Three tricky situations landlords can avoid

Whether you are a well-established landlord or are still thinking of getting in to the game, there are some pitfalls that might trip you up.

Natalie Muller, regional head of rentals at Jawitz Properties Western Cape, offers some tips.

“By now most people have heard of the popular private letting site, Airbnb, including tenants. Holidays at the end of year are just around the corner, making now a tempting time for tenants to consider subletting either a room in your property, or your entire home without your knowledge.

“This could be a lucrative opportunity for tenants to supplement what they pay in rent but without your permission. This is simply not okay. If you live far from your property or rely on a friend to manage it for you, short of keeping a constant eye on Airbnb listings, it can be difficult to check that your tenants aren’t taking advantage. A managing agent should regularly check in with tenants, talk to them and should pick up if anything is amiss, such as subletting going on without your permission.”

She says the Western Cape in particular is a desirable destination for foreign tenants, but how do you vet them to make sure you can actually rent to them safely?

“Although there are foreigners with permanent residency, or those on sabbatical or study leave, often 90 days is the term of a visitor visa, and it is not unheard of that tenants can bend the truth to get into a rental property, only to fly away in breach of the lease.

“It is absolutely essential to check their credentials from their bank details in their country of origin, to make sure they are creditworthy. Relying on these means and references, however, might not be enough. Managing agents should help to properly screen prospective foreign tenants and to search for them on social media, for example, to ascertain their character and who or what they are associated with. The most thorough screening protects you from losing out on rent and being faced with trying to seek recourse with an absconding tenant who has left the country altogether, and left you in the lurch.”

As landlords can no longer put utility bills into the names of tenants, it is often more cost effective to install prepaid electricity metre. However, Muller says that if you don’t keep your other utility bills paid up to date, when a tenant puts in prepaid electricity, part of it can be deducted due to arrears on your accounts.

This of course is unfair to the tenant and could result in them attempting to claim compensation or withholding paying rent until you address the problem and settle your bills. Tenants may not withhold rent at any time for any reason and doing so would affect their credit ratings.

“More important, for you, your cash flow would be negatively affected, so it’s essential for your own creditworthiness to pay your utility bills. Managing agents are the go between, and a middle man can be helpful if there are sensitive issues like this to deal with. By keeping communication lines open, managing agents can keep tenants and landlords informed and make sure problems are reasonably resolved or avoided altogether,” says Muller.

  Comment on this Article

  Please login to post comments

Post to my facebook wall
Characters remaining

    Latest Property News
    • 20 Feb 2018
      The suburb of Greenstone in Johannesburg east came to be over the last two decades. “In the beginning, it was literally just a hill with not so much as a shopping centre,” says Michael Levy, Property Consultant at Jawitz Properties Bedfordview. Today it has plenty shopping facilities and is fully built, boasting high-density, upmarket housing and residential estates, though still has a few pockets poised for commercial development.
    • 20 Feb 2018
      A major shift in the ageing paradigm has precipitated an equally dramatic transformation in the retirement sector, with modern accommodation options worlds away from the conventional model.
    • 19 Feb 2018
      Possibly one of the biggest sources of contention between landlords and tenants surrounds the rental deposit. “Most tenants rely on getting their rental deposits back when moving, so that they can use it to pay a deposit on their new home. Having it withheld or even having large amounts deducted can lead to a lot of distress,” explains Bruce Swain, CEO of Leapfrog Property Group.
    • 19 Feb 2018
      Situated approximately halfway between Johannesburg and Pretoria, Midrand was established in 1981 and forms part of the City of Johannesburg Metropolitan Municipality. It has become one of the major business hubs in the country with major pharmaceutical, textile, telecommunication and motoring giants situated within its boundaries.
    • 19 Feb 2018
      The PayProp Rental Index Annual Review of 2017 shows that the rental market suffered from much volatility during the year. It kicked off with rental growth spiking in January with weighted year-on-year growth (YoY) growth peaking at 8.3% before dropping to 6.34% in July, dipping down to less than 5% in November and then experiencing a slight uptick at 5.75% in December.
    • 19 Feb 2018
      While most homes in cluster complexes, estates and other gated communities come with at least one garage or carport, residents would often like additional permanent parking or storage areas for things like trailers, bikes, boats and caravans.
    • 16 Feb 2018
      Whether you own a property in a sectional title complex or are looking to invest in one, the financial standing of the body corporate is the single most important thing that can affect your investment or your buying decision.
    • 15 Feb 2018
      One positive consequence of the financial crash in 2008 was the rise in consumerism, especially in the property market, where buyers have steadily become more knowledgeable and more value conscious.
    Subscribe to the MyProperty Newsletter

    Last Name  
    Email Address  
    Email Frequency
    Share this Page

    For Sale Property
    Rental Property
    More Options
    Connect with us