Question posted in the Landlord Tenant Law category relating to Gauteng
Hi. My tenant owes me money for outstanding rentals. We have a signed acknowledgement of debt indicating a monthly amount that the tenant would pay me as well as date of the payment. The agreement was signed in February. The tenant did not pay the monthly amount as per the acknowledgment of debt in March. What would be my next steps? Thank you.
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First, well done on getting your tenant to sign an AOD confirming the arrear rental amount owing. Lots of landlords do not do this, only for "the amount" to become an issue later on in court proceedings.
The first thing that you need to do is to send the tenant a letter of demand, referring to the AOD, and the obligations contained therein. You will need to explain that the tenant has not made the payments as per the AOD, and that constitutes a breach of the terms of the AOD. You need to tell the tenant that they have 5 working days to make the payment, otherwise you will issue a summons out of the magistrates court and apply for summary judgment against them.
If they pay; great.
If they do not pay, then you will need to go to the small claims court (if the amount is less than R20k) or to the magistrates court (if the amount is more than R20k) and issue a summons. The summons will need to be served on the tenant by the sheriff. You will then need to appear in court on the assigned day to explain the claim to the magistrate. The tenant will have an opportunity to put up his/her defence, and ultimately the magistrate will need to listen to the evidence and make a ruling.
If your tenant is STILL a tenant in your property, then you should also think about cancelling the lease agreement and getting the tenant to leave the property.