Evicting a tenant is never an easy process. Following correct procedures and seeking out the advice of a rental expert can minimise the stress and streamline the process.
“The Prevention of Illegal Eviction from Unlawful Occupation of Land Act protects tenants from being unlawfully evicted. If the need ever arises, landlords will have to follow the correct legal procedures around evictions to ensure that the whole process runs smoothly,” says Adrian Goslett, Regional Director and CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa.
If the agreed-upon payment date has come and gone, Goslett recommends that the landlord or managing rental agent make contact with the tenant immediately to inform them of the overdue payment.
“Do not allow too much time to pass before pointing out the late payment and never let a late or missed payment go unnoticed. If the tenant is facing financial difficulties, landlords may agree on a later payment date – however, you are not obligated to offer this,” he notes.
If the tenant continues to fail to make payment, the landlord or managing rental agent needs to issue a Mora Letter (also known as a letter of demand) to notify them that they have breached the lease agreement. According to the Consumer Protection Act (CPA), landlords are required to provide a notice of at least 20 business days to their tenant to allow them to rectify the breach.
Once the timeframe has lapsed and payment still has not been received, the landlord may proceed to cancel the lease and will then need to begin the eviction process if the tenant refuses to vacate the property.
“Throughout this process, it is advisable to seek legal council to ensure that the correct procedures are followed. Acting outside of the law to try and force a tenant to vacate will likely only further delay the eviction process and could provide the tenant with more reason to cause delays if the matter goes to court,” Goslett advises.
He also recommends that landlords involve the expertise of a rental professional from the very beginning of the tenancy. “As experts in the industry, real estate professionals have the necessary tools and expertise to properly vet tenants and manage the billing process to minimise the risks posed to the landlord. To ensure the highest quality of service, all RE/MAX agents have access to an acclaimed rental agent training program provided by the renowned legal professional Cilna Steyn, Managing Director & Co-Founder of SSLR. That’s why landlords can enjoy greater peace of mind when working with a qualified RE/MAX agent.”
While evicting a tenant is never an easy process, leaning on the expertise of industry professionals will assist landlords towards a more manageable eviction process.