The relationship between a landlord and tenant is a business one, and should be treated as such. When a tenant is in breach of contract, it is best to start the
eviction process as soon as possible. Many landlords will have, at one stage or another, found themselves in the situation where their tenant cannot afford to pay
the rent anymore and, in most cases, the tenant will leave voluntarily. But what happens in the case where the tenant refuses to move out? Some landlords are
too lenient, giving their tenants chance upon chance to rectify situations. Tenants can make many empty promises, which results in a big rental loss. The best is to
remember that this is a business transaction, leave emotions out if it to a point, and also follow the guidance of the rental managing agent as they are the ones
dealing with the tenant from day to day.
It is important that as soon as there is breach in the contract, that is, if the tenant has failed to pay his rent or has gone against any of the conditions stipulated in
the least, the landlord had the right to put the tenant “on terms” notifying him that he will cancel the lease if the breach continues. The warning should be in the
form of a written letter, to remedy the breach within whatever time frame is stipulated under the breach of contract section of the lease, or 20 days according to the
Consumer Protection Act.
If the lease is cancelled, but the tenant refuses to move out, the landlord would then start the eviction process. The landlord cannot take the law into his own
hands and lock the tenant out, nor can he enter the premises and claim items that belong to the tenant to sell in lieu of rent that is due, as this would be theft. It
can take some time to evict a tenant, and an attorney has to apply for an eviction order. Once this has been issued, the Sheriff of the court will serve the notice to
the tenant and the local municipality.
The tenant will be able to state his case at the hearing as to why he should be able to remain and that an eviction order cannot be granted. It has to be
remembered that the courts will only grant the eviction order after considering all the circumstances the courts may not grant an eviction order straight away. The
court tend to regard carefully the rights of the elderly, children, those with disabilities and households headed by a women. They will use their discretion as that
what date the tenant will have to vacate the premises and when the eviction order is to be affected.
By ensuring the tenant’s financial status, previous rental track record, financial behavior and references have all been positive, there is less chance that it will end
in a case of having to chase the tenant for rent each month or that they cannot afford to live in the unit. If the tenant falls behind in their rent, the landlord must take
action immediately and not wait for matters to rectify themselves.
Author: THABO SEBATJANE