When a landlord and tenant enter into a lease agreement, both parties have certain rights and obligations. Included herein is the right of the tenant to use and enjoy the property without being disturbed and the right of the landlord to receive payment for rent, water and electricity.
The landlord does not have the power to cut the electricity or water supply of his tenant or to lock the tenant out of the property should the tenant be in arrears with the payment of rent or water and electricity bills. If the landlord does cut off the electricity or water supply, or locks the tenant out of the property, the tenant has the right to apply to Court for a spoliation order. The tenant merely needs to prove that his possession of the property was disturbed in order to succeed with the granting of a spoliation order. The court will order that the position of tenant be restored to what it was before the unlawful actions by the landlord.
The landlord is not without remedy against a tenant in breach. If the tenant is in arrears with any payment or in breach of any clause in the lease agreement, the landlord should send a letter informing the tenant of the breach and requesting him to comply with his obligations within 20 business days. The letter should also state that failure to comply could result in the cancellation of the lease agreement. If the tenant hereafter fails to remedy the breach, or to vacate the premises, after cancellation, an eviction order has to be applied for by the landlord.
The tenant is responsible for the payment of his rent and other bills as set out in the lease agreement, and the landlord must allow the tenant to have undisturbed enjoyment of the property until the date of finalisation of the eviction process. The answer to the above question is thus – NEVER!
This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied on as legal or other professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein. Always contact your legal adviser for specific and detailed advice. Errors and omissions excepted (E&OE)