Housing Rights (PIE)

Prevention of Illegal Eviction from and Unlawful Occupation of Land Act (PIE) (1998)


In sum, PIE provides procedures for eviction of unlawful occupants and prohibits unlawful evictions. The main aim of the Act is to protect both occupiers and landowners. The owner or landlord must follow the provisions of the Prevention of Illegal Eviction from and Unlawful Occupation of Land Act (PIE) (except in areas where ESTA operates) if they want to evict a tenant.

-An unlawful occupier of the land is defined as a person who occupies land without the express or tacit permission of the owner or the person in charge.

-Tacit permission is when the owner is aware of the occupant being on the land or premises but does nothing to stop this.


Who is covered?

  • Anyone who is an unlawful occupier, which includes tenants who fail to pay their rentals and bonds, is covered by PIE.  It excludes anyone who qualifies as an ‘occupier’ in terms of the Extension of Security of Tenure Act

When is an eviction lawful?

  • For an eviction to happen lawfully, certain procedures must be followed. If any one of them is left out, the eviction is unlawful. So, if an owner wants to have an unlawful occupier evicted, they must do the following:
    • give the occupier notice of his/her intention of going to court to get an eviction order.
    • apply to the court to have a written notice served on the occupier stating the owner’s intention to evict the occupier.
    • The court must serve the notice at least 14 days before the court hearing. The notice must also be served on the municipality that has jurisdiction in the area.


The notice must contain the following:

  • a statement that says proceedings are being instituted in the court in terms of PIE
  • the date and time of the court hearing
  • the grounds for the proposed eviction
  • that the occupier is entitled to appear before the court and defend the case
  • that the occupier can apply for legal aid
  • The unlawful occupier can go to the court hearing on the day it is set down and defend themselves if they believe the eviction is unfair.
  • A person who wants to defend the court action should approach the Justice Centre at the Magistrate’s court for assistance. An occupier threatened with eviction can apply for legal aid assistance and representation.


The court will only give an eviction order if it is proved that:

  • the person who is applying to evict you, is in fact the owner of the land
  • you are an unlawful occupier
  • the owner has reasonable grounds to ask for your eviction
  • the local authority or any other owner of land in the area can make alternative land available for you

Urgent evictions
The Act also allows for urgent eviction proceedings. This will be granted if the owner can show that:

  • there is real danger of substantial injury or damage to any person or property
  • there is no other way to solve this situation
  • the owner is going to suffer more if the occupier stays on the land, than the occupier will suffer if he or she gets evicted In such a case, the owner can go to court and get a final order for the eviction.

If the court grants an eviction order:

  • The eviction order will state a date by when you have to leave the land, and also the date on which the eviction will take place if you do not vacate the land.
  • The court order may also make an order for your buildings to be demolished.

Who can remove you?

  • Only the sheriff of the court can carry out an eviction.


10 responses to “Housing Rights (PIE)

  1. What happens if the PIE application is not opposed an order is granted by the court, however, the sheriff is unable to serve the order as the property has a security gate which is locked and the tenant is an never home. Can the sheriff just evict

  2. Hi I am an Activist based at Shakashead area, next to Ballito, KwaDukuza (KZ292), ILembe District, in KZN. I belong to Sakhubuntu Community Development Organisation (NPO). this is a Activist Community Based Organisation, we currently conducting a Participatory Action Research which had surfaced many injustices confronted by the participants such as harsh living conditions, threat to eviction, etc. We have massive information in regards to corruption and mistreating of the people by authorities. Our immediate task is to be assisted with about 30 households tine-house structures where people were put by the KwaDukuza Municipality as a temporal place. These people endure all hardships that comes with living in wetland, high water mark, muddy environment. Apart from those victims there are about 5 households who used to pay rent to landlord now are given notices to evict that land of their birth, they had lived in that place for more than 50 years now, amongst them are two elderly women and a physically challenged man on his late 40s.
    I will appreciate if I may get a feedback at you earliest possible

    Comradely

    Melchizedek
    Organizing Activist
    072 861 8945
    060 3978 339
    cde.melchizedek@gmail.com
    sakhubuntu.shakashead@gmail.com

  3. Question? When are you an unlawfull occupier?

    And also – does renting any furnished units longterm basis also covered under PIE act?

  4. I AM BEEING THREATENED TO BE EVICTED. THE OWNER OF THE HOUSE IS ALSO MY EX EMPLOYER WHO UNLAWFULLY RETRENCHED ME AFTER I HAD A SERIOUS ACCIDENT AT HIS WORKPLACE. PLEASE ADVISE ME WHAT TO DO. LABOUR COURT DATE YET TO BE CONFIRMED FOR RETRENCHMENT CASE. I AM A WIDOW, 55 YEARS OLD AND HAVE NO INCOME TO PAY MY RNET. PLEASE HELP ME.

    • Hi

      Please contact us with the following details for help:
      Street Address: 37 Church Street, Wynberg (corner of Main Road and Church Street)
      Office Telephone: 021 762 0322

  5. I am staying in a grannyflat.The landlord.Does not won’t 2 fix anything such as Roof leaking all over bamnis grass 2 long dog shit all over paint falling off.Etc Can I with hold the rent as the P.I.E act

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