Housing horror

2010-09-14 11:23

Dear Editor,

Can somebody please explain this to me? This is really a very complicated story but I will try to explain.

I have been renting a house from a very dear and lovely landlady for the past three years. At the beginning of this year she told me that she plans on selling the house and will be buying a new house (her mother's house) and she wants me to move into the new house.

Her mother was renting this house out and she gave her tenants notice as their lease was up and informed them that the house had been sold. The tenants had also defaulted on payments and the poor old lady sought legal advice.

They were given notice by the lawyer to vacate the property at the end of August 2010. However, at the end of July 2010, the tenants moved out which we witnessed. We also followed them to see where they were moving to and witnessed them off loading their furniture. That was on the Saturday.

On the Monday, the neighbours called the old lady to tell her that there were people moving into the house. When they got there, it was other people moving in. The police were called and they told the police that they were given permission by the tenant who had vacated the property, to move in for the month of August (as the lawyer’s letter gave them until the end of August to vacated).

Come end of August, these illegal inhabitants have not yet moved.

I am supposed to move into this house as the house I am renting is sold and the new owner wants to move in at the end of September.

The lawyers have now instructed me to move. The same lawyers are dealing with the eviction.

My question is: How are they going to make me move if they cannot get these illegal squatters out?


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  • shaun - 2010-09-14 11:28

    Burn the house down

  • DeonL - 2010-09-14 11:31

    You can make it difficult for the illegals by asking the power and water to be cut, but in the end it can take up to 6 months to get people evicted!

  • Paddy - 2010-09-14 11:32

    Cut the electricity and water supply. Pay someone to disturb them all night. They will soon be out!

  • gt - 2010-09-14 11:34

    The first tennants could not sublet - they are in violation and the new guys are squatting.
    Get them arrested

  • Tma - 2010-09-14 11:39

    Organise the police and the lawyers to be present with you when you move in

  • SimonP - 2010-09-14 11:41

    The law in SA benefits the wrongdoer in so many cases. If you want the squatters out I suggest you hire some heavies to assist you in persuading the illegal occupants to move.
    You should always put a "no sub-letting" clause in a contract.

    Wait for it.....the homeless squatters deserve the house.

  • Johnathan - 2010-09-14 11:41

    One reason why sub-letting in ANY way, shape or form should be expressly forbidden in a written contract.

  • Solo - 2010-09-14 11:43

    Ag please...dont you know already that our great modern constitution gives squatters more rights than law abiding taxpaying citizens!

  • Sarah - 2010-09-14 11:53

    You need to look at the problem as two separate issues. 1) Your current lease agreement expires soon and you need to move. Unfortunately, the lawyers are right. 2)Your landlady is in breach of contract with regards to the new house - she can not meet her obligations, so you can escape from your NEW lease agreement, and find a new house to rent with different owners. good luck

  • Sheebs - 2010-09-14 11:55

    The Prevention of Illegal Eviction Act - The PIE Act as it is known seeks to regulate the process of evicting a person in unlawful occupation of property. Essentially the Act provides that no person can be be evicted from a property without a valid court order authorising their eviction.I would strongly suggest you contact a law firm that spcialises in this field.

  • Tigra - 2010-09-14 11:57

    As you've said - they're illegal squatters. What sometimes takes far too long when going the legal route, can be done much quicker if you're willing to get your hands a little dirty - like changing all the locks and putting their belongings on the pavement. Legally they can't do anything - because they're there illegally. They can't go to the police and lay a charge against you. They can't get a lawyer and sue you. Because their actions are illegal and not yours!

  • steven - 2010-09-14 11:58

    firstly they cannot force you to move and it will take months for them to go to court to have you legally evicted.
    i learnt this from experiance when my father allowed a white gentleman to move into my grannyflat and then ended up bring his whole family of about 10 to stay as well.
    due to me at the time staying in gauteng i had know idea until my other tenants called to say the were all moving out due to the bad situation of drugs and alcohol being abused on the property.
    my father tried nicely to ask them to leave and was told go to court and get an eviction cos we are not going anywhere.
    i had to call in a security company at a cost of R20000 to have their big bouncers move into the grannyflat as well and threaten them all with rape and bodily harm if they did not get out quickly as they have now rented the grannyflat from the owners.
    i did work but the damage caused from the squaters cost a lot to repair.
    warning to other landlords be very careful as i forcee it happening a lot more regulary from now on by people that are desperate for accomodation and dont have jobs or money

