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ConCourt hears Johannesburg lease case

2011-11-03 13:37

Johannesburg - Cancelling the rental leases of people in a privately-owned building in Johannesburg that is destined for rejuvenation, violated the tenants’ rights, the Constitutional Court heard on Thursday.

"These tenants have been living there between four, eight and 17 years," said the tenants' lawyer Daniel Berger SC.

"They have accrued a right of access to adequate housing and by cancelling that right, that right is impaired."

At least seven people living in the building Lowliebenhof, Braamfontein, would be homeless if they had to move out, he said.

The court was hearing argument on behalf of Ntombizodwa Maphango and 14 others who are contesting the cancellation of their leases on the grounds of their right to adequate housing.

The building's owner, Aengus Lifestyle Properties, specialise in buying old Johannesburg buildings and refurbishing the apartments.

Their portfolio includes Tribeca and Fashion Lofts in the inner city.

The judges wanted to know to what extent social costs should impact on regenerative housing projects. They wanted to know to what extent a landlord was responsible for social costs, and whether it was wrong to be motivated by profit when terminating a lease for the purposes of increasing the rental.

They would also have to decide whether Constitutional rights supersede contractual rights.

Before the purchase of the building, tenants received a government subsidy but this was terminated several years ago.

In papers submitted by Aengus, the tenants were given three months notice of lease cancellation and were offered cheaper alternatives in their property portfolio.

The tenants said the other units were not in a good condition and that they did not want to move out of Braamfontein.

"[We need to] balance the interests of landlords and the interests of tenants," said Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke."

Comments
  • Peter - 2011-11-03 13:51

    Trying to balance the interests of landlords and the interests of tenants. Is this not privately owned? What's up with the self-entitlement in this country, a three months notice was served. All procedures followed.

      Rob - 2011-11-03 14:14

      I agree. What we may find in the next 10 years is the same tenants withholding rentals and complaining to the courts due to the decay of their living conditions. What's wrong with moving out for a few months while refurbishment takes place and then moving back again?

      Oneant - 2011-11-03 14:51

      "The tenants said the other units were not in a good condition and that they did not WANT to move out of Braamfontein." Theres that word again.

      Mike - 2011-11-03 16:06

      Whitey_McWhiteGuy is an internet troll new24 please block this guys IP address

  • Grant - 2011-11-03 14:00

    This judgement may have created e bad precedant. What about the rights of the investor?

      Jannie - 2011-11-03 15:25

      No Judgement was passed. They still hearing the case

  • aarchaic - 2011-11-03 14:15

    "In papers submitted by Aengus, the tenants were given three months notice of lease cancellation and were offered cheaper alternatives in their property portfolio." Really! What more should the owner do its privately owned! Alternatives was offered and ample notification was given! if they don’t want the cheaper accommodation they should move on to a new company and landlord. these word "Human Rights" is becoming more and more a weapon for the whole of society to get away with murder literally rather than protect the people its suppose to serve.

  • Lyndatjie - 2011-11-03 14:23

    I am now speechless. So basically the only rights that are being protected are those who have no money? If we keep on removing the rights of our investors, we are going to end up with just poor people while the investors have moved off looking for a country who WOULD appreciate the job creation and cash injection. Economics 101 Guess we are still following Mugabe's "economic blueprint" (otherwise known as financial suicide and economic hari-kiri).

  • Manfred - 2011-11-03 15:31

    It used to be a very good investment to own or invest in a large complex of flats or apartments in South Africa. But in the past 20 years tenants believe they have more rights v/s the owner or investor. Tenants who do not like to vacate after given 3 month notice must be thrown out by court action .The owner or investor can do what he likes with the building. If the building has to be refurbished , well, that is a very good reason to clear the building. The majority of building in Braamfontein and Hillbrow should be renovated anyway . If tenants trying to stop progress>>.well>>that is the same people who complain when their rented flat becomes a slam area. But maybe the tenants in question like to live in slam areas.

  • Kevin - 2011-11-03 17:43

    If your lease is cancelled you get a new flat. This would mean that no building can be upgraded . Does this mean all buildings are to become slums or worse. Get real . Kick the tenants out

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