A landlord’s worst nightmare is a bad tenant who does not pay or receives complaints that you have to deal with.
When it comes to disorderly tenant behaviour, any and all issues should be dealt with timeously and in a firm manner. Any issues with your current tenant, whether it is in an apartment complex or a residential property, will be the responsibility of the landlord.
This may seem daunting to you as a property owner and perhaps you are thinking, “This isn’t what I signed up for” but it should highlight the importance and benefit of working with a knowledgeable rental agent.
Faircape conducts strict screenings on all potential tenants with the aim of weeding out any potential red flag tenants, leaving you with exemplary tenants. If you are already saddled with a less than satisfactory tenant, there are a number of routes to take to either ensure a standard is kept or to evict as soon as is legally possible.
How to solve bad tenant behaviour
Unfortunately, screening or not, you can’t control who your tenant brings to your property. You can also not predict a tenant not paying on time or at all, but you can solve the issue legally and fairly.
According to the Consumer Protection Act, landlords are required to give at least 20 business days’ notice to a tenant if they are in breach of their rental contract in any way. A breach of contract may include non-payment, damage to property and disorderly conduct.
If there is proof that the tenant did not remedy the breach in contract within the given time, the agreement can be cancelled and the process of evicting the tenant can ensue.
How Detailed Is Your Lease Agreement?
The more detailed a lease agreement the better for both renters and landlords alike. If a tenant misbehaves in a sectional title complex or residential estate, trustees of the estate are allowed to impose fines for any bad behaviour or estate rules violated. This includes any damage to any property in a common area.
These fines are passed on to the property owner in the form of their levy account. It is thus vital that your rental agreement is as detailed and inclusive as possible to avoid paying for your tenant’s misconduct.
Professional rental agents have access to highly detailed leases that are drafted by attorneys familiar with the Rental Housing Act. This means both parties’ rights are accounted for and leaves no room for misconduct from any side.
2 types of tenant eviction processes in SA
- Normal Eviction Process
- Urgent Eviction Process
If you can prove, among other things, that imminent harm will be caused by your tenant, if they are not quickly evicted, then an Urgent Eviction may be available to you.
It is best for the landlord to hire a lawyer specialising in eviction as soon as possible in order to avoid delays and issues.
If the tenant does not vacate the property willingly, the legal eviction process must begin. This begins as soon as the tenant irrecoverably breaches the lease agreement, resulting in its cancellation.
Normal Tenant Eviction Process in South Africa:
- Landlord serves notice to the tenant to remedy the breach.
- If no remediation occurs, the Landlord may terminate the rental agreement.
- Eviction notice is given to offending tenant and stipulates that the landlord intends to evict the tenant through use of a court proceeding.
- Apply to court to have a “Tenant eviction order” issued to tenant.
- The court issues the “Tenant eviction order” 14 days before the court hearing to the tenant and the municipality that has jurisdiction in the area.
- Court hearing occurs where tenants just need to prove that they have a valid defence.
- If there is a valid defence, a trial date is set otherwise a “warrant of eviction” is issued to the sheriff and gives authorisation for the sheriff to remove the tenant’s possessions from the premises.
- A trial begins or the court sheriff removes the tenant’s possessions from the premises.
Leave it up to the professionals
Your first two options are, of course, a nasty and time-consuming procedure to go through as a landlord. Listing your rental property with a reputable rental agency gives you access to industry experts who understand all property laws and proceedings.
Real estate agents are also aware of all potential pitfalls or loopholes that may be present in your current rental agreement that you may not be aware and could prove meddlesome in the future.