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PUBLIC SERVICES SELECT COMMITTEE
13 October 1999
RENTAL HOUSING BILL & HOUSING SECOND AMENDMENT BILL:
Documents handed out
Rental Housing Bill
Housing Second Amendment Bill
In his briefing on the Rental Housing Bill, the Director of Housing Subsidy Scheme said that the Housing Second Amendment Bill authorises the MEC for Housing, in consultation with the MEC for Welfare, to approve the disposal of welfare institutions. He mentioned that this power in the past was vested to Minister of Housing.
The Director of Urban Development gave reasons why there is a need for the Rental Housing Bill and he touched on the aims of the Bill and he outlined the different chapters of the Bill.
In his briefing on the Rental Housing Bill, the Director: Housing Subsidy Scheme, Mr F Jacobs, said that the Housing Second Amendment Bill authorises the MEC for Housing in consultation with the MEC for Welfare to approve the disposal welfare institutions. He mentioned that this power in the past was vested to Minister of Housing. He recommended that the committee pass the Bill.
The committee agreed that on the 25 October members should brief their provinces. On 27 October the committee will meet to discuss negotiating mandate. On 5 November committee will meet to discuss possible amendments. On 8 November members will discuss final mandates. On 11 November, the Bill will be place before plenary session of NCOP.
Mr J Wallis, Director: Urban Development, set out the following reasons why there is a need for Housing Rental Bill:
· in 1970's there had been less investment to rental stock and this led to high rent and a dispute thereof.
· housing policy (White Paper of 1994) recognise rental housing stock
· Housing Act does not accommodate rental housing framework
· rental stock will overcome the problem of slump areas
· rental stock will contribute to alleviation of the housing problem
· there is no mechanism to promote rental housing stock
The market characteristics of rental options is private, informal and public sector
The private sector provide for the high income and dense areas, informal sector provide for subletting renting on backyard, shacks and public provide for municipality rental stock
The reason why the private sector did not invest is because of the Rent Control Act. The Act only applies to certain areas especially the former whites areas and it further discriminates on account of age. The private sector is not investing because the Rent Control Act impose limits upon owners which means they will not receive returns. That is the reason that the Department had proposed Rental Housing Bill.
The long title of Bill provides eight objectives of Bill.
Mr Wallis set out that Chapter one of the Bill provides definitions. Chapter two outlines the role of government in rental housing. Chapter three sets out the relation between tenant and landlord. Chapter four empowers MEC to establish a Rental Housing Tribunal which will consider complaints of tenant and landlord. Section fourteen deals with the establishment of Rental Housing Information Offices. Section fifteen empowers MECs to make regulations. Section sixteen provides for penalties and offences. Section seventeen is scrapping the Rent Control Act. There are people who are receiving protection in terms of the Rent Control Act. People who are enjoying protection in terms of the Act should continue to do so for a period of three years.
Questions from members
Member: In the light of the current state of municipalities, do you think the municipalities will be able to rent out houses. They do not have money to keep services, how will they be able to rent out houses?
Mr Wallis: The financial state of municipalities is not good. The government should go in partnership with the private sector, for example local government provides land and private sector provides stock for rental. The local authority will receive income for rates and services
Mr Mokoena: Chapter three, section 4(1) provides that the landlord may not discriminate against genuine visitors. Who determine whether a person is genuine visitor (the landlord or tenant)
Mr Wallis The Department has to look at words and I am not in the position to answer the question.
Member: What is the link between Information Offices and Tribunal?
Mr Wallis: Information Offices will assist in preventing disputes because people need to be well informed. Whereas Tribunals may call anybody to give evidence at hearings.
Member: Will the Bill affect current written leases?
Mr Wallis: The Bill will not affect current written leases. But upon renewal, the Bill will become applicable.
The meeting was adjourned.
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