Non-paying tenants a problem. says property rental manager

"Tenants who do not pay their rent on time, or do not pay at all, have become a big problem."

So says Sunell Afrika, rental manager at IHFM, "It is increasingly important for landlords to remember to vet their prospective tenants properly before agreeing to sign a lease.

"It is very important," she said, "that you do your homework from the beginning."

Make sure, when screening the tenant, that he supplies a full credit history, recent landