Landlords cannot simply evict their tenant as they’re protected by the Prevention of
Illegal Eviction from Unlawful Occupation of Land Act, No. 19 of 1998 (PIE Act). The
act applies to the occupation of premises which constitute a dwelling, which in the
case of a landlord and tenant relationship would be the residential property.
Step 1: Verbal Warning
If the agreed-upon payment date has come and gone, you should immediately
contact your tenant to inform them of the overdue payment. If the tenant is facing
financial difficulties, landlords may agree on a later payment date – however, you are
not obligated to offer this.
Step 2: Written notice of contract breach
Next, you should send your tenant a notice informing them that they have
breached the lease agreement. Landlords should ensure that the lease agreement is
comprehensive and in line with the Consumer Protection Act (CPA). According to the
CPA, landlords are required to provide a notice of at least 20 business days to their
tenant to allow them to rectify the breach.
Step 3: An interdict or cancellation
Should the tenant fail to rectify the breach within the given timeframe, the landlord
has two options – proceed with a summons or immediately cancel the agreement.
If, after the summons is issued, tenants still have not made any attempt to pay
the outstanding rental amount, landlords are within their right to cancel the lease
Step 4: Eviction process
If the agreement is cancelled, tenants will no longer fall under the protection of the
PIE Act and will be regarded as an illegal occupier. According to the PIE Act, the
landlord will then be able to evict their tenant legally. Once the lease is cancelled,
landlords can initiate the summons proceedings and the eviction proceedings
Step 5: Eviction notice
The application to evict an illegal occupier must be made to either a Magistrate’s
Court or the High Court. If the application is unopposed, it can take between 8-10
weeks for the eviction order to be granted. It’s common practice in South Africa to
provide the tenant with at least another 14 days to find new accommodation before
the eviction order is executed.