Dispute escalates

A 45-year-old mother’s battle with her landlord has landed in the Rental Housing Tribunal after the property owner allegedly tried to illegally evict her.

Karen Hendricks lodged a formal complaint with the tribunal and the matter has been set down for mediation this week.

The dispute started after the landlord, Yusuf Abed, allegedly forced his way into the house in Cavendish Square, intimidated Hendricks and removed the bathtub on Sunday 29 July.

The incident left Hendricks and her 11-year-old son traumatised, she says.

She says while resting with her son on the morning, they were startled by a loud bang. It was Abed and his son and they had forcibly entered the house. “He had broken down the burglar gate with a hammer,” says Hendricks.

She says Abed instructed her to leave the house or he would remove her.

“My son, an 11-year-old boy who suffers from epilepsy, was very traumatised and I ran to the police station to lay a complaint.”

She came back accompanied by a police officer, only to discover he had locked her out and was inside the house removing belongings from the house.

Hendricks says the police officer told Abed to leave but he told the officer he was not evicting her but simply doing maintenance.

After the policeman left, she says Abed continued to lock her out and started to knock down the bathtub in the bathroom and disconnected the water.

Hendricks went back to the police station and with the support of members of Reclaim the City, the campaign for desegregation and affordable housing development in the inner city, which she works for as an intern, Abed left the property. But not before he knocked down and removed the bathtub.

Hendricks approached the tribunal to lodge a formal complaint of unlawful entry and eviction in terms of the Rental Housing Act and Unfair Practices Regulations. She also complained about exorbitant rent and poor maintenance of the property. An inspector from the tribunal has visited and inspected the home.

A document from the tribunal states that: “Any person who unlawfully locks out a tenant or shuts off the utilities to the rental housing property will be guilty of an offence and liable on conviction to a fine or imprisonment not exceeding two years or to both such fine and such imprisonment.”

The tribunal has confirmed receiving the complaint.V Continued on page 4.