ConCourt sends tenants back to tribunal

2012-03-13 15:36
Johannesburg - A group of tenants whose leases were cancelled to make way for more expensive apartments must take the matter back to the Gauteng Rental Housing Tribunal, the Constitutional Court ruled on Tuesday.

"The tribunal is empowered to determine whether a landlord committed an 'unfair practice', and it might accordingly have ruled in the tenants' favour," Justice Edwin Cameron said.

Aengus Lifestyle Properties, which specialises in buying old Johannesburg buildings and revamping them into modern apartments such as Tribeca and Fashion Lofts, had given notice to tenants of Lowliebenhof, Braamfontein, then cancelled their leases.

Aengus wanted to revamp the building so it offered the tenants alternative accommodation in its other buildings, or they could have stayed on, but paid a higher rent.

The tenants lodged a complaint with the tribunal, a body established under the Rental Housing Act, but mediation was unsuccessful.


When the landlord brought eviction proceedings against them in the South Gauteng High Court, they withdrew their case from the tribunal and challenged their eviction.

Cameron, reading the majority judgment, explained that when the matter was escalated to the High Court and Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA), those courts found the Rental Housing Act did not apply and that the landlord was entitled to terminate the leases with written notice. By doing this, the landlord could not be seen to be unfair or oppressive, and the eviction order could stay in place.

However, the Constitutional Court found the two previous courts failed to give adequate weight to the act and that the landlord's conduct may have amounted to an unfair practice. The court found the act takes account of market forces, as well as the need to protect landlords and tenants.

The tenants had never withdrawn their complaint of unfair practices, and so that complaint and any complaint the landlord might have about the rental rate should be considered by the tribunal, the court ruled.

The Constitutional Court postponed the appeal, and gave the tenants until May 2, 2012 to lodge a complaint with the tribunal.

The parties were granted permission to apply to the Constitutional Court again following the tribunal's decision. If the parties did not lodge a complaint with the tribunal by then, their appeal would be dismissed with costs.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
Read more on:    johannesburg  |  housing
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Rugby World Cup 2015

All the action from the 2015 RWC, including live coverage of all 48 matches, breaking news, fixtures, results, logs - and much more!


Rugby World Cup 2015

Habana believes in younger Boks
All Blacks ready for a 'hell of a battle'
Barnes to ref Boks, Wales clash
Brave Blossoms: 'Sport heroes of Japan'

You may find it hard to focus on the mundane routines as the greener pastures seem so tempting. It is a good time to expand more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.