Economic development

Legislation governing conduct of property owners

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As a property owner it is your responsibility to be aware of the legislation governing the conduct of property owners.

Legislation governing conduct of property owners

  • The Rental Housing Act,no 50 of 1999 commits agreement between tenant and landlord in writing. If property is part of sectional title scheme, rules of that scheme should be included in the lease agreement.
  • The Occupational Health and Safety Act no 85 of 1993 provides for the health and safety of persons at work. Includes regulations on lifts and escalators in the work place.
  • Prevention of Illegal Eviction from and Unlawful Occupation of Land (PIE) Act criminalises “constructive eviction”: forcing tenants out of your property by withholding services. Also criminalises the hijacking of property rentals by illegal tenants.
  • Sectional Titles Act, No. 95 of 1986 lays out management rules which regulate the administration of a scheme and sets out responsibilities of a scheme’s trustees.

Although much attention has been focussed on these problem buildings recently, Theodore Yach says the situation in Cape Town is an improvement on the number of problem buildings in Johannesburg. “On the one hand there are serious issues dealing with problem buildings”, he says,” but the process we are engaged in is we are dealing with them in an expeditious fashion. In Johannesburg buildings have been left for ten years, where the owners have run away, the buildings hijacked and the city has switched off the electricity and water supply”.

Graham Paddock, an attorney specialising in sectional title law, explains that many sectional title schemes slide into insolvency when investor-owners cannot pay their share of common expenses, ”One of the major issues with decaying inner-city schemes is usually a relatively high proportion of investor owners for whom the costs associated with proper maintenance and timely repairs far outweighs the additional rental return they could achieve if the building were kept in good condition”.

The legal rights of tenants in the face of ani social activities:

  • Approach the Renting Housing Tribunal (RHT) to complain about the state of the building. Graham Paddock says, “Because the owner of each lettable apartment owns not only a section but also a share in all the common property, a tenant may be able to complain if there has been a substantial deterioration in the condition of the building generally since the commencement of the lease”. Mr Salim Patel, chairman of the Cape Town RHT says, “The RHT will investigate and is empowered to make a ruling which will compel the Landlord to take action in respect of any complaint laid by a tenant in respect of health, safety and maintenance issues. In the event of their being a number of complaints in a particular building, the tenants usually lay a collective complaint and the Tribunal has to investigate and attempt to solve the problem.”
  • RHT Call Centre : 0860 106 166

Choosing a reputable security company to safeguard your building

PSIRA is the regulatory body for all individuals and companies in the security industries. Its mandate is to register everyone involved in the private security industry including locksmiths, alarm installers and armed response personnel. Any landlord wishing to employ a private security firm should first check whether the company or a particular individual is registered with PSIRA. Any individual who applies for membership will have their criminal record checked before being allowed to register. PSIRA also follows up complaints related to security personnel and inspects security companies.

For more information contact PSIRA on 021 425 2370/1/2/3 or visit  www.PSIRA.co.za

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