Can a landlord evict you without a 30 day notice?
A frequently asked question by landlords and tenants alike is whether a landlord can evict a tenant without a 30 day notice?
The short answer is: no; but it depends.
One cannot evict anyone without proper legal notification.
This means that one must notify a tenant in writing of any intention to evict them.
This notice needs to be delivered to the tenant, usually at the property.
The manner of service of the notice matters.
We recommend that you serve a legal notification by at least registered mail to the property, and hand deliver to the tenant at the property, with a witness.
If the tenant refuses to accept the notice, or is not at the property at the time of hand delivery, then once can affix the notice to the boundary gate, or front door.
Take a photograph of this, and depose to a service affidavit to this effect, with the witness also confirming this, by means of a confirmatory affidavit.
This can be done at the local South African police station, law firm, or with any duly authorised South African commissioner of oaths.
These delivery tactics will ensure you generate sufficient evidence of delivery.
There can be no question regarding giving proper notice.
Some times a landlord will WhatsApp or email the notice; this is not sufficient in our opinion.
If one goes to court to get an eviction order, a Judge/Magistrate wants to see evidence that an owner/landlord has notified the occupier/tenant of their intention to effect.
While an occupier may acknowledge receipt of notices send electronically, it has been our experience that courts want more than this.
If you do not give proper notice, and launch a court application, you may get to court, and have your matter dismissed because you failed to properly attend to this important pre-court step.
This will waste a lot of time and money.
Since eviction applications involve constitutional rights to adequate housing, a fundamental right, courts are conservative when ordering any infringement of this right.
At the very least, they want to see that the pre court procedures have been followed.
No Judge will order an eviction, if an occupier has not been adequately notified of circumstances negatively affecting their rights to housing.
Different circumstances require different notice periods, but in general, one needs to give 30 days notice before approaching court.
It is insufficient to just send a notice, which is essentially a letter, wait for the time to expire, and then remove the occupier yourself.
At the end of the notice period, that is the time to apply to court for a court order.
You will need the help of an experienced eviction lawyer to do this.
The process is too technical, and if one tries to do it oneself, one will make mistakes that will cost even more time and money.
The eviction process, post notification stage, involves drafting and serving various affidavits, and approaching court on at least two occasions; more if the matter is opposed.
In our next article we will discuss the difference between an unopposed and an opposed eviction.
In conclusion, one cannot evict without a 30 day notice. If you try do this, you may act illegally, and may face serious negative legal consequences.
Email Simon at firstname.lastname@example.org for more about what to do and not do to successfully navigate the eviction process.