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Eviction process during level 3 lockdown

Eviction process during level 1 lockdown. FILE PHOTO .photograph :Phando Jikelo/African News Agency(ANA)

Eviction process during level 1 lockdown. FILE PHOTO .photograph :Phando Jikelo/African News Agency(ANA)

Published Jul 4, 2020

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DURBAN - The Coronavirus pandemic has caused many job losses, salary reduction which has led to inability of many people, especially tenants to continue paying their rent, effectively defaulting on contractual agreements with their landlords.

Since the country moved to level 3 Sheriff services have resumed, and the Deeds Office is open, and evictions are still not permitted but an application for an eviction order may be brought before the courts.

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According to Pearl Scheltema, CEO of Fitzanne Estates this means that an attorney is permitted to prepare an order for eviction, which may be granted during level 3, however the order will be suspended and cannot be executed until the last day of level 3.

“There are many steps involved and you must follow them in order. Eviction is a legal process that must be conducted via the courts and requires an eviction attorney. A landlord cannot evict a tenant without going through due process of law,”

“If you were in a position of having an overall good tenant who usually paid rent on time and he has only defaulted due to lockdown, I would recommend you to be a little more lenient. Allow the tenant time to negotiate a plan with you,” advises Scheltema.

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The eviction process

Step 1: Written notice

If you decide to go ahead with the eviction process, you must start by giving the tenant written notice that they have breached the contract and allow them time to make good on paying their rent.

Step 2: Letter of cancellation

However, if the breach is not remedied, the next step is to serve a letter of cancellation on the tenant. With luck, the tenant vacates the property at the end of the notice period. If so, you are free to find another tenant.

Step 3: Eviction

You must apply to the court to have an eviction notice served by the sheriff on the tenant – who is now considered an unlawful occupier rather than a tenant. A court date is set and a deadline given for the unlawful occupier to file an opposing affidavit to oppose the eviction.

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