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Eviction news Archives | Eviction Lawyers South Africa

Alert Level 1 evictions granted as long as they are just and equitable

By | COVID 19, Eviction law case summaries, Eviction news, Lease Agreement

A recent case from the Swartland shows fair consideration for all parties in an eviction

In the early stages of the National State of Disaster brought on by COVID-19, evictions were not allowed. It would have been politically contentious and downright unfair for people to be evicted from their homes just when we were all required to stay at home. As hard lockdown gave way to gradually lessening restrictions, the status of eviction orders also changed. For a while eviction orders could be granted but not executed, unless a tenant posed a danger to the landlord or the property. Now, as we near the ninth month of the State of Disaster, there is light at the end of the tunnel for property owners. Alert Level 1 evictions are being granted. In this article we look at the factors that constitute a reasonable eviction case. 

Case by case

We have reviewed recent cases that have resulted in successful Alert Level 1 evictions, and have gained an understanding as to what the courts consider to be fair (or ‘just and equitable’ in law). Furthermore, there are time parameters that must be met before the court will order the Sheriff to physically evict the tenant. 

Philander v Makiet 

While PIE and other rental housing legislation protects tenants against impetuous and unfair treatment by landlords, owners also have the right to the use and enjoyment of their property. As such, they must be allowed to evict a tenant who is illegally occupying premises. In an effort to ensure both parties’ rights are respected, confusion has arisen as to what the courts will allow. Several cases have been heard that have helped the courts to define just and equitable eviction proceedings during this unprecedented time. 

The case of Philander v Makiet was a significant watershed, decided by three judges in the Western Cape High Court. Although they arrived at the same conclusion, two of the judges expressed quite different reasons for their opinions. The judgment clearly explains the factors they considered in granting the Alert Level 1 eviction order, and what conditions must be present generally in the current environment. 

In determining justness and equality, the court stressed that all relevant circumstances should be considered. What exactly are those circumstances? The judgment states: “Among those circumstances the availability of alternative land and the rights and needs of people falling into specific vulnerable groups are singled out for consideration.” In this case the tenant was a 19-year-old male with no dependants, whose grandparents and sister lived not far away.

The time frame also matters 

The availability of alternative accommodation is a key consideration. The time frame given for the tenant to vacate the premises is also important. And it must be reasonable not only for the tenant but also for the property owner: “…what date would be just and equitable upon which the eviction order should take effect. Once again, the date that it determines must be one that is just and equitable to all parties.”

In Philander v Makiet, the tenant was originally given notice to vacate the property, fully within the terms of PIE and the Consumer Protection Act, more than 18 months previously. There was ample time to find suitable alternative accommodation. As there was no cooperation on the part of the tenant, and considering a wide array of circumstances, the court awarded eviction from the premises, to be vacated by 31 October. This was more than a month from the date of the eviction order.  

Secure a successful eviction

This case demonstrates that the courts will grant an eviction order under Alert Level 1, allowing tenants a reasonable time frame to find alternative accommodation and vacate the property. If you are a landlord seeking eviction, you must make sure you can prove that your eviction is just and equitable. The illegal occupancy of the premises is not the only factor the court will look at. A judge will want to be satisfied that the tenant has access to alternative accommodation. Courts need to know that tenants will not be left destitute and without shelter. 

You can facilitate this process by requiring your tenant to provide an address for potential alternative accommodation in the lease agreement. This will ensure they have a viable option, should you need to terminate the lease, and the court will be assured of the tenant’s security if you have to apply for an eviction order under Alert Level 1. 

For further information

SD Law is a law firm in Cape Town and Johannesburg with specialist eviction lawyers. If you are seeking an eviction, we can advise you on how to construct your case to meet the court’s requirements, as evidenced by recent case decisions. Contact Simon at Cape Town Eviction Attorneys on 086 099 5146 or email sdippenaar@sdlaw.co.za.

Further reading:

CAMPS BAY MANSION OCCUPIERS SERVED WITH EVICTION ORDER

By | Eviction news, Eviction notice, Eviction orders, Evictions, Rent

The seven activists legally booked the house more than a week ago but have overstayed their welcome.

Image 123rf.com

CAPE TOWN – A group of activists illegally occupying a mansion in Camps Bay have been served with an eviction order.

