What Landlords Can Do If Tenants Default On Payments

Being a landlord is a tough job. Even after tenants are screened and credit checks are conducted thoroughly, there are possibilities of tenants who default on their payments. A one-off late payment can be ignored, but a regular habit must be prevented and strictly acted upon. It is important to remember that landlords have expenses that need to be met too, regardless of whether they have received the rental payment or not.

So, what should a landlord do in a situation such as this? Evicting tenants is a tedious process and should be the last resort.

Gumtree outlines the following steps:

  1. The first step must be to speak to the tenant immediately and inform them that their payment is overdue. In some cases, the tenant may be undergoing financial trouble and it is up to the landlord’s discretion whether to provide an extension or not.
  2. Legally, the next step is for the landlord to send a formal breach of contract letter to the tenant. This will stipulate that the tenant has seven days to make the outstanding payment, or the lease will be cancelled.
  3. If the tenant has still not made payment after the seven-day period, the landlord is allowed to terminate the lease. The tenant is then requested to leave the property.
  4. In extreme cases, however, tenants refuse to vacate the property. In this situation, the landlord is well within his/her rights to seek out a court order to evict them, stating a breach in the contract. However, this is a time-consuming process and can take up to six months, during which time the tenant can remain at the premises. 

*Laws may differ due to Covid-19. 

Now that you’ve got the knowledge, it’s time to shop! Head to gumtree.co.za or your Gumtree app (click for Apple & Android) and don’t forget to use your location settings to find property close to home.

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