1. How long does the process take?
It is best to act quickly once a tenant is in arrears, or is in unlawful occupation. There are many reasons for this:
- “Last resort” mindset: the landlord has opted for an eviction application as a last resort, and as such, the battle with the tenant has been ongoing for a long time already by the time the process is even launched. The tenant is also complacent by that time.
- Systemic delays: certain Courts are more burdened than others so there may be waiting periods to get court dates that our out of your attorney’s hands
- Service: residential eviction applications must be served personally, which can take time. The Sheriff’s have a lot of work, so attorneys must budget adequate time for service.
The process may take approximately 2 months to get an order, this may vary on a case by case basis.
2. What can I do to get my lost rental back?
A landlord must issue Summons to claim any arrear rental and damages. This may be a separate action from your eviction application.
3. When can I arrange for a new tenant to move in?
It is advisable not to give a new tenant an occupation date until your Eviction Order has been granted.
4. I have now paid all of the outstanding rental - can I stay on at the premises?
Maybe. The landlord may agree to a settlement wherein you pay all the outstanding monies owed and he will agree to enter into a new lease with you, but the landlord is not obliged to. The landlord may not agree to settle and may insist on proceeding with the eviction application.
5. What non-legal routes are available to me to evict a tenant? e.g. Can I cut off municipal services to incentivize a tenant to vacate?
No, the only way to lawfully evict a tenant, residential or commercial, is with a Court Order. It is unlawful to cut their electricity or municipal services as everyone is entitled to access to these essential services under the Constitution.
6. My lease was cancelled – how long do I have until I must move out?
You must move out immediately, failing which, you run the risk of the landlord applying to Court to evict you.