Rights and obligations of landlord and tenant : a study in the light of Shari'ah (Islamic law) and the South African rental housing act.
Tenants represent a marginalised group in South Africa, with land and housing, and particularly rental accommodation in great demand. Renting is a viable option for certain tenants but in the absence of the provision of rental housing, tenants are trapped in a "feudal" system of tenant-landlord relationship. The importance of this study stems from the fact that there appears to be violations of tenants' rights and that the obligations of both tenant and landlord from a Shari-ah perspective have either been overlooked or ignored completely thus far. This study examines the hardships faced by tenants specifically in privately owned residential accommodation in Durban and other major South African cities. It aims to critically examine Islamic perspective on housing and land tenure and guidelines that govern tenant-landlord relationship in respect of residential rental accommodation. It also looks at the South African development of land and housing policy, legislation, the provision of public and rental housing and tenure and tenant-landlord relationship. It examines the historical development of such a relationship in the west and the development of rent legislation in South Africa and the most recent legislation, the Rental Housing Act 50 of 1999. This study sought responses from recognised, well-established Muslim organisations in South Africa to a questionnaire dealing specifically with residential rental accommodation and general information on a range of tenant-landlord related matters. It is hoped that their response that are analysed and discussed would contribute to a better tenant-landlord "culture". The overall findings of this study into the Islamic and South African perspective on tenant-landlord relationship have implications for policy makers, Islamic scholars, NGOs and a whole range of stakeholders, locally as well as internationally. In the light of this study, suggestions are made to stimulate further research on some of the pertinent issues addressed.