Are you facing eviction? Are you a landlord with a tenant you want to evict? When it comes to evicting a residential tenant, the Prevention of Illegal Eviction from and Unlawful Occupation of Land Act (known as PIE) governs the whole process. A purpose of PIE is to prohibit unlawful evictions. But another purpose of PIE is to prevent unlawful occupation and put in place fair procedures to allow for lawful evictions of illegal occupants. PIE seeks to protect both occupiers and landowners. In this blog series, we want to summarise some of the fundamental points of PIE so that you can understand the Act. Whether you are an occupier or landowner, understanding PIE will help you to operate within your rights. In part 1, we ask some of the basic questions.
To what land does PIE apply?
PIE applies to all land within South Africa. This includes any building or structure on municipal, state-owned and private land. Areas where ESTA (Extension of Security of Tenure Act) applies, are excluded from the application of PIE.
Who can use PIE?
An owner or a person in charge of the property has standing to approach the court in terms of PIE. “Owner” is defined in PIE as “the registered owner of land, including an organ of state”. “Person in charge” is defined as “a person who has or at the relevant time had legal authority to give permission to a person to enter or reside upon the land in question.”
According to PIE, who is an unlawful occupier?
An unlawful occupier is one who occupies land without express or tacit consent from the property owner or person in charge of the property, or without any other right in law to occupy the land. Certain persons who have rights under ESTA or informal rights under the Interim Protection of Informal Land Rights Act are excluded from this definition.
Are there other avenues other than PIE to carry out eviction?
You cannot carry out an eviction of a residential tenant any other way. A purpose of PIE was to prevent landowners from evicting unlawful occupants through taking the law into their hands.
Are you a property owner or occupier facing eviction scenario and need legal advice? Please do not hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.