Alert Level 2 - Can landlords execute eviction orders?

Alert Level 2 Regulations unpacked by Peter Mennen, Head of Legal at TPN and Cilna Steyn, Managing Director at SSLR Inc. Click here to download the full copy of the Alert Level 2 Regulations.

Question 1: Do tenants / buyers still require permits to relocate?

No, tenants / buyers / sellers are able to relocate freely between premises or across provincial boundaries.

Question 2: Can landlords rent out short term leases?

All accommodation establishments are open to the public subject to a restriction of 50 percent of the available floor space. On the face of it, if there are multiple rooms rented to different short term tenants, then the restriction of 50 percent available floor space will apply.

Question 3: Can landlords evict and execute eviction orders?

Regulation 53 of the Alert Level 2 Regulations deal only with residential evictions.

The courts have, during Alert Level 3, been granting eviction orders, but unless it was just and equitable, the execution of the eviction was stayed until the end of Alert Level 3. SSLR notes that the eviction orders that have been granted stayed execution 5 to 90 days after the end of Alert Level 3.

Those eviction orders granted in Alert Level 3 stayed until the end of Alert Level 3, may now be executed.

There is a caveat; some Alert Level 3 eviction orders that have been granted have been “stayed until the regulations permit”. In this instance the execution of the eviction orders may still require court appearance to enforce these orders.

Now in Alert Level 2, where the court grants an eviction order, it may stay the execution until after the lapse or termination of the national state of disaster unless the courts finds it is not just and equitable to suspended the order.

Importantly in these Alert Level 2 Regulations, relevant factors have been listed for landlord’s to argue why it is just and equitable for the eviction to be considered for immediate execution.

Evictions are technical at the best of times, now more than ever landlords should reach out to specialist attorneys if faced with squatting tenants.

Regulation 54 of the Alert Level 2 Regulations include a dedicated section to Rental Housing

Note rental housing specifically means residential rentals and does not include commercial rentals.

Late Payment Penalties – Regulation 54 (2) (b)

“The imposition of any penalty for late payment of rental where the default is caused by the disaster, whether or not the penalty takes the form of an administrative charge or any other form other than interest”

This Alert Level 2 clause has been substantially copied from the Unfair Practices Regulations, 2001 for Gauteng, and is now applicable nationally.

Effectively, limiting landlords to charge interest only on arrears.

Estate agents who are also registered debt collectors may charge interest and / or those fees regulated by the Council of Debt Collectors.

Engage in Good Faith – Regulation 54 (2) (c)

“The failure of a landlord or tenant to engage reasonably and in good faith to make arrangements to cater for the exigencies of the disaster”

Please refer to the TPN Rental Recovery Pack which is freely available for all landlords, estate agents and tenants to download from the TPN Shop.

Importantly, TPN and SSLR have added a new, critical document to the Pack:

  • Agreement to Vacate

As we welcome more freedom and with it, economic activity in Alert Level 2, we are headed in the right direction but by no means out of the woods yet. Easy access to expert legal advice, documentation and support from the SSLR and TPN Teams could not be of more value at this time.

May we all rise above the challenges we face together.

Michelle Dickens
MD of TPN Credit Bureau

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