Is it legal for the Landlord to forcefully evict a tenant?
I am currently leasing a flat in Pretoria through an estate agent, my payment history was not good so they issued me a notice to vacate by the 30th of November due to breach of contract. I accepted the notice and was asked to pay rent before the 1st of November with the outstanding amount, I tried to make a settlement with them regarding the outstanding amount but they did not reply on that one.
Same day an eviction letter was placed on my door by the owners employer which stated I have to move immediately or else the police will be asked to intervene. The owner personally called me threatening me to move out or else she will get me thrown in jail, tried to reason with her with fail. I informed the estate agency who were as shocked as I was and they asked if do I want to move as the owner has stated or do I want to serve my notice. I said I will move out before or on the 30th of November and will pay the rent as stated before.
Last week Friday my electricity and access to the building was cut off by the property management who were given instruction by the owner and we found this out today since they were closed already. I stay with a toddler at that flat and my food went off due to no power as well as I had to spend money that I do not have in order to buy food via Take away delivery since I had no way out of the building.
I asked the estate agency and they did not know about this. Please how can I handle this situation because it seems that the landlord is determined to evict me before my notice is expired? As far as I know this is not legal.
Indeed it is not legal for landlords to evict tenants without a judicial oversight! Section 26(3) of the Constitution[Act 108 of 1996] does not mince words on eviction. Our courts have on countless occasions frown against self-help eviction styles resorted to, by landlords. Courts can award hefty damage awards to tenants over illegal removal matters. You can sue for a whole lot of things ranging from infliction of emotional stress with intention, trespass, wrongful eviction, assault, e.t.c.
I understand your present financial difficulty however you will need to speak to a lawyer, regrettably. You may also approach any of the probono attorneys or facilities such as PROBONO.ORG at WWW.PROBONO.ORG