President Zuma has signed the Rental Housing Amendment Bill into law.
Parliament passed the bill and sent it for assent at the end of October 2014.
The bill was revived in August by the fifth democratic parliament after having being tabled in parliament in November 2013.
The portfolio committee on human settlements called for comment on the proposed legislation towards the end of November last year and public hearings were held in late January 2014.
The Rental Housing Amendment Act clarifies obligations and rights of landlords and tenants and provides for the establishment of Rental Housing Tribunals in every province and also Rental Information Offices in every municipality.
The act also brings the legislation in line with the name change of the department from the Department of Housing to the Department of Human Settlements.
Provisions in the act include:
• clarify the responsibility of government;
• set out the rights and obligations of tenants and landlords in a coherent manner;
• require leases to be in writing;
• extend the application of Chapter 4 to all provinces;
• require the MEC’s to establish Rental Housing Tribunals;
• extend the powers of the Rental Housing Tribunals;
• provide for an appeal process;
• require all municipalities to have Rental Housing Information Offices;
• provide for norms and standards related to rental housing; and
• improved penalties and offences.
A definition on maintenance was introduced into the legislation during the deliberation process.
Maintenance “includes such repairs and upkeep as may be required to ensure that a dwelling is in a habitable condition and ”maintain” has a corresponding meaning”.
The bill had reached the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) before the fourth parliament ended its term. The national assembly passed the bill in February 2014.
The NCOP agreed to the bill in March.
The act comes into force on a date still to be determined by the president.