How to Evict a Tenant

Importance of following the correct eviction process

The correct tenant eviction process needs to be followed in order for an eviction to be lawful. If the attempted eviction is done incorrectly, as per the Prevention of Illegal Eviction Act (PIE), then this will at the very least cause costly delays, and at worst the landlord can be imprisoned.

Types of tenant evictions in South Africa

There are 3 tenant eviction procedures:

1. Normal eviction process
2. Urgent eviction process
3. Organs of state specialised eviction process

If you can prove, among other things, that imminent harm will be caused by your tenant, if they are not quickly evicted, then an Urgent Eviction may be available to you (contact us for “urgent eviction” implementation)

Eviction step by step

The process begins when the tenant seriously breaches the lease agreement and follows these steps:

  1. Landlord serves notice to the tenant to rectify the breach.*
  2. If the breach is not rectified, the landlord can terminate the lease contract.**
  3. Landlord gives notice to the offending tenant of the intention to evict the tenant through the courts.
  4. Landlord applies to court to have a “tenant eviction order” issued to the tenant.
  5. The court issues the “Tenant eviction order” to the tenant and the municipality that has jurisdiction in the area 14 days before the court hearing.
  6. Court hearing occurs where the tenant needs to prove a valid defence.
  7. If there is a valid defence, then a trial date is set. If there is no valid defence, a “warrant of eviction” is issued to the sheriff giving authorisation for the sheriff to remove the tenant’s possessions from the premises.***
  8. A trial begins or the court sheriff removes the tenant’s possessions from the premises
*   It is best for the landlord to hire an Eviction Lawyer as early as possible to avoid delays and issues.
**  If the tenant does not vacate a landlord’s property willingly then the legal eviction process must begin.
*** If the tenant decides to defend their position, the landlord may be able to secure a summary judgement against the tenant. (This is a great example where Eviction Lawyers can improve a landlord’s chances of success!)

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