How tenants can protect their deposits

Sheree Peach, Residential Rentals Manager at Renprop, discusses the essential items for tenants to check and know about when moving into or out of a rental property in order to protect their deposits

Whether moving in or out of a rental property, tenants want to ensure their deposit is protected. Sheree Peach, Residential Rentals Manager at Renprop, says that when moving into a rental unit, tenants will need to pay a deposit (which is usually based on one month’s rent, sometimes two) as well as whatever rental amount has been agreed upon in the lease.

Rental deposits are then held in an interest-bearing account for the duration of the lease term, with the interest accumulating for the tenants’ benefit. Peach says that when the lease agreement comes to an end, tenants should ask for a full statement of account on their deposit so they know what is owed to them when they move out.

She points out that the state of the property before the tenant moves in and after they move out at the end of the lease period is one of the biggest influencing factors on the deposit, and whether or not the full amount will be refunded to the tenant once they have moved out of the property.

She provides some advice to tenants as to how they can protect their rental deposit:

When moving in

While typically a rental agent will go through a basic snag list with the tenant upon them receiving the keys to a property, it is often only after a person has been in a home for a longer period of time that they notice what works and what doesn’t.

Peach notes that tenants who have moved into a rental unit have just seven days from being handed the keys to report any additional issues they may have come across. “Should a tenant discover additional snags to those on the snag list drawn up with their agent or landlord, they should report it in writing. It’s also a good idea to document the defects with photos as a record to be sent to the agent or landlord,” she says.

To avoid any potential problems down the line, Peach advises tenants to perform a comprehensive check with the agent when the keys are handed over. “This includes turning on lights and taps to check they all work properly, as well as less obvious things like flushing toilets and opening cupboard doors and drawers.”

A thorough inspection with snags sent to the landlord or rental agent in writing means that when it comes time to move out, defects that existed previously are not blamed on the tenant, who will then forfeit part or all of their deposit, depending on the nature of the problem, says Peach.

When moving out

Moving out is a big job with lots of boxes to pack and things to organise. However, Peach says that checking the rental property properly for any problems will protect the tenants deposit and ensure a smoother handover.

“Tenants should ensure they leave the property in the same condition it was when they moved in. This means carefully going through the unit, fixing anything obvious such as holes in the walls that pictures may have left, and giving it a thorough clean, even though a cleaning fee may be part of the lease agreement.”

Peach says that tenants will lose a portion of their deposit - and end up paying more for small items like light bulbs that need replacing, for example – if they don’t attend to these matters before they move out. “Tenants can easily fix these kinds of items themselves for much less than what they will be charged if the landlord has to call a professional in to take care of it. There may also possibly even be call-out fees involved when a contractor is required to fix anything.”

Peach concludes by saying that the rental process can be hassle free, with deposits returned promptly should tenants be aware of what needs to be checked and taking proper care of the property they are renting.

  Comment on this Article

  Please login to post comments

Post to my facebook wall
Characters remaining

    Latest Property News
    • 20 Apr 2018
      Whenever changes in the political ecosystem of a traditional property market create uncertainty, smart investors begin to look elsewhere for new opportunities. Property experts at IP Global have analysed the trends and crunched the numbers to find new markets to explore in Europe and the United States.
    • 20 Apr 2018
      Energy and water self-sufficiency are increasingly important factors in home buyers’ choice of property – especially in Cape Town where the extreme drought of the past few years has made municipal supply costly as well as uncertain.
    • 19 Apr 2018
      During the last decade, rampant development has progressively transformed Cape Town’s property landscape with densification being the order of the day, but there are still one or two hidden gems like Scarborough which have retained their original character, offering an inimitable lifestyle and an attractive investment opportunity.
    • 19 Apr 2018
      The rental market is a cut-throat sector of the real estate market that waits for nobody. According to Adrian Goslett, Regional Director and CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa, first-time renters need to be fully prepared before they even start the process of looking for a place to rent in order to avoid the disappointment of losing out on their ideal property.
    • 19 Apr 2018
      Choosing to buy your first home instead of continuing to rent is a big decision that will usually take some time to put into action, but the sooner you can save up a sizeable deposit, the closer you will be to reaching your goal.
    • 18 Apr 2018
      Selling your home is no small task and as you will quickly find out, there are a lot of misconceptions about the process. Gerhard van der Linde, Seeff's MD in Pretoria East lists the top 5 misconceptions when you are selling your home.
    • 18 Apr 2018
      The Cape Town municipality is now installing water-management devices at properties that have been non-compliant with the new level 5 water restrictions and there are talks of fines between R5,000 and R10,000 for households that use too much water.
    • 17 Apr 2018
      The recent interest rate cut has stoked the coals in the first-time buyer’s market. At least for the next two months until the next interest rate announcement, homeowners are guaranteed lower monthly instalments than in the previous quarter. But, is it wise to take out a 100% bond just to enter the property market while interest rates are low?
    Subscribe to the MyProperty Newsletter

    Last Name  
    Email Address  
    Email Frequency
    Share this Page

    For Sale Property
    Rental Property
    More Options
    Connect with us