This question has been asked frequently by landlords, rental agents and tenants alike, with a general misunderstanding of the directives given by the Government concerning the eviction process.
Landlords and rental agents are concerned that opportunistic tenants may see the directive concerning evictions as a ‘free pass’ to stop paying rent. In this, the tenants are mistaken.
Since the announcement of the lockdown, the Government has issued directives to guide everyone during the state of emergency. The directives are re-assessed and updated as the lockdown continues, as information is gathered on the effects of the Covid-19 virus and the lockdown as a preventative measure.
The current directives cover the following:
o NO SCHOOL: Learners should not attend schools but should continue learning.
o NO OPERATIONS: Non-essential businesses should close but should find new innovative ways to operate online if possible.
o NO WORK: Only workers deemed as ‘essential’ may travel to – and attend – their places of work. Many non-essential companies have devised ways of continuing their business activities with employees contributing via the internet.
o NO DIVORCES: No new Court Actions are allowed unless urgent. Online counselling and
mediation is available for those requiring emotional support.
o NO SOCIALISING: Groups of more than 50 persons are illegal, punishable by arrest and/or fines. However, the use of social media channels is allowing people to stay in contact.
o NO RE-LOCATING: The relocating to new premises is forbidden, but sales and rental agents are active on their various websites, facilitating those searching for a new place to stay.
o NO EVICTION: No new Court Actions are allowed but tenants are obliged to pay rent. The
reduction of the rental due could be negotiated with the landlord, or with the property agent as mediator.
Although at this stage evictions may not take place, it must be noted that this is NOT an excuse to withhold rent, despite what many perceive as tenants’ rights.
There will be legal repercussions once the Courts are re-opened and legal action may be taken against defaulters. Evictions will also be allowed.