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Rental Housing Amendment Act Workshops

In October, two peer to peer workshops were organised for municipalities that participate in the Local Government Capacity Programme. The workshops focused on the new Rental Housing Amendment Act and the implications it will have for municipalities. The workshops were conducted in cooperation with SALGA, the National Department of Human Settlements and representatives of the Rental Housing Tribunals.

The responses and enthusiasm of the municipalities was tremendous. The discussions with the representatives of the National Department of Human Settlements, the Rental Housing Tribunal and SALGA were lively and provided a lot of new input. The workshops showed that the different spheres of government are looking for support from and dialogue with each other for the improvement of the sector and the successful implementation of the Amendment Act. In this the intergovernmental cooperation is extremely important. The workshops showed that a lot of work still needs to be done, but also that the different spheres of government are more than willing to listen to each other and to work together.

Within the LGCP programme the progress on this will be followed carefully. Furthermore, CMRA is working with the National Department to look at possibilities for further training and assistance for municipalities to enable the implementation of the Act.

Some of the subjects that were part of the main discussions in the workshops are described below.

Rental Housing Tribunal Information Offices

In the workshops, the Department of Human Settlements gave a presentation on the roles and responsibilities of all three spheres of government, highlighting that every local municipality must establish a Rental Housing Tribunal Information Office.

The municipalities questioned whether or not they will be receiving assistance in setting up Rental Housing Tribunal Information Offices. They were then made aware that there will be assistance in terms of training and education but financial assistance cannot be granted. The municipalities that have already established their information offices explained that it was difficult to get the systems up and running and that further assistance would be needed.

Lease agreements

The municipalities were concerned with how they could convince the residents to agree in signing lease agreements and suggested that oral agreements need to be taken into consideration. Furthermore, in some cases the landlords and/or tenants are illiterate and will need assistance with the written lease agreements. There are worries about the possibility for these types of lease agreements in all rental cases.

Citizen education

It was stressed that there is a need to educate the citizens on the Act and how it unfolds in order for the citizens to understand the need and use of a lease agreement. The municipalities were concerned about the funding which would be necessary in order for citizens to be educated accordingly, but it was clarified that funds will be made available in terms of training to capacitate the municipal officials. 

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