Eviction has loomed large in the public eye recently due to a spate of forced evictions across the country – at the time of writing this, violence in Lwandle township is ongoing due to the tension caused by proposed evictions.
This raises serious issues around forced removals, especially the potential for tenant abuse.
Landlords who fail to properly acquaint themselves with the law, and/or mistreat their tenants, may quickly find themselves civilly and criminally liable.
Some landlord’s are tempted to cut-off the electricity, turn off the water, and even kick their tenants off the property, the instant their tenant’s breach the terms of any lease agreement.
It is not necessary to go into the details of the Lwandle case to see the cautionary tale it represents: landlords who take the law into their own hands, may find themselves in a legal quagmire, where they face highly sensitive social – and complicated legal – challenges.
The point is this: it really cannot be stressed enough that landlords must always act in accordance with the law when pursuing an eviction. There is a strict process that needs to be followed.
Yes, the applicable law is complex – but this is not an excuse to ignore its requirements. After all, a misstep in the laws application, may end up costing a landlord far more than mere monthly rental; a landlord may face adverse cost orders, delays in regaining the use of their property. Worse still, landlords may even face heavy fines and possible jail time if they don’t comply with the law.
Therefore, it is imperative that a landlord obtain the proper permission from the relevant Courts, before taking any action against their tenants.
For this reason, it is imperative that a landlord, who finds himself in the unfortunate position of having to evict a tenant – for whatever reason – contacts an attorney who has a full understanding of the laws in question.
If you are a landlord (or a tenant) who needs guidance about your rights and obligations regarding an eviction, get in touch with us on: 021 439 5208 or visit our microsite at www.evictionlawyer.co.za for free information about your rights and the eviction process.
We operate nationally, and have the necessary experience to guide you safely and efficiently through this legal mindfield, without causing any unnecessary liability or delay.