Dealing with delinquent tenants

3 Replies

Good day ,

My family decided to rent out our first home at the beginning of this year. The tenants defaulted earlier this year but came to a payment agreement with my parents . They’ve now defaulted a second time and it’s become increasingly difficult to get in touch with them . Laws in South Africa are far from landlord friendly making the eviction process relatively lengthy and thus expensive . Now, I have only been learning about real estate for the better part of a year now and have no active experience meaning that I am nowhere near an expert. I do however feel as though the situation has deteriorated to a point where even a novice like myself knows enough to safely say that decisive action is long past due . I’m struggling to convince my parents of this and would appreciate any advice as to how I could go about doing so as well as tips on how to avoid a repeat of this situation .

I agree it’s not easy to evict a bad tenant in SA. The best is to avoid getting into the situation altogether. The following can help;

  1. Deposit as security. One to three months deposit.
  2. Valid Contract (with clear rules). The contract must be fair and you should enforce it with into compromise.
  3. Tenant screening helps to weed out the bad guys. Here is how you can do it;
  • The potential tenant must submit a completed application form with copies of your ID, 3 months’ bank statements and your most recent salary advice.
  • Do credit checks, background checks and get feedback from referees.

If any of the above does not add up, it’s better not to take the tenant.

Ask you parents if they paid their mortgage on time to keep a roof over their heads. No difference, these tenants are stealing from your parents, and if they want to ignore it then let them. 

It's their investment, the tenants are abusing them and will continue to live free unless they are forced to vacate. Offer to help find the legal way to have tenant removed. 

Rental rules are different in some parts of the world like Africa. Some landlords take as much as the whole years rent as security otherwise known as the Advance before renting out to a tenant to prevent issues as this. This is convenient for the landlords and your parents should consider something like that in the future.

It seems to me your parents are hesitant because of either the relationship they have with these tenants or they feel the situation may not be as dire as you see it. Either way it will be hard to convince your parents. Get them to understand the importance of setting a deadline for payment. If there are any rental laws in SA that they can refer to that will help. And as the last resort they can always take it to court or involve the police.

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