by Taryn Herbert
Thinking that buying a residential property would be an excellent investment? Please take a moment to read the following on the legal framework regarding evictions to avoid future frustration, lengthily delays and large legal bills.
As its name suggests, the Prevention of Illegal Eviction From and of Unlawful Occupation of Land Act 19 of 1998 (‘the Act’) was introduced to prohibit illegal evictions and to provide procedures for lawful eviction. Although this Act was welcomed by tenants, it has been a thorn in the sides of landlords who own residential property.
Whilst the Act does not deprive the landlord of any of his rights, it severely delays his ability to enforce his rights. A landlord may not, for example, merely decide to evict the person living in their premises. In order to achieve this objective, the landlord must firstly comply with a number of procedural requirements set out in the Act and lastly secure a court order evicting the person from his premises.
A landlord who fails to abide by this procedure and evicts without a court order, can be held liable for either a fine or to imprisonment.
The landlord is therefore forced to rely on an Act which seems to not only perpetuate his loss of rental income but cause him to incur further costs in the form of legal fees. This Act therefore seems to be failing in its obligations towards assisting the party who is acting legally in this relationship, the landlord.
Help for the landlord, however, seems to be on the way in the form of the Act’s Amendment Bill. There is much hope that this Amendment will restore the speedy assistance that the landlord seeks from the law in this situation.
But, until then, if you wish to invest in property on a buy to rent basis, perhaps a more rewarding and less frustrating route to go, would be to rather invest in commercial property and thereby avoid having to rely on the Act discussed above.