses as to why matters could not be heard, the RHT offered virtual options to tenants and landlords so that hearings could still proceed. This is another clear demonstration of the Western Cape Government’s commitment to assisting all residents of this province.
It is further pleasing to note that since the commencement of virtual hearings,
54 of these matters have been closed, with 26 through virtual hearings and 28 through facilitation, which consists of a settlement or withdrawal.”
Part of these queries are 164 Communicare matters that proceeded at the end of July 2020 but was postponed due to the tenants’ legal representative not being prepared to proceed. Matters of a further 143 Communicare tenants, could also not be resolved through mediation and has now been referred for hearing.
Minister Simmers added: “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 alert level 2 as this is illegal, unless permission is granted by a court of law. Any citizen who is faced with eviction during this time must contact their local Police Station and seek assistance from them.”
At this stage, the Rental Housing Tribunal can be contacted as follows:
Monday to Friday 08h00 – 16h00
Mr. N. Vaveki - 061 527 0878