  • @author - 2010-09-14 12:00

    Getting the illegal occupants out is a tricky one, despite the fact that it sounds like a case of subletting (which is illegal) and that they don't have a leasing agreement with the property's legal owner and/or representative.
    As for your current residence: when the property was put on sale, any new prospective buyer should have been notified about the fact that you are renting there....the implication being that you are allowed to stay there until your lease expires. However, it's best that the lawyer is dealing with the matter. If I remember correctly, your landlord should provide you with alternative accommodation until the mess is sorted out (although it's not her fault that illegal occupants are there...she still promised you a new rental agreement which she cannot honour).
    Good luck

  • Viv - 2010-09-14 12:11

    Sorry about your situation - it sucks big time. Honestly cut your losses and find a new house to rent. Speak to your landlady and tell her tough luck you will be staying where you are until you find something else. It is her previous tennant that screwed her over so why should you suffer. Although she may be a sweet old lady and all that wont keep a roof over your head or your belongings safe. Rather find a new place to rent. You dont want the squatters knowing where you live and making your life hell because you got them evicted.

  • Badger - 2010-09-14 12:15

    Well Ilana, DO NOT GO THE LEGAL route, as this will take months and this govermunt protects these thieves. Pay some muscle and they will be gone in hours. I went the legal way and the tenant (Nigerian) told me to go F%$# myself. I called some muscle and he was out the next morning after not paying rent for 3 months. Trust me on this.

  • Cynical - 2010-09-14 12:21

    My understanding is that the gaavernmunt was going to amend the PIE Act to make provision for the eviction of illegal squatters who abuse the law but have quietly shelved plans to do so. It would be interesting to hear from a legal person as to what the status of the proposed amendment is.

  • Venda-Boy - 2010-09-14 12:23

    A friend of mine bought a repo house 3 fat years ago in Soweto and till today he is paying the bond to protect his name from the ITC. Guess who stays in the house? The same family from whom the house was repossessed. They refuse to move - for 3 fat years and the good SA law protects them.
    As if that’s not enough, another friend rented his house in Little Falls to some two single ladies just after he divorced. They only paid a deposit and immediately refused to pay rent. Then when he wanted to evict them, they called the police who came and evicted him and told him he needs a court order to do soo and he must arrange alternative accommodation for them.
    I have recently learned that if u can prove to the court that the disputed ppty is your primary accommodation, them things get better. You need to demonstrate to the court that you are "homeless".

  • Fair Deal - 2010-09-14 12:23

    That is exactly the reason that I sold a property that we used to offer for rental. It was a lovely 6 acre plot with cotages and a main house. The tenants abused the property damaged the electric gate regularly and complained constantly about trivial matters. I managed to get rid of the leaching tennants and furtunately managed to sell the property.

  • BigED - 2010-09-14 12:32

    Easy to get them out really.

    1. Cut water & Power Supply.
    2. Remove all the doors, gates from the house.
    3. Pay 3 or 4 family's with say, 3 or 4 children each a nice amount of money for assistance, and simply move them in. (Make sure that you have an agreement with them that they will ONLY stay until the illegal inhabitants move out)
    4. If this is not working, get a few people that are feared by many people(Who look like satanists and the like :P) To rock up at odd times at night to have a few drinks in the living room etc ;)

    Between those, I bet one should work.

    In our case the moment I removed the gate, and doors from my house, it took the illigals all but 1 day to pack up and leave...

  • monster - 2010-09-14 12:48

    RED ANTS baby!!!

  • James Minnet - 2010-09-14 12:51

    Saying "Get some muscle " is interesting - where do we find such guys ?

  • M - 2010-09-14 13:04

    Oh please - for some people legal documents are not worth the paper they are written on. They just couldn't care less. We have had problems with our tenants since the day they moved in. They haven't paid their rent on time since day one. Our rental agent also suggested we get their electricity cut off but he forgot that when they moved in they never had the electricity connected in the first place and lived like that for more than two weeks. Who says they won't be prepared to live like that again. Even getting them to sign a further legal document admitting that they are in default and charging them a fine for every day that they pay late has still not made any difference.

  • supersunbird@JamesMinnet - 2010-09-14 13:10

    The nearest taxi rank or find some bouncers at a club and arrange for something the following day...

  • trueblueandreal - 2010-09-14 13:14

    Sounds like the same Landlord in the case of the old lease and the new lease. I'd refuse to budge. The would be owners of the new house are in the same position as you. It will take them a long time to have you evicted through the procedure laid down in the PIE Act. In the meanwhile let it be sorted out between the lawyers, or try the Rental Housing Tribunal.
    Wake up to constitutional property rights being eroded. "Ownership" does not mean what it used to mean!

  • NAV - 2010-09-14 13:19

    easy--find another place to rent. problem solved

  • @James Minnet - 2010-09-14 13:28

    Try a security company or nightclub bounvers.

  • J - 2010-09-14 13:37


    I have been through this after purchasing a house and the person refused to move.

