A Landlords Guide to the Tenant Eviction Process in South Africa – How to Evict a Tenant:
It is important that the correct Tenant eviction process 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, then this will at the very least cause costly delays, and at worst the Landlord can be imprisoned.
Types of Tenant eviction processes in South Africa
There are 3 Tenant eviction procedures:
- Normal eviction process.
- Urgent eviction process.
- 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.
The Tenant Eviction Process in South Africa:
Begins from when the Tenant seriously breaches the lease agreement
- Landlord serves notice to the Tenant to rectify the breach.*
- If no rectification occurs, the Landlord can terminate the lease contract.**
- Give notice to the offending Tenant that the Landlord intends to evict the Tenant through the courts.
- Apply to court to have a “Tenant eviction order” issued to the Tenant.
- The court issues the “Tenant eviction order” 14 days before the court hearing to the Tenant and the municipality that has jurisdiction in the area.
- Court hearing occurs where Tenants just need to prove that they have a valid defense.
- If there is a valid defense, then a trial date is set otherwise if there is no valid defense, a “warrant of eviction” is issued to the sheriff giving authorisation for the sheriff to remove the Tenant’s possessions off the premises.***
A trial begins or the court sheriff removes the Tenant’s possessions off 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.
*** Should the Tenant decide to defend his/her position, a summary judgement can be attempted to be secured against the Tenant.