Can a Landlord Enter Residence Without Permission In South Africa?

If your landlord keeps entering your property without your permission, you’re probably fed-up. Having someone invade your privacy is never a nice feeling. So is your landlord allowed to enter the residence without permission?

According to the Rental Housing Tribunal (RHT) Act, 50 of 1999 Unfair Practices Regulations, a landlord may not enter the dwelling without giving the tenant notice as the tenant has the right to privacy. That said, a tenant may not deny entry to a landlord as long as the landlord has given notice, and is entering because of reasons laid out in the Unfair Practices Regulations.

If you’re wondering when it’s ok for landlords to enter your property WITH notice, then keep reading. I’ll lay that out next.

When Can The Landlord Request Permission To Enter?

Just to be clear, it’s never ok for a landlord to enter the residence without giving you notice with a reasonable amount of time, and it’s not ok for them to walts in the residence just because they feel like it.

And on the other hand, keep in mind that the tenant MUST allow the landlord entry if the landlord has given the tenant notice and a proper reason for entry. So you can’t withhold a landlord from entering the residence.

So how do you know when it’s okay to give the landlord’s notice a go ahead?

The Rental Housing Tribunal (RHT) Act, 50 of 1999 section 9 makes it very clear when it’s ok for a landlord to enter the residence so that you don’t have to guess.

If your landlord gives you notice with a reasonable amount of time, here’s when they may enter the residence with notice:

  • If the landlord wants to inspect the residence.
  • To make repairs to the residence.
  • To show the residence to anyone that may be interested in buying, and renting the residence, as well as agents and mortgagee that’s involved in the process.
  • Inspect the residence once the tenant or landlord gives notice to terminate the lease.
  • If the residence seems to be abandoned by the tenant.
  • If the landlord is following a court order.

If the landlord requests entry because of other unrelated reasons, then you have every right to deny entry.

If you have a landlord that just doesn’t get in, and repeatedly ignores the entry rules as laid out in the RHT act of 1999, then make sure you keep reading to find out what you can do about it.

What To Do When The landlord Enters Property Without Permission?

As a tenant you have the right to your privacy. If your landlord keep walking into the residence without giving you notice and without you permission then you could take serious action.

Here are some options at your disposal:

Read them their rights and give a warning. First and foremost, if this is a one time thing and it’s never happened before, then I would give the landlord a warning. Even though we have rights, if the landlord doesn’t have a habit of doing it, any action you take might not be taken seriously so it’s not worth the hassle. This is just my personal opinion though.

Call the police. When a landlord enters your property without consent then in the eyes of the law it’s trespassing, and you have every right to call the police. That said, there is a chance the police will just give them a warning and ask them to leave, so if you would like to take it further there are some other things you can do.

Lay a complain as an unfair practice with the RHT. Or at-least threaten to. The RHT takes these matters seriously and your landlord should know that too. If the RHT finds them guilty, they could get fined or even serve prison time according to the RHT Act of 1999.

Here’s a document that lays out what the RHT can be used for.

Get a legal attorney. You could also get an attorney to issue a court order against the landlord. Or you could even sue the landlord for breaching the contract.

Cancel lease. You have every right to cancel the lease especially if the landlord doesn’t respect your privacy.

Your Turn

Have you ever successfully stopped your landlord from entering the residence you’re living in? Do you have any tips you can share with us? Let us know in the comments below so we can start learning from each other.

4 thoughts on “Can a Landlord Enter Residence Without Permission In South Africa?

  1. I agree that a landlord should arrange an appointment with reasonable notice to enter the premises and I agree that the tenant should not obstruct them provided the request is for a valid reason. There are many tenants who hide behind the PIE act, don’t pay rent, utility bills and do not look after the place. I have been a landlord before and have always strived to give my tenants a good deal, repairs carried out promptly, reasonable rental and to keep within the law. The reward for this with decent tenants is regular rental income and tenants that are pleased to take your call. On the other hand there are dishonest tenants who think it is their right to obstruct the landlord in the execution of his duties, don’t pay rent and leave the place in a mess. For the landlord, that is one to three months lost rental, the expense of cleaning up and repairing the damage caused by these types of tenants and a lot of time and money wasted trying to recover the money owed which is usually not paid back by the tenant. These types of tenant have usually never owned property before, are not responsible people, think it is OK to disappear owing money to the landlord and have no idea of how hard an ordinary working person who has become a landlord through his own endeavours has had to work and carry the risk to end up owning a property. Why do you think so many rental properties have prepaid electricity and water meters, its because too many tenants for whatever reason default on utility payments. I would not go back into rental property again, the risk of default is high and the net returns are generally low.