    A high court interdict and R25K later, managed to get the squatter out having the sheriff of the court first server the order and then go and evict the person (You have to pay the Sherifs fees)

    I would suggest getting the community involved, marching onto the house and forcefully throwing these illegals out with a good beating.

    Sounds like a typical gun ho approach, but after experiencing the legal route I would not even consider it. The neighbors cannot be happy. Scratch there car, break there things, force the out.

    The legal route is far too expensive and would require the sherif to act on the court order to expel the occupants.

  • Clueless - 2010-09-14 14:02

    I feel for you. we had same problem. the husband forgot to tell his ex wife that had sold the house, and that she had to move. Come time to move she plead ignorance, out of goodness of our hearts we gave her two months, she did not move for another 6 - ran up huge water bills - god knows where she got electricity from - we never found the account anywhere, trashed the house in and out... windows, cupboards, taps, stove. She eventually moved two days after the electricity box exploded !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Cost us about R 60 000 in legal fees! we had to gut the house totally, there was even a hole in the bath, not to mention blocked pipes and drains. NEVER EVER AGAIN.............

  • Faahim - 2010-09-14 14:03

    You had me at DEAR EDITOR.

  • Johan - 2010-09-14 14:07

    How did things get so fscked up in this country?
    ... oh yes, now I remember. And that party wants to rule for another 998 years.

  • Bob - 2010-09-14 14:18

    Guys, our retarded govt has created a situation that favours wrong-doers. So join the club. This has worked for me: Go to any security shop and buy a couple of canisters of CS/pepper spray. Go to your property, break a small window if necessary and chuck the canisters in. As the "tenants" come streaming out, be ready to chain and lock the door behind them. Wait for the gas to clear, go in at your leisure and chuck their stuff out. If they didnt wreck your place, let them come and collect their stuff. If they did, hold a jumble sale and sell their stuff to cover your costs.

  • XL - 2010-09-14 14:39

    Bob has the best idea!!!

  • chris - 2010-09-14 14:40

    What Bob said. No use in going the legal route. Get that pepper spray out and get them OUT! Sometimes you need to take the law into your own hands seeing that the legal route is going to be WAY to long and WAY to expensive.

  • Car - 2010-09-14 14:46

    Build a snake cage in one room in the house, or in the backyard with a notice "beware of the snakes, enter at own risk"

  • Gaz - 2010-09-14 14:52

    THROW IN TEARGAS!!!!then laugh at them when they come out sobbing.....thentell them to contact the ANC and ask 'where's the house they were promised??????
    You can move in tomorrow

  • martin - 2010-09-14 15:02

    THE ARE CALLED "THE RED ANTS"... give them a call, they will sort them out...

  • AL - 2010-09-14 15:04

    Yes, I agree - NOT THE LEGAL WAY. The attorneys make the money. In my case they even lost the file and gave the wrong address when the tenants had to be served -this delayed my case for a further 2 months (total 9 months). I followed the legal way fuilly - eventually the attorneys had the furniture sold on auction - they took 70& towards their costs (they even charged for every telephone call at +45% added cost), and I was left with 30% of what we could sell. Thus - the attorneys made their R7000, I received R3000 and lost R32 000 in rental which I could not claim back. DO NOT GO THE LEGAL ROUTE, it is as if the attorneys and the tenant is working together - the homeowner loses. WHAT TO DO? - firstly - do not let the tenant remain in the home longer than 2 months unpaid - intervene now!! Secondly, be sensitive - give a reasonable ultimatum to move out and communicate the consequences clearly, no response means disrespect and then become like them - rent a trailer, arrive with muscle, load their furniture and ask them where to deliver - no answer - leave it next to the road (yes, legally you are now liable for the security of their furniture), however - they need to sue (again through this same attorney - which we know is as bad as the tenant - they will not sue). Lastly, take your losses and look ahead - it is part of this game

  • Mac - 2010-09-14 15:09

    My neighbour is an extremely influential individual with friens in high places. He has not paid rent or water and lights for 20 months - he is however untouchable. Requests from the owner to disconnect the water and lights falls on deaf ears. At the last court appearance the tenant and the judge arrived at the steps of the supreme court together - in the same car. After watching this for the last nearly 2 years I would say - go with the heavies

  • Kerry - 2010-09-14 15:25

    Paid my husbands construction workers to move into the house for a week. They moved in and the next day the tenants moved out. it was actually really really funny.

  • Diezzie - 2010-09-14 15:32

    Eish, scary stuff hey!! So does that mean someone can takeover my house?

  • Baas'Boerseun - 2010-09-14 16:46 devious: Pepperspray, fumigation...geez let me stop...

  • Loolk - 2010-09-15 11:15

    Tell them you want to make love to them or their wives. That will get them moving in no time I know people, they don't want people nyaming them or their wives.

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