What a specialised rental agent brings to the party

With the rental market continually gaining momentum and a consistent influx of tenants into the market, there is no shortage of people wanting to rent property.

“However,” says Adrian Goslett, CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa, “while buy-to-let investors may have a number of people interested in renting their properties, it is important that they choose the right tenant. This can avoid complications such as defaults on rentals or costly damage to their property.”

He notes that basing your decision purely on first impressions may not be that easy. “Without doing the necessary background checks, it is difficult to make the right choice, and because finding the right tenant is a decision that can largely affect the return on investment for a rental property owner, it is a very important part of the process. Tenants that default on their rental instalments are a particular concern, and where possible, landlords who have signed contracts with them want to avoid engaging in a costly legal battle. This is where the services of a specialised rental agent can really benefit the landlord. The rental agent will be able to vet the tenants and assist with the making sure that the owner secures a good monthly income as their investment property grows in value,” says Goslett.

During the vetting process, a professional rental agent will look at tenant history as well as conclude a full check on the potential tenant’s credit history to confirm that they can afford the monthly rental payments. “Even after the vetting process there could still be a situation where a tenant defaults for whatever reason, however, a rental agent should have an action plan to deal with this effectively and efficiently,” says Goslett.

He advises that just as choosing the right tenant is important, ensuring that the right agent is in charge of your most valuable financial asset is also vital. “All real estate agents will have the required qualifications to sell property as well as handle lease agreements. However, much like it is important to deal with an agent that specialising in that particular area when selling your property, it highly advisable for landlords to utilise the services of an agent who has chosen to specialise in rentals,” says Goslett. “This is due to the fact that the laws surrounding the rental process and how they affect the relationship between landlords and tenants have become far more intricate in recent times.”

According to Goslett, a landlord must be able to trust their rental agent and have an open communication channel with them. He says that often disputes can arise when a landlord does not clearly communicate their objectives and what is expected of the rental agent. “There should be a clear and concise mandate that sets out the agent’s overall responsibilities and deals with issues such as the maintenance of the property as well as the fee that will be charged. Both the landlord and tenant should be in agreement and sign the document,” he says.

Goslett notes that another benefit of using a rental agent is that they can play the role of mediator if disputes arise between the landlord and tenant. A rental agent that understands what both parties are trying to achieve can help resolve the issue with the best possible outcome. “Agents have no emotional attachment to the problem, which ideally places them in a position to objectively see both sides of the argument and appropriately offer advice.”

“When it comes to property rental, it takes a great deal of hard work and dedication to ensure that all the parties get the most out of the transaction. An experienced rental agent can assist greatly in making the sometimes difficult process of owning and renting out a property much smoother,” concludes Goslett.

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