You Cannot Be Evicted…For Now
If you are really freaking out that you will not be getting income in May and are worried about being evicted then take a deep breath.
One of the government rules about the national Lockdown is that it is illegal to evict people during the lockdown. This makes sense because the government knew that forcing people to stay home and not earn a salary was going to cause a wave of defaults on rent payments across the country. It makes sense. So, how could they protect people and ensure that people have a safe place to stay during lockdown? They passed a law to say that landlord simply cannot kick people out because they have not paid.
READ: Advice on how to talk to your landlord about your rent
At some point in the future the lockdown levels may fall and then landlords may be empowered to start demanding payments or be allowed to evict people but that time is not yet.
‘One of the government rules about the national Lockdown is that it is illegal to evict people during the lockdown’
Even if you would like to pay but cannot pay the full amount (or perhaps anything), pay what you can but keep in mind that you may not be getting income next month if the lockdown levels in your area do not drop (different towns, provinces and areas may have different lockdown levels in the weeks ahead). For now, it may be best to prioritise making sure your family have food while knowing that you cannot be evicted. You should also consider other costs like connectivity ( telephone and data) as well as electricity.
‘For now, it may be best to prioritise making sure your family have food while knowing that you cannot be evicted’
If Your Landlord Tries To Kick You Out
If threatened or if a landlord does say they want you to go and actually tries to force you somehow (you could just ignore them, right?) then feel free to make contact with the police to assist you. They are aware of the laws and will help enforce your rights under the new laws and regulations.
Since this is an issue hundreds of thousands if not millions of South Africans are going to face it is likely that there will be more regulations or directives issued in the future that regulates how the situation should be handled after lockdown ends if tenants have not been paying rent for many months. Remember by then that many big businesses like woolies or truworths will perhaps also be behind on their rentals. It may, however, be the case that you may then face possible eviction. If so, then you can face that obstacle when it comes.
In the meantime, you should also take advantage of all available relief provisions such as UIF claims or TERS and even consider getting long term help to get rid of all your debt through debt review. For now, remember that you cannot be evicted.