The seven activists legally booked the house more than a week ago but have overstayed their welcome.

They only paid for a weekend.

Turnkey Property Management group said that it had been left with no other option but to take legal action.

The property management company had given the activists a chance to leave the house but they wouldn’t budge and pushed ahead with their protest.

Law professor, Elmien du Plessis said that before the COVID-19 lockdown under the Prevention of Illegal Evictions Act, homeowners had to first go to court then only would an eviction order be granted if deemed justifiable.

But under the state of disaster, she said that things worked differently now.

“The court will decide whether the people can be evicted and if the court says that it is just and equitable, then the court will give a date on which the people must leave the premises. That date, because of the regulations, may be suspended until after the state of disaster.”

Du Plessis said that it would be interesting to see in this case where people had rented holiday accommodation through Airbnb, if they would be deemed “illegal occupiers” in terms of the legislation.

Meanwhile, UWC land expert, Professor Ruth Hall said that under level 3, landlords or property owners could apply for eviction orders but it could not be enforced but now people could be evicted.

She added that one did not usually see this type of occupation.

“This eviction can be enforced, so this means that if a court order is made for the eviction of this group, it will be legal for them to be evicted.”

Contact us

Simon Dippenaar & Associates, Inc. is a firm of specialist eviction lawyers, based in Cape Town and now operating in Johannesburg and Durban, helping both landlords and tenants with the eviction process. Contact one of our eviction attorneys on 086 099 5146 or sdippenaar@sdlaw.co.za if you need advice on the eviction process or if you are facing unlawful eviction.

Reprinted from EWN by Kaylynn Palm

Further Reading:

UPDATE:

Camps Bay collective rejects housing assistance as eviction deadline looms

CoJ anti-invasion unit to tackle land grabs

By | Eviction news, Evictions

Reprinted from joburg.org.za – 2020-08-18

City of Joburg tackles land grabs

The recent upsurge in the number of illegal land invasions has prompted the City and the Gauteng Provincial Government to launch an anti-land invasion unit to stem the tide.

Joburg tackles land grabs

The Executive Mayor, Geoff Makhubo, Gauteng MEC for Human Settlements Lebogang Maile, MEC for Infrastructure Development Tasneem Motara and Faith Mazibuko, the MEC for Community Safety launched the unit in Lenasia, south of Johannesburg on Monday, 17 August.

“I am glad that we are working together with the Gauteng province to push back these land-grabbing syndicates. We need to discourage the illegal occupation of land,” says Cllr Makhubo.

As part of the strategy to combat land grabs, Cllr Makhubo says over 1 500 patrollers will be deployed to assist the JMPD police invasions.

In addition, the City will intensify the full rollout of the Rapid Land Response Programme, which affords’ residents serviced stands to build themselves houses.

“We have developed a strategy to prevent land grabs from imploding in our City,” notes the Mayor.

Cllr Makhubo concedes that the City faces a plethora of urban development challenges relating to unemployment, climate change adaptation and spatial transformation. To ensure liveable communities and shelter for all, the City intends to address homelessness and landlessness by focusing on housing and land provision.

He says the municipality will increase housing stock, speed up the delivery of title deeds to state-subsidised housing, update housing policies and explore solutions to incorporate problem buildings (and their residents) into the municipal housing plan.

“The City will provide access to affordable, improved and mixed housing that will contribute to reducing social inequalities, improve social integration and strengthen the drive towards sustainable urbanisation,” the Mayor explains.

Free rudimentary service delivery will be expanded in informal settlements through the rollout of water, electricity and sanitation. Access to communal standpipes and sanitation in the form of Ventilated Improved Pit (VIPs), waterborne toilets and ablution blocks will also be provided.

“This will ensure that disadvantaged communities can equally access basic services associated with dignity and health.”

Cllr Makhubo says the municipality is working to improve existing infrastructure through upgrading, maintenance and renewal/replacement projects.

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Simon Dippenaar & Associates, Inc. is a firm of specialist eviction lawyers, based in Cape Town and now operating in Johannesburg and Durban, helping both landlords and tenants with the eviction process. Contact one of our eviction attorneys on 086 099 5146 or sdippenaar@sdlaw.co.za if you need advice on the eviction process or if you are facing unlawful eviction.

Further reading: