Media Statement - 27 February 2014
Human Settlements Minister Connie September had introduced the Rental Housing Amendment Bill in the National Assembly, Cape Town.
The Bill is in line with the mandate of the department that seeks lasting solutions to human settlement challenges. Government views rental as one of the key programmes in the provision of housing opportunities.
Minister September told the National Assembly on Tuesday: “After a long process of consultation, we have finally arrived at a point of presenting the bill to the House for a debate. The bill seeks to assist millions of South Africans who are in the rental market.
Twenty years ago, the lessor and lessee relationship was characterised by ineffective and biased regulation as well as glaring inequalities.”
Minister September further explained that the government is conscious of the hardships faced by ordinary citizens, who are threatened with arbitrary evictions, ludicrous rental increases, squalid conditions and the like.
The Minister said some of the amendments to the Act include the following:
- In order to ensure uniformity, the drafting of regulations and processes will be the responsibility of the national Minister;
- Make it mandatory for lessor and lessee to enter into written lease agreements.
- Broaden the scope of the National Minister’s powers to enact regulations to include the setting of norms and standards in the rental market;
- Each local municipality is required to establish a Rental Housing Information Office ; and
- The Bill will also make it mandatory for each province to establish a Rental Housing Tribunal as opposed to the current arrangement where this function is left to the provinces to decide. This change is intended to make assistance accessible to as many people as possible.
“The mere fact that this Bill was supported unanimously by all political parties in the House is indicative of thorough processes followed.
We seek to achieve a fair and equitable rental housing landscape to create sufficient housing opportunities to ensure that our people can live in dignity, and not be discriminated against unfairly or be subjected to unscrupulous transactions,” said Minister September.
The National Department of Human Settlement will be rolling out a comprehensive implementation plan that will see training and resources provided to municipalities. This will be to ensure that it gives meaningful effect to what the Bill seeks to achieve.
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