An eviction happens when a person is legally forced to leave the property he/she is staying on. According to the Constitution, no person’s property may be taken away from him/her and that no person may be evicted from his/her home without a court order. This means that a landlord/landlady (person in charge of a property) must apply to court before evicting a person from the property.
A tenant will receive an eviction notice in the form of a written request from the landlord, to get him/her to vacate the rental property.
According to the South African Constitution, no person’s property may be taken away from him/her and that no person may be evicted from his/her home without a court order. This means that a landlord/landlady (person in charge of a property) must apply to court before evicting a person from the property.
The law does not permit arbitrary evictions. Section 26 of the Constitution says that no one may be evicted from their home, or have their home demolished, without an order of court made after considering all the circumstances. A court must consider how the eviction will affect the people who will be evicted, and evictions cannot be done without valid reason.
Landlords must be aware that unlawful occupiers have rights according to PIE and the Constitution. Regarding PIE, an eviction can only be authorised by a court after taking into account the rights of all people involved.
An eviction notice does not automatically mean that a tenant will be evicted. The notice gives the tenant a set amount of time to either pay the rent they owe, stop their behaviour that violates the lease, or face a formal eviction in court.
Writing up the eviction notice
A tenant can easily argue in court that his/her landlord did not give them adequate notice to begin eviction proceedings. Thus, the landlord must be able to document sending the notice for use as proof in court; this can be done by sending it to the tenant through certified mail.
The landlord must look at the lease and send it during the allocated period, such as after the tenant is over three days late with the rent. The landlord should type up the eviction notice and include the property address, landlord and tenant details, and the particulars for the reason of the eviction (e.g. rent overdue, anti-social behaviour, etc). It is advisable for the landlord to print four copies of the eviction notice, so that he/she can post one on the property, mail one using certified mail, keep one for his/her personal records, and to have one to give to the court.
See related article: How long does an eviction take?