On Sunday, SERI made a submission to the Department of Human Settlements on the Rental Housing Tribunal Regulations. On 1 April 2021, the Minister of Human Settlements, Lindiwe Sisulu, published the Rental Housing Tribunal Regulations, 2018 for public comment.  The regulations seek to standardise processes and procedures in the proceedings of the Rental Housing Tribunals. SERI has read and considered the draft regulations and makes this submission to the Department of Human Settlements in accordance with the invitation to submit written comments.  

 SERI’s submission provides background to the organisation and its work, contextualises the affordable rental sector, comments on the content of the draft regulations, and makes recommendations in relation to each concern.  SERI welcomes these regulations which aim to give effect to the commencement of the Rental Housing Act 35 of 2014.The act required that the Minister issue regulations on the norms and standards, the procedures of the Tribunal and its appellate body and the unfair practice regulations within a year of the commencement of the amendment. We recognise the role of the regulations as one of the legislative measures that the state has taken to achieve the progressive realisation of the right to have access to adequate housing. 

However, SERI has highlighted a number of concerns with the department’s draft regulations. They include: 

  • Undefined terms and concepts
  • Mediation
  • Formalisation
  • Urgent Process
  • Deterrent cost 
  • Norms and Standards
  • Unfair Practice Regulations

The submission provides specific recommendations for each concern. Overall, SERI welcomes the formulation of these Regulations, but remains concerned that the tightening of procedures for an institution of the Tribunal’s calibre could serve to exclude a class of people that it was designed to protect. A very great risk is that the institution becomes accessible to the few. The rental housing policy framework and a complete set of norms and standards are pre-requisites for mitigating the discrimination risk. 

Access the full submission here