South Africa has is very complicated on the law of real estate as it spans across multiple pieces of legislation that homeowners, investors and renters need to be aware of. But it should always be remembered that The Constitution – the supreme law of the land, enshrines the right to property in section 25.
For homeowners who want to rent out their real estate, it is most important to be cognisant of the Rental Housing Act 50 of 1999, which sets out to regulate the relationship between tenants and landlords. It also makes provision for disputes to be settled by the Rental Housing Tribunal and aims to create and protect the rights of both tenants and landlords.
Some of these provisions, when read along with the amendment of the act in 2014 include the fact that landlords may not discriminate against a tenant on the basis of their gender, race, marital status or sexual orientation to name but a few. It also guarantees the tenant’s right to privacy, while equally securing the landlord’s right to prompt payment and compensation for damages. It should be noted that rental agreements are also subject to the provisions set out in the Financial Intelligence Act 38 of 2001 and the Consumer Protection Act 68 of 2008.
There are also many other pieces of legislation that regulate the ownership of real estate, the registration of real estate as well as the management of real estate. Let’s take a look at two of these:
Deeds Registries Act 47 of 1937
This piece of legislation sets out the requirements for registering a piece of real estate in terms of ownership and how to transfer ownership from one party to another.
Estate Agency Affairs Act 112 of 1976
This simply regulates how estate agents may conduct their business and requires all real estate agents to be registered with the EAAB. This allows for a more regulated industry and also protects estate agents. However, this may soon be amended or repealed by the Property Practitioners Bill when it is signed into effect.
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