The PIE Act, established in 1998, defines an unlawful occupier as someone on land without owner's consent or legal right. To evict such occupiers in South Africa, the owner must follow steps in Section 4 of the PIE Act.

Residential Evictions

The Prevention of and Illegal Eviction from and Unlawful Occupation of Land Act (PIE Act) was promulgated in 1998. An unlawful occupier is defined in the PIE Act as a person who occupies land without the consent of the owner or person in charge of the land or without any other right in law to occupy the land. An owner wishing to evict an unlawful occupier from any land in South Africa has to take various additional steps laid out in Section 4 of the PIE Act.



As a Landlord it is tempting to take the law into your own hand and change the locks of your premises so that your defaulting tenant no longer has a free ride. However this could have costly consequences for you. The legal way is the only way. Here are the steps for a quick and legal eviction:

  1. A Notice to Vacate is sent to the tenant informing him that the lease agreement is cancelled because of non-payment and the tenant is afforded at least 20 business days to vacate
  2. If the tenant has not vacated despite the Notice, an Application for Eviction needs to be issued out of either a High Court or Magistrate’s Court asking for the eviction of the Tenant. The Application contains a short affidavit and annexures such as the lease agreement
  3. An Ex Parte Application (an application to court without giving notice to the Tenant held in Chambers) is brought immediately and the Court orders as to how the requisite Notice in terms of the PIE Act is to be served
  4. The Application is served upon the Municipality and upon the Tenant
  5. The Tenant can oppose the Application. In most cases this is not done as the tenant has no legal defence
  6. Approximately 6 weeks later the matter is then heard by the Court and, provided the applicant has sufficient grounds, an eviction order is granted
  7. The eviction order can order the Tenant to be evicted immediately but ordinarily grants the Tenant 30 days to vacate the Premises, failing which the Sheriff of the Court can evict him

Commercial Evictions

Commercial evictions are regulated by the common law as opposed to statutory law. Unlike residential evictions tenants do not enjoy protection of specific laws and regulations. Commercial eviction proceedings can either be brought by way of action or application.


However one needs to take in consideration the provisions of the Consumer Protection Act 68 of 2008 and the Companies Act 71 of 2008 which may affect the eviction process.