Follow the correct legal procedures when faced with illegal tenants or non paying tenants.
In South African Law, the eviction of a residential tenant is governed by the Prevention of Illegal Eviction from and Unlawful Occupation of Land Act No. 19 of 1998 (the PIE Act), that lays down strict steps that a tenant must follow to evict an unlawful occupant (a person who occupies land without the express or tacit consent of the owner or person in charge, or without any other right in law to occupy such land).
Always follow the correct legal procedure when dealing with non paying tenants. Actions like changing locks, disconnecting electricity or water supplies, or evicting a tenant by intimidation or force, are typical examples of spoliation or ‘taking the law into one’s own hands’.
These actions will entitle the tenant to bring a spoliation application to the High Court, ordering the landlord to give back occupation to the tenant.
Evictions can only be carried out by the Sheriff of the Court in terms of an Order of Court.
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