Judgment expected in Joburg lease case

2012-03-13 08:52

The Constitutional Court will hand down judgment today on whether a company converting old Johannesburg buildings into loft apartments can cancel the leases of tenants already living there.

Aengus Lifestyle Properties specialises in buying old Johannesburg buildings and revamping them into modern apartments such as Tribeca and Fashion Lofts.

This case focuses on the tenants of Lowliebenhof, Braamfontein, some of whom have lived there for up to 17 years, before they were informed that the building was going to be upgraded and their leases cancelled.

They could stay if they could afford the new rentals.

They were given three months’ notice of the lease cancellation and offered cheaper accommodation in the company’s other properties, which they rejected because they said the units were not in a good condition, and they did not want to move out of Braamfontein.

Ntombizodwa Maphango and 14 others contested the cancellation of their leases on the grounds of their right to adequate housing.

During the hearing last year, the court noted that it had to balance the interests of the landlord and of the tenants.

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