23 Aug 2013
Once DIY landlords have bought their investment property or built additional accommodation on their premises, they are often eager to get tenants into their units quickly.
However, it has to be remembered that all the necessary checking processes must be done before signing a lease agreement with a tenant.
Lanice Steward, managing director of Knight Frank Anne Porter, says if the tenant later realises he can no longer afford the rent but does not want to vacate the property, the landlord will have a problem on his hands.
The law in South Africa provides more protection to tenants than before and it is not unsurprising that landlords feel the current legislation enables tenants to get away with not paying rent or that it offers more protection to the tenant, she says.
Landlords can't simply change the locks or restrict access to the unit, as it is necessary for them to go through all the procedures as prescribed in the Prevention of Illegal Eviction (PIE) Act. This act aims to protect the tenant’s and landlord’s rights simultaneously, it prevents unlawful eviction but it also allows for legitimate eviction of unlawful tenants.
Steward says it is important to follow all the steps to make the eviction a legal one and avoid slip-ups later.
“It must be kept in mind that PIE procedures are lengthy and, depending on the circumstances, it can be a long time before the occupant actually leaves the property." During this time the landlord will not receive an income from the rental and may still have to cover his bond as well as maintenance costs on the property.
Steward says this shows how important it is to go through a full checking process before allowing anyone to occupy your property. She advises DIY landlords to employ a rental agent because he or she will have access to all the necessary tools to do thorough rental track record, and income and affordability checks as part of the rental application.
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