Buying an investment property is great, especially when you’ve chosen a good location. One thing no property owner wants to deal with, however, is being the landlord to a problem tenant. Whether the issues are around late rent, or them not adhering to the code of conduct of your property, it leaves you as the landlord in a difficult position.
So then, how does one go about addressing serious issues with tenants, and how soon can you consider eviction? Read on to learn more about eviction, and how to go about it if necessary.
Essentially, eviction is when a landlord or property owner retracts or denies consent for someone to occupy their property. When one is evicted, they are legally required to leave the property within the timeframe of doing so. However, in order to protect tenant rights, no arbitary evictions are allowed.
As the landlord, you will be required to provide a reasonable explanation as to why you wish to evict your tenant. Giel Viljoen, Principal Leapfrog Stellenbosch, says that following the correct procedure is crucial in the eviction process. “If you have had constant issues with your tenant, make sure you are aware of your rights as a landlord, and the rights of the tenant before issuing notice of eviction”, says Viljoen. “Illegal evictions may lead to delays that leave you stuck with a problem tenant for much longer if the legalities are not properly observed.”
The proper processes can be reviewed in the Prevention of Illegal Eviction from and Unlawful Occupation of Property Act (“PIE Act”). Essentially, you may evict a tenant if they qualify as an unlawful occupier, which could be considered the case if you have an expired lease agreement which previously gave them the right to occupy the property, if your tenant has not being paying rent, or if extensive damage to the property has been done and you’ve withdrawn consent for the tenant to continue renting your property.
The eviction process
If you decide to go ahead with evicting your tenant, the process can be explained in a few steps:
Notify your tenant in writing that they no longer have the right to occupy the property. In this notice, it’s important to provide a reasonable timeframe for the tenant to seek new living arrangements.
Secondly, if the tenant does not adhere to your notice of eviction, you may approach the court for assistance. Your application will be heard in court.
You will need to provide your tenant with notice of the court hearing, and provide it to them in writing (personally served).
During the hearing, both landlord and tenant need to be present in court. As with the landlord, the tenant also has the right to seek legal counsel and have their lawyer present in court.