The owner of a property is required to continue to supply utilities to the property even when the occupant is in illegal occupation. The reason for this is that utility supply is incidental to occupation, so disconnection without a court order amounts to spoliation, as this is seen by our law as deprivation of possession. The effect of this to the owner is that, she is not just losing the monthly rental income, but must incur the actual expense of utility supply.
Obtaining an eviction order, to remove the non-paying tenant as soon as possible, is always our primary focus, but due to the technicality of the eviction process it may sometimes take a few weeks longer than we were all hoping for. While patiently waiting for the eviction process to unfold, in compliance with the court rules and legislation, your utility bills are continuing to stream in, and so are your sleepless nights. The solution to this drama is to run a separate application to have the illegal occupant’s water supply limited and the electricity supply disconnected parallel to the eviction. This is a valuable treasure for the property industry which is aimed at softening the blow to owners when dealing with an illegal occupant refusing to vacate.
Don’t be trapped by the utility consuming dragon, allow the knight in shining armour to flick the switch on your troubles.
At the forefront of consumer protection law in South Africa is the Consumer Protection Act (the “CPA”). Section 14 of the CPA is of particular importance to the landlord-tenant relationship, but it may not always be clear if such...