Question posted in the Landlord Tenant Law category relating to Eastern Cape
Hi. My tenant breached the lease agreement multiple times with late rent payments and failing to pay rent. She's made promises to pay on certain dates but then doesn't pay and then she doesn't contact me to explain; I have to contact her and then she just makes more promises that she doesn't fulfill. This has happened multiple times. The lease stipThe rent is R5500 per month and due on 1st of each month; the unpaid rent currently amounts to R12 200. I have issued her with notice, today 23/11/20, requesting her to pay the amount within 7 days according to lease agreement. I informed her she does not pay, formal eviction proceedings will commence. If she doesn't pay by day 7; can I issue a letter of immediate termination of the lease request her vacate the property within 20 working days? The lease agreement stipulates that she is liable for costs resulting from the breach of the lease; attorney fees included.
Information Requested by Lawyer
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Answer to the Question
According to the Rental Housing Act 1999, section 4(5)(c) a landlord may terminate a lease if the tenant is in breach of contract on grounds that do not constitute unfair practice.The landlord is required to give the tenant at least 20 working days to remedy the situation, depending on the severity of the breach in question, after which the landlord may terminate the agreement.
So, your notice giving 7 days is not good enough. You need to send a new notice giving 20 working days to remedy (catch up the arrears) whereafter you can terminate the agreement.
You can also demand that she vacates the leased premises on the 20th day. That's fine. If you cancel the lease then she can't remain there and must move.
If she doesn't move, you will then need to institute eviction proceedings in the magistrates court to get her out! The issue there is that you will need an attorney because the practice is quite technical. It might also take between 4 and 8 months to get her out...
But, if your lease agreement says that she will be liable for the attorneys fees, then you can get an order in that regard and recover the lawyers fees from her.
But if she can't pay her rental, how will she pay your lawyer?!