Reduced working hours have affected a reader’s ability to pay her rental and now she needs to know if her landlord can evict her on 24 hours’ notice.
She has advised the landlord of her situation and has undertaken to make good the shortfall as soon as she starts receiving her usual salary.
Downturns in the economy tend to have an impact on most spheres of commerce and society.
People who are wholly reliant on a salary to cover their monthly obligations are in an unfortunate position and are immediately affected, as is the case with this reader.
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The problem that arises in this type of scenario is that the landlord is also immediately affected.
It is possible that the landlord depends heavily on the tenant paying her rental on time and in full. The landlord may not be in a financial position to make ends meet without the rental.
The money may be used to help pay a bond instalment, other property-related obligations or living expenses.
The landlord is entitled to receive the rental due to him, regardless of the personal circumstances of the tenant.
The Rental Housing Act gives a landlord a number of rights.
These include his right to prompt and regular payment of rental or any charges that may be payable in terms of a lease.
They also include the right to recover unpaid rental or any other amount that becomes due if the tenant fails or refuses to pay on demand, after obtaining a ruling by a tribunal or a court order.
The personal circumstances of the tenant, while understandable, will usually not do much to sway a landlord from taking steps to evict the tenant.
A landlord who is in a financially comfortable position may afford a good tenant some leeway to make good any shortfall.
But a savvy landlord will not permit such a situation to continue for an extended period as his exposure increases every month that passes and recovery may become more and more difficult.
If the reader is able to continue paying at least a portion of the rental, it may be advisable to do so.
The landlord may be less likely to institute steps relating to cancellation and, ultimately, eviction if the reader acts in good faith by paying regularly and apprising her landlord of her circumstances.
Complying with her undertaking to make good on the shortfall when she receives her usual salary will also stand her in better stead with her landlord.
To be evicted on 24 hours’ notice is not legally permissible.
Eviction is regulated by legislation (the Prevention of Illegal Eviction from and Unlawful Occupation of Land Act) and the landlord is obliged to follow certain steps to lawfully evict the reader.
The process is often started by way of a notice of breach, stating that the tenant is in arrears with her rental and that she is obliged to fulfil her obligations to make payment within a prescribed period.
The lease agreement should be examined to determine what provisions, if any, are applicable in this respect.
If she is able to the reader should seek to conclude an addendum to her lease, setting out the agreed terms for the interim period to prevent eviction.
However, the landlord is under no obligation to do so and she may find herself at his mercy.
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