What to do when tenants refuse to leave

Eviction is a tricky process and one which needs to be handled correctly to avoid any legal repercussions. Find out which steps the eviction procedure follows.

May 23, 2016

If the correct process is not followed, the landlord may be punished by the courts and in the most severe cases, imprisoned.

Tenants are protected by the Prevention of Illegal Eviction Act to avoid mistreatment. What this means for the landlord is that, should there be reasons as to why the tenant must vacate the property, the correct legal processes must be followed.

The eviction procedure typically follows these steps:

Breach of contract: A valid reason for evicting a tenant is when they are in breach of their contract, i.e. they have not fulfilled their part of the lease agreement. Most commonly, this takes the form of non-payment of rental, although it may include misuse of the property or contravening any clauses contained within the lease agreement. Bearing in mind, only clauses that are in line with relevant legislation are enforceable.

Notice to the tenant: The landlord must give written notice to the tenant detailing the non-compliance and requesting obligations to be fulfilled. If reparations are made, the eviction process will not proceed. However, if despite this notice, the tenant’s behaviour does not change within the stipulated time period (typically 20 days in accordance with the Consumer Protection Act), the process will continue.

Cancelling the agreement: If no correction is made, the landlord may cancel the lease agreement and give notice of the intention of eviction through legal channels.

Eviction application: The landlord may then apply to the courts for an eviction order which is delivered to the tenant 2 weeks before the hearing date.

Court hearing and summons: The court hearing is an opportunity for both sides of the dispute to be heard. If the tenant has a valid defense, the matter will go to trial on a specified date. However, if no valid defense is heard, the courts will order the removal of the tenant from the relevant property. This will be managed by the sheriff who will be authorised by the courts to remove the tenant and all his belonging from the property on the given date.

The important thing to remember is to ensure everything is done in line with the correct legal proceedings and as such, you should always work in conjunction with an attorney who can assist.

Written by Wessel de Kock

Client Testimonials
I would like to say a big thank you to the entire team at Snymans Inc for providing such exceptional service with the sale of my property.  I would most definitely recommend your company to others.
- Lucy Snyman
Client Testimonials
Thank you so much to Chloe for all the hard work done and the professional service you give my clients.
- Michele le Roux
Client Testimonials
Thank you team Snymans, you guys were excellent. Many thanks to Stacey and the whole team involved. Most appreciated!
- Loretta & Brian
Client Testimonials
We would like to express our heartfelt appreciation of the welcoming, excellent and professional service we have received from your whole team. We definitely know where to turn for our future business and transfers.
- Lyzette & Dr Nel