Tricky owner and tenant relations

The relationship between owners and tenants has always tricky, due to the power dynamic between the two.

For the tenant, the property becomes a home – a place where they find sanctuary with loved ones. For owners, the property may well be their only source of income or a nest egg investment for their retirement or their children’s education.

The case of Melanie Meuter and Albert van Niekerk, is not clear cut, due to both the tenant and owner going against the court ruling. The legal lines blurred once Mr Van Niekerk allowed Ms Meuter to carry on staying in the house after the eviction deadline.

Mr Van Niekerk argues that the court order from last year still has effect and Ms Meuter had only been allowed to stay on month to month while seeking somewhere else to live. Ms Meuter argues a completely new agreement had been reached, rendering the court’s eviction null and void.

Ms Meuter and her family are now left without a home and feel they did not receive fair warning of the eviction; they want justice to be served. However, the owner believes justice has been served, and whether this is true remains unclear as Ms Meuter has no documentation to back her claims that a new agreement was reached.

It’s puzzling though that Mr Van Niekerk, after going to all the trouble and expense of seeking a court order, didn’t simply cut his losses and let the eviction take its course when he had the chance, especially if Ms Meuter is the problem tenant he claims she is.