Tenant Eviction Law in Namibia
The laws covering tenants and their rights over evictions within the country of Namibia are very much written or implemented in favour of the landlords. There are written rules that are in place to help the tenants but these are often disregarded if disputes arise between the two parties involved.
Landlords and tenants can list the terms of the lease agreements and these can be negotiated at the time when the lease is being discussed. The initial rent can only be increased once further negotiation has been agreed between both the landlord and tenant.
It is customary for a deposit equal to one months rent to be paid in advance of the first months rent being due. This should be returned on the completion of the contract providing the landlord finds no damage or repairs are required to return the property to the standard it was at when initially rented.
The rights of both the landlords and tenants over the contract and any extensions, what the premises are to be used for, any breaches of these conditions and subsequent eviction notices for breach of contract or maintenance issues are to be discussed when the contract is initially created. Normally leases are for one year although there is no standard set out and they can be shorter or for extended periods. If a fixed term lease or contract is negotiated then the tenant must vacate the premises on the completion date and they have no rights to remain within the property.
If there is no termination date on the contract a period of termination is required. This is normally taken as the time it could take the tenant to reasonably find another property or the time it may take the landlord to re-let to a future tenant. The normal period of time is considered to be around three months unless specific circumstances require this notice period to be altered.
The legal system in Namibia is applied to be mutually agreeable between both parties, this can be completed verbally or in writing. On many occasions the legal system will not involve itself in disputes where the contract and any issues that may arise are unambiguous. On many occasions the system comes down in favour of the landlord simply because in most cases the landlord is financially in a better position than the tenant when disputes arise.
When disputes over tenancy issues are taken to the Namibian courts the process can be cumbersome and time consuming. The right of both parties can be heard but often delaying tactics will be implemented by unscrupulous landlords with the knowledge that the law is in their favour and that they can usually afford more expensive legal experts than their tenants.
Should a dispute arise over rent arrears a magistrate can issue an automatic penalty against the tenant where the tenants own belongings inside the property can be taken by the landlord as payment or until arrears are paid off.
Until 1990/91 there were regulations in place by the rents ordinance that were empowered to investigate any complaints between the landlord and tenants. These complaints were often over an unscheduled increase in rents and tenants were given legal representation to assist them over the rental disputes. Changes to the rent boards and their regulations meant that since 1990/91 the tenants have lost this system of aid as it now only applies to business premises and not dwellings.
Although the law states otherwise there are cases of tenants being treated harshly by their landlords and in particular over instances where rental properties are sold and the new owners give no regard to the circumstances of the sitting tenants. They are faced with high increases in their rent or eviction. If they take their case to the courts the power of the large companies that many landlords are means the local police or courts are not willing to get involved and tenants have no legal representation and for those that refuse to leave they have had doors removed by the landlords making habitation and security impossible. It seems that some unscrupulous landlords are above the law in that country.