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Landlords tips: Renting out property in South Africa

Category Landlord Information

The main contributors to being a successful landlord is selecting the best possible tenants and ensuring the rental property is well maintained.

If you don’t have the time to keep up a property on your own, or if you own several rental properties, you can very quickly become inundated. This is the main reason Chas Everitt property rental agents are selected in the first place – they are there to assist you on both points!

“Pick your rental agency  very carefully” is the advice that Brendon Lahana principal of the Chas Everitt St Francis & Jeffreys Bay franchises offers.

“If you are not going to personally manage your rental units, you are going to have to use a reputable agency to manage the process for you. Take the time to select a reputable property rentals agency with a proven track record.

Ensure that the estate agency (and their staff) you choose is correctly registered with the Estate Agents Affairs Board, that their Fidelity Fund certificates are current and that their staff are correctly qualified.”

“Always make sure that everything related to the rental of the property is in writing” stresses Roger Dixon, well known attorney and partner at Chas Everitt Edenvale.

“This is as important for your tenant as it is for you as the Landlord as it protects everyone’s interests. Whatever is agreed upon (or not agreed upon) must be reduced to writing. This includes everything from the initial application to agreements/rules/conduct issues etc.

If something needs repairing get your tenant to make the request in writing despite the fact that they may have advised you in person or telephonically. It’s a good habit to help you keep track of expenditure and it ensures you have an accurate history for each property and tenant.”

Dave Pride who manages a large property rental portfolio in the Chas Everitt Randburg operation stresses the importance of ensuring that all references must be checked - properly.

“Problem tenants are sometimes incredibly adept at creating a good impression and can pull the wool over even the most experienced of landlords’ eyes. It is imperative that genuine and verifiable references are obtained and that the necessary time and care is taken to check them out” he adds.

“I always want to ensure that we offer our tenants a clean and safe rental property. I would advise all Landlords to keep your rental property clean and properly maintained. Not only does it make it a load easier to rent, it reduces any liability, makes for a happier landlord/tenant relationship and is simply a case of protecting your investment. In SA today, security is a key issue, depending on the location of your property to let, you may want to review/add/upgrade your security. This not only helps keep your tenants safe and makes for an easier let; it may also have a positive influence on your own insurance premiums” is what John Fuller, owner of the Chas Everitt Plettenberg Bay franchise, who handles both holiday rentals and longer term properties to rent in Plettenberg Bay leases. We focus a lot of energy and time making sure our rental client gets a well maintained home when they let from our Landlords.”

“Linked to this is the fact that you also need to repair the rented property QUICKLY when needed” Fuller continues. “Tenants have the right to decent living conditions – and if there are genuine repair issues, attend to them promptly. A good letting agency will generally have a list of service providers available who can assist. Certain repair issues such as plumbing, appliances and electrical issues cannot be delayed.

Another common mistake Landlords make is in the lease agreement. “Use a valid lease agreement says Charl Louw of Chas Everitt Seapoint in the Western Cape. It sounds like stating the obvious but we see inexperienced Landlords using terrible lease agreements all the time. South African property laws are tricky and our country is also one of the most legislated environments in the world. Laws are constantly changing with regards to the likes of the Housing Acts, Consumer Protection issues etc. It is absolutely vital that the lease agreement you use with your tenants is well-drafted and covers all the necessary issues. If you are handling your own rental properties, have your agreement checked by an attorney to cover the bases.

“Adequately insure yourself – something those new to letting out properties forget” says Ramona Grimbeek Manager at the Chas Everitt Nelspruit agency. “Make sure that you have the correct level of insurance, property liability insurance etc. If you have to claim or your rental agency needs information ensure you have all the information readily available – a tenant with a burst geyser who has to spend days waiting for this to be settled can become your worst nightmare”

“Always treat your tenant fairly. Look after your tenants and in the main they will look after you. Strive to treat your tenants fairly. Try and out yourself in their shoes and understand their position. Having a good relationship with your tenants makes your life a lot more pleasant and will pay dividends on the likes of longer let periods, reduced payment delinquency and a better cared for property”. Sage advice offered by Paul Greyling from Chas Everitt Centurion.

In closing, it’s important to remember to respect Tenants’ right to privacy. Whilst it is not unreasonable to inspect a property, spare a thought for your tenant and be understanding in the process. Chas Everitt Property rental agencies provide the tenant with a schedule for inspections and will ensure that the matter is handled courteously and with fair notice.

Author: Barry Davies

Submitted 31 May 12 / Views 178