Eviction of Residential Tenants

Lynndene Martin




When a tenant is in breach of his lease agreement, the most important question on a landlords mind is, “What legal steps must one take to evict the tenant?”

Evicting tenants are not pleasant and should be avoided at all cost. The old saying that prevention is better than cure holds true when deciding to let out your property.

Eviction in South Africa, whether for a residential or commercial lease, must be legally compliant. It is imperative to have a thorough knowledge of the correct procedures to be followed in specific circumstances.


How to Evict a Residential Tenant


For an eviction to be lawful, the correct process needs to be followed.

No, it does not include changing of locks or disconnecting electricity/water to the property!


If the eviction is handled incorrectly it will delay the process and be more costly in the end.The eviction process begins when a Tenant has seriously breached the lease agreement. This is the sequence that must be followed:

  1. Talk to your tenant. Find out if the problem cannot be solved between the two parties before enlisting any legal action.


  1. Letter of demand:

For a natural person in a fixed-term agreement, 20 days ‘written notice must be given to the tenant.

For a juristic person (a company or business) in a fixed-term agreement, a 7 days’ written notice period must be given.


  1. Cancellation of Lease Agreement

Cancellation of Lease Agreement must be sent to the tenant on a separate document.


  1. Engage an eviction Attorney

It is advisable to approach a reputable attorney to draft an application for eviction.


  1. Ex Parte (one party) application must be made to Court

The courts must be approached and a Judge or Magistrate must be seen in chambers, who will then give consent to proceed with the application and give authorisation of the S4 notices. (Section 4 Notices of PIE act)


  1. Issuing of Notices

The court issues the Notices 14 days before the court hearing to the Tenant and the municipality that has jurisdiction in the area. The Sheriff of the court will be sent to the tenant to serve the Court papers on the relevant parties.

The Notices must include:

  • The proceedings that have been instituted;
  • The date of the hearing;
  • Grounds for the proceedings; and
  • Advising of the rights of appearance


  1. Matter is heard in Court

On the day when the matter is heard in court, it will be heard on the unopposed roll or apposed roll:

  • Unopposed

Where the Lessee does not resist the eviction process and allows it to take its course. Time period is 1 to 3 months.

  • Opposed

Refers to when the Lessee opposes the eviction by instituting counter legal measures. Time period is 3 to 6 months.

If the matter is opposed then further documents shall be served and cross-communication will take place

  1. .Order is granted

The court then will grant the order and advise the tenant by when they must vacate the premises.


  1. If the Tenant does not vacate the premises

The Sheriff of the court would be given the authorisation to remove the tenant’s possessions from the premises.



 Call on RENTALSDOTCOM Dolphin Coast, the Rental division of HARCOURTS Dolphin Coast located in Jack Powell road, Ballito.

The best advice possible is to make use of the services of a reputable and well known Rental agency in your area. At Rentalsdotcom our agents are all registered at the Estate Agents Affairs Board and all are in possession of legal Fidelity Certificates to handle rentals legally and efficiently. We pride ourselves in taking extra care when qualifying   tenants for our landlords, but we also make sure that the properties we rent out to our respected tenants are in good condition and well maintained. Call on RENTALSDOTCOM Dolphin Coast, the Rental division of HARCOURTS Dolphin Coast located in Jack Powell road, Ballito. We are here to make your lease a happy and pleasant experience.

032 946 2331 or dolphincoast@rentalsdotcom.co.za


When looking to rent, call on the best.



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