To issue an eviction notice to tenants without a lease in South Africa, you have to notify the tenant – through a letter – to rectify what may have caused you as a landlord to want to evict the tenant. If the tenant does not do anything about the letter you sent, you have to take the case to court.
As a landlord, you must follow the law to evict a tenant. You must follow the Prevention of Illegal Eviction from and Unlawful Occupation of Land Act 1998. As a tenant, you should also know that you have some rights. This article covers everything you should know about how to evict a tenant with a lease in South Africa.
Who Is A Tenant Without Lease In South Africa?
A tenant without a lease is one who a landlord allows to reside on his property and accepts rent from the said tenant, but without a binding legal lease agreement between them.
Renting a residence without a lease agreement is known as a De facto lease. However, the South African government is doing what it can to ensure that tenants and landlords are bound by a lease document that contains the rules and regulations governing the agreement.
This way, the rights of both the landlord and tenant can be protected. However, if you have a tenant without a lease and want to evict them, the law still covers you. Here are reasons why you may want to evict such tenants.
Reasons Why A Landlord May Want To Evict A Tenant
A landlord cannot just wake up and serve an eviction letter to a tenant without a tangible reason and prior notification. As a tenant, you should know what you can do to prompt your landlord to evict you. And as a landlord, you should know what a tenant can do to warrant an eviction. Here are reasons why a landlord may wish to evict a tenant:
- Failure of the tenant to pay rent
- A landlord can evict a tenant if the tenant is guilty of damaging the property.
- Breaking rules that bind the agreement between the landlord and tenant
- If a lease agreement is available, a landlord can evict the tenant when the lease expires.
Now, if your reason as a landlord is valid enough to evict the tenant, you can proceed with the eviction process.
What Is The Eviction Process In South Africa?
Prevention of Illegal Eviction and Occupation of Land Act 19 of 1998 contains the necessary process a landlord has to take when evicting a tenant. This is important to follow to avoid breaking the law.
As landlord and tenant, you should always endeavor to stay on the favored side of the law to prevent facing its wrath if the case finally gets to a court of law. Here are the steps to take;
- Notify the tenant by writing: It is the tenant’s right to be notified that they have breached their agreement with you as the landlord.
- If the tenant fails to rectify what caused the landlord to resort to eviction, then the landlord can continue with the eviction process.
- Inform the tenant about your next decision: At this point, you can now take legal actions, and you should inform the tenant about what you intend to do.
- Apply for an eviction order from a High court or Magistrate court: According to the Prevention of Illegal Eviction and Occupation of Land Act 19 of 1998, you cannot evict a tenant without an order from the court backing your actions.
- Issuance of eviction notice: After applying for an eviction order, the court will issue the notice through the South African court sheriff, who will issue the notice to the tenant and the municipality in charge of the area.
- The tenant is allowed to put up a valid defense why they should not be evicted.
- Trial: If the tenant’s defense is valid enough, then a trial day will be fixed for both the landlord and tenant to put up their cases.
- Eviction Warrant: If the tenant’s defense is not valid, or the landlord wins the trial, then an eviction warrant will be issued to the tenant.
How Much Does an Eviction Order Cost In South Africa?
The cost for an Eviction order in South Africa varies from R5,000 to R15,000. However, it can become more expensive if the tenant puts up a defense. It can even get to R100,000. Another thing you should know is that the court usually gives the tenant 30 days to evict the property. However, the failure of the tenant to do so may delay the process and cost you more money.
Tenant Rights Without a Lease in South Africa
It is important that a landlord and the tenant are aware of a tenant’s rights. As a landlord, abusing a tenant’s right is against the law. Here are the rights of a tenant;
- If the tenant would not pay their rent at the expected date, they are expected to send a ‘notice of breach’ to the landlord stating why you may not be able to pay. The landlord is expected to give the tenant some more time to pay the rent before taking legal action.
- If the property is sold before the lease expires, the tenant should be allowed to stay in the property.
- If there is a lease or agreement or rules guiding the rental of the residence, as long as the tenant obeys the rules, they have the right to remain in the property.
- In a situation where the landlord wants to make changes or renovate the property, it is the tenant’s right to be informed about any changes that may affect him.
- Rental Housing Act 1999 requires that the landlord gives the tenant at least one month’s notice before canceling a lease contract.
- Consumer Protection Act (CPA) allows a tenant to give the landlord 20 working days’ notice before canceling a lease agreement. However, the nature of the agreement may affect this right.
- A landlord does not have the right to evict a tenant without an eviction notice from the court.
- Prevention of Illegal Eviction and Unlawful Occupation of Land Act gives the tenant the right to be heated when they have a defense as to why they should remain on a property.
Are There Such Things As Squatters Right In South Africa?
Yes, there are such things as squatters right in South Africa. In South Africa, a squatter has the right to life, dignity, and equality. A squatter is an unlawful occupant of a property. However, a landlord can only evict a squatter with an eviction notice from the court. And should only evict the squatter so that their basic rights as human beings are not violated.