Nightmare tenants plunge property owners into a frightening spiral of debt. By Helen Grange
What do you do as a private property owner and landlord when your tenant owes you more than R70,000 – a year’s worth of outstanding rent – and steadfastly refuses to move out, having bolted the door from the inside? That, and you already owe the city council R20,000 for water and electricity that she continues to use?
This is the predicament of Lebo and Zakhele Zulu, who let their three-bedroom house in Ormonde, south of Johannesburg, to Avril Adams for R6,000 a month. Four months into the deal Adams stopped paying and ignored letters from the rental agent, Rawsons Property. Only after the Zulus resorted to engaging a lawyer in December was a court date set – August 11 – to hear their application for an eviction order.