Criminal liability for landlords
It is expected that South Africa soon will see important changes to rental housing legislation. Landlords are required to regularise arrangements with their tenants or soon they will face criminal charges or a fine, if they fail to repay a tenant’s deposit or if they fail to provide a dwelling that is deemed to be in a ‘poor’ state. This is as stipulated in the amendments to the Rental Housing Act. Landlords who cut the utilities to a tenant’s property, lock a tenant out of the property, fail to conduct an inspection when a tenant moves in or exit, or fail to maintain the leased property, face a risk of jail time.
Landlords and tenants will be required to comply with the new requirements contained in the amendments within six months from the date of its commencement. The Rental Housing Amendment Act 35 of 2014 has been looming for some time. Landlords are therefore advised to note the important changes in advance and to make arrangements as necessary before the Amendment Act comes into operation.