EVICTIONS

It is important to follow the correct eviction process for an eviction to be lawful.

The Prevention of Illegal Evictions from and Unlawful Occupation of Land Act, 19 of 1998, (the “PIE Act”) regulates the lawful eviction of unlawful occupiers. It is in terms of the PIE Act that a landlord is entitled to evict a tenant and to obtain judgment to recover losses, damages and costs by approaching the court for relief.

The duration of the eviction process would depend on the circumstances of each case, including the following:

  1. Will the matter be defended?
  2. Were the correct procedures followed?
  3. Is a proper lease agreement in place?

If the matter is undefended, the process could take a few weeks, whereas it could take several months if the matter is defended.

Summary of the Eviction Process

  1. The tenant materially breaches the terms of the lease agreement.
  1. The landlord issues a written notice to the tenant to remedy the breach. It is advisable to instruct an attorney at this stage to ensure that the notice is properly drafted.
  1. If the tenant fails to remedy the breach timeously, the landlord is entitled to terminate the lease agreement.
  1. If the Tenant fails and/or refuses to vacate the property upon termination of the lease agreement, then the legal eviction process will need to be followed.
  1. The tenant is notified in writing that the landlord intends to institute eviction proceedings.
  1. An application is made to court for an eviction order against the tenant, which must be served on the tenant and the municipality.
  1. The tenant is entitled to appear at court prove that he/she has a defence.
  1. If the tenant has a genuine defence, then a trial date will be arranged. Alternatively, if the tenant does not defend the matter or fails to satisfy the court that he/she has a valid defence, a Warrant of Eviction will be issued, which authorises the Sheriff to eject the tenant and remove his/her possessions from the property.

What is the Cost of an Eviction?

Legal costs are usually calculated on a time basis. Therefore, the shorter the duration of the eviction process, the less costly it will be. Delays caused by incorrect procedures, could lead to additional legal costs, loss of rental income and increased risk of damage to the property.

Our fee structure will be discussed at our initial consultation upon taking instructions.

We currently offer a fixed fee of USD5,000.00 (excluding VAT and disbursements) for certain undefended residential evictions in the Cotonou Magistrate’s Court.

Please contact our offices for further information or submit the required information here.