What will the Tribunal say?
The Tribunal is a statuatory body set in place by the government for free to resolve any disputes as mentioned above in an effort to provide resolutions to landlords and tenants. Many landlords find themselves at the Rental Housing Tribunal as a result of not returning deposits or breeching other terms of the lease agreement such as lack of maintenance, harrassment etc.
What will the Rental Housing Tribunal say to you when a tenant has lodged a complaint against you for 'deposit theft', or breaching any term of your 'agreement'? The answer lies in legal compliance.
Many property owners and landlords make the mistake of entering into the property market without fully understanding the Consumer Protection ACT and Rental Housing ACT. These are the two main laws governing the rental housing in South Africa. Lack of understanding these laws will lead property owners to not being fully compliant with what the law requires. Guess what? this is what the tribunal cares about - COMPLIANCY!
The Rental Housing Tribunal will mostly always favour the tenant, if the landlord has failed to comply with the above mentioned ACTs. Of course, when you have a managing agent, you need not stress about knowing your laws, as the contract always lies between the party handeling rental monies, and the party paying rental monies. You do however, need to know that you are using a managing agent who knows the rental law thoroughly.. A good way to identify a good estate agent is to check out hello Peter for the types of complaints he/she receives.
If you are only using an estate agency to find a tenant, you need to understand the law. It is well recommended that you do your research, as the Tribunal may declare that you pay back monies to your tenant, even if they were in the wrong - due to lack of legal compliancy.