LEVEL 4 REGULATIONS ON EVICTIONS
The Alert Level 4 Regulations were released to the public explaining exactly what Level 4 will entail for the South African public. One of the regulations, specifically Regulation 19, deals with the prohibition of evictions and has a big effect on our property industry. The Regulation reads as follows:
A competent court may grant an order for the eviction of any person from land or a home in terms of the provisions of the Extension of Security of Tenure Act 62 of 1997 and the Prevention of Illegal Eviction and Unlawful Occupation of Land Act 19 of 1998: Provided that any order of eviction shall be stayed and suspended until the last date of alert Level 4, unless a court decides that it is not just and equitable to stay and suspend the order until the last day of the Alert Level 4 period.
However, what exactly does this mean for evictions? Can a landlord evict a tenant from its premises?
The answer is quite simple. This regulation allows a property owner to approach a court in order to obtain an order for the eviction of a tenant or illegal occupier from the leased premises. However, once the order has been granted by a court, the order will only be able to be carried out once the national state of disaster is reduced to Level 3 or to a later time that the court determines to be just and inequitable. In simpler terms, a landlord has the ability to get his eviction order but the actual act of executing the court order and ejecting the occupier from the premises will have to wait until after Level 4. During this time, it still remains that, all tenants occupying a premises remain liable to pay the rental. We would like to remind landlords and tenants alike of the importance to communicate and attempt to resolve problems that might arise in situations where tenants are struggling to meet their financial commitments. Our recommendation is that this communication is done in writing because we will need to demonstrate to a court that the landlord did attempt to accommodate the tenant that cannot afford to pay rent, but the landlord does not have the financial means to allow the tenant a reduced or a differed rental payment. Communication will be key in the evictions resulting from the effects of COVID 19 on the economy.
SSLR incorporated and its attorneys are allowed to function effectively during Alert Level 4 and will continue to work to ensure that each landlord obtains their eviction order. Our secretaries will be in the office and our attorney will be working remotely to get the eviction applications going. And once we have succeeded in obtaining our orders and Level 4 has been reduced to Level 3, we will be executing our eviction orders immediately to ensure the best service for all of our clients.
Please feel free to contact us for clarity on these matters, don’t fear you will not be charged to ask a quick question. We will always discuss our billing with you or provide you with a quotation before we commence with an instruction. Stay safe.