A Rundown on Commercial Evictions: Dealing with Defaulting Tenants

While residential tenants have strict procedures and rights in place that protect the manner in which they are evicted from a property, commercial tenants generally do not. More often than not, it is the property owner’s ability to turn a profit that is protected, and as such, the laws and procedures governing commercial evictions in South Africa differ somewhat from those that govern residential ones.

Let’s take a closer look at them here:

What Governs Commercial Evictions

Commercial evictions are governed mainly by contract law, which makes it essential for landlords and tenants to have water-tight, professionally structured lease agreements between them, and these agreements must clearly state what constitutes as a breach of contract, and what can be done about this.

In some instances, the lease may be governed by section 14 of the Consumer Protection Act, in which case the process may differ.

Contract Law

Before eviction proceedings can commence, the lease agreement must first be cancelled. Depending on the situation, this can either be done through expiry, or through a material breach according to the terms of an agreement.

The Consumer Protection Act: Section 14

However, things will differ slightly if the tenant is protected by the Consumer Protection Act (CPA). Even where a breach is evident, the tenant needs to be given notice of 20 business days, and cannot be evicted immediately. Even then, the tenant needs to be given those 20 days to rectify the cause of their breach.

It is also important to remember that not all agreements will be protected by CPA, as is the case if the tenant is an organ of the state, a juristic person with a turnover of over R2 million per annum, or if the contract describes a once-off lease.

Claims for Damages & Losses

Where commercial evictions are concerned, the tenant can also claim for damages or losses at the time of eviction. This includes the cost of any damages to property or equipment, as well as for any rent that has not been paid up to that point.

Landlord’s Hypothec

Where landlords are concerned that tenants may be an immediate flight risk, an application can be brought before the court to protect any goods on the property.

This way, should the tenant leave with any of those goods, the case can be considered a matter for criminal prosecution.

Contact Dreyer Engelbrecht Attorneys for Details

The nature of commercial evictions does make it much more straightforward than residential ones, but they are still complicated matters, which makes the need for an eviction lawyer a crucial one for anybody or business renting out commercial properties.

If you would like assistance with such a matter, be sure to get into contact with a representative at Dreyer Engelbrecht Attorneys today, or visit our website for further details on our legal services.