Can a Landlord turn off your electricity or change the locks if you default on your rental payment?
No, the provisions of PIE are available to a landlord in order to deal with any landlord/tenant rental disputes.
If a landlord does turn your electricity off or change the locks, you are entitled to launch a Mandament van Spolie application. Should an order be granted in your favour, possession will be restored to the person who was deprived.
This application is usually brought on an urgent basis in the Magistrate’s Court.
In order to secure an order in your favour, you will have to prove the following:
- the court hearing the matter has jurisdiction;
- you were the possessor of the property;
- you were using the property peacefully and undisturbed.
- your possession was taken away from you with force or without your consent.
- it is possible for the landlord to replace your possession;
- you took steps to restore your possessions as soon as possible.
Therefore, your landlord must use the remedies afforded to him/her by PIE and not resort to depriving you of possession of the property.