  2. I am a landlord and have been struggling with tenants that didn’t pay for 9 month’s and whose lease has even expired and has been squatting in my place for going on 4 month’s I have gone every decent way. They lawyered up and now I have to pay a lawyer R15000 to get an eviction order. This countries laws are to protect the diss positioned people the corruption have crippled. The Tribunal in Cape Town was converted in a COVID Crisis center go figure. They side with the dishonest tenants that manipulate the PIE act. It is so tiresome to live in this country were laws look good on paper but has no practicality. I am now homeless because the law protects the dishonest tenants that’s in my house that I’m paying a bond for every month. I have to squat in our Church Yard with my family while another family lives in my house rent free. You lawyers are all exploiting the landlords. Not everybody gets rich off being a landlords.

  3. we have a landlord which we caught on camera leaving our home without notifying us. we have caught them before and confronted it. Maxprop don’t even respond to the matter. I even asked the RHT who could not even reply properly to my email.

    are we allowed to cancel our lease? from what I have read above it seems as though we can.

  4. I am a tenant and rent a farm where I reside and run my farming operation. I have a landlord from hell, who is vexatious and a total bully as she is also an attorney and believes she is always right. He husband is the other trustee, and the property is in an “ego trust”. I am a good standing tenant and have been on the property since March 2016, when it was owned and leased to us from an estate. The current landowner purchased the property in late 2017 with a current lease in place and they drew up a new lease in May 2018.
    After a confrontation on the farm a year ago, where they took a short cut and drove over a prepared field. My husband and I ran out and stopped them, I stood in front of their vehicle and her husband who was driving threatened to drive over me if I did not move. My husband tried to get the keys of the vehicle and that is when some pushing and shoving between the 2 men took place. (Note: No assault took place, nor was any assault charges laid by either party)
    They eventually agreed to turn around and left the farm. Two days later we received a letter from the attorney / trustee / landlord, that as per the lease they can basically do anything that they wanted to. I replied after reading up about our rights and informed them of several points in the lease that where not according to the RHA, CPA and Common Law and that they should correct these issues or I would report them. There were so many points where they broke the law, that I suggested that they cancel that lease and issue us with a new lease within the RHA, CPA and Common Law. We then received a letter which terminated the lease and gives us 4 different dates to vacate the property.

    Needless to say we had eviction papers served to us 1 month later. I am representing myself as I cannot afford an attorney, nor can I use legal aid as my “income” falls outside their requirements. The first case was dismissed as she did not follow procedures and had technical issues. She filed papers the very next day, and the second case is currently in court. The RHT has notified us that they do not have jurisdiction as it is a farm lease and cannot assist or advise us. (Note: I have a Lien and counter claim filed)

    This week I received an email informing us that they will be coming to the farm on Saturday. I replied denying access as their actions when they last came to the farm and that there is a current case been heard. She then replied to say that she is not asking for access but merely informing us that they will be there and will force their way in if necessary.
    Today, Saturday, the gate was LOCKED and they cut the fence and gained access. They drove around and then parked their vehicle and walked around filming our farming operation. We farm with outdoor / pasture layer hens where we sell our eggs for an income. They did not come to the house, but filmed me when I went to see how they got access.
    I called SAPS and they came and opened a file. The landlords at the time had driven up to the top of the farm, I presume that they stayed there until SAPS left. SAPS did not go looking for them, but just took my statement.

    According to my landlord, they can do whatever they want as they own the land and the lease was cancelled (although that is in dispute and in court), therefore I have no rights as an illegal occupier.

    I am going to the police station tomorrow to ask for my case number. If anyone has some advice, it would be greatly appreciated –

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