If you are a landlord/ lady to “the tenant from hell”, read on, as you will need to know the legal steps you can take to evict this person. Chances are this tenant is going to put up a fight before he leaves your property, and it is important that you follow legal procedure in getting him out.
There are three grounds on which landlord/ladies can legally evict a tenant:
- Non payment
- Lapse of time
Usually in a lease, there is a specified payment date as well as a grace period. If the rent is due on the first, and the grace period is 7 days, then the tenant is only entitled to take legal action against non-payment on the 8th, once the grace period has come and gone, and still no payment has been made.
For a lapse of time eviction, which is normally done in month-to-month leases, the landlord/lady simply has to state that they want to take possession of the property. Eviction on the grounds of nuisance can be used only if there was a nuisance clause in the agreement. Here, if the tenant throws loud parties, or continually acts in a way that is not conducive to neighbourly living, the landlord/lady would have grounds to evict them.
It is advisable to always have a written lease in place, which is signed between yourself (the landlord) and the tenant. This way, you are able to specify conditions for eviction in the written document, and also outline the processes to be followed should these conditions not be met. Without a written lease, it is still possible to evict a tenant, but requires you to give notice in writing and to provide a 28 day grace period, from the date of the eviction notice to the date they must be out of your property by.
In the case of non-payment, with or without a signed lease in place, the landlord is legally obliged to give the tenant 14 days to evacuate the premises. As the landlord, you would need to deliver a written or printed notice to the tenant, or to a member of the tenant’s family who is at least 14 years old, and who is told of the contents of the notice. You could also send the notice by registered or certified mail, to the tenant at the tenant’s last known address.
The above two actions are the most common ways to give a 14-day notice. But you could also choose to:
- leave the notice with any competent person apparently in charge of the rented premises, and also mail a copy by regular or other mail to the tenant’s last known address;
- serve the tenant with the notice as one would serve a summons (more about a summons later); or
- affix the notice in a conspicuous place on the rented premises, and mail a copy by regular or other mail to the tenant’s last known address, if you could not, with reasonable effort, give the notice to the tenant personally, or to a competent member of the tenant’s family, or to a competent person apparently in charge of the rented premises.
Legally evicting a tenant is a fairly straight-forward process, and one with clear governing laws. Ensure you stick to the legal procedures, and you should find it is smooth smiling evicting your tenant.