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

The process to approval for extending a Sectional Title Units

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.

Follow Snymans on Facebook for more legal advice, information and news about property.

Recommended for you

Buying tenanted properties - don’t get caught out
Contractual Matters

Electronic signatures and the virtual commissioning of affidavits[post_view before=""]

In our June newsletter, we looked at an interesting court decision handed down in 2020 by the Eastern Cape Division of the High Court of South Africa, related to the application of electronic signatures to offers to purchase land. Last year, the electronic signing of documents once again came under the spotlight in the case of Firstrand Bank Limited v Jacques Louis Briedenhann. Interestingly, this decision was also handed down by the Eastern Cape Division of the High Court, which appears to be making groundbreaking decisions in this regard.

Read More
Property Blog Articles | Advice | Contractual Matters | Market News
Contractual Matters

The property professional’s checklist for dealmaking[post_view before=""]

The property professional plays a critical role in the process of buying and selling real estate. When ‘making the deal’, they must engage with the seller to collect information and documentation that will be needed throughout the process. At the time of taking the mandate, it is crucial that they clarify certain facts and obtain specific information and documentation in order to pre-empt any issues that may arise, thus saving time.

Read More
Buying tenanted properties - don’t get caught out
Contractual Matters

Electronic signatures and OTPs[post_view before=""]

As we live in an online world, and because of the recent pandemic, electronic signatures are becoming more commonplace – and an increasing number of buyers and sellers are asking to sign their OTPs electronically.

Read More
Minors and immovable property
Contractual Matters

When ownership of immovable property is vested in a company[post_view before=""]

There are instances where ownership of land is vested in a company. Typically, a company is registered, usually with one or two directors, and such company then takes transfer of the immovable property. The land is then held in the name of the legal entity (being the company), with the individuals or directors who intend to stay there holding shares in the company.

Read More
Property Blog Articles | Advice | Contractual Matters | Market News
Contractual Matters

An ethical approach to fee discounts[post_view before=""]

Legal fees are regulated by tariff guidelines, which are issued by the Rules Board in terms of the Legal Practice Act. Although these tariffs are guidelines, they are typically followed in the conveyancing industry. As a result, if fees are ever queried, they can usually be backed up by the regulations issued in the Government Gazette from time to time.

Read More

Need more Snymans content?

Sign up for our monthly newsletter.

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

The process to approval for extending a Sectional Title Units

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.

Follow Snymans on Facebook for more legal advice, information and news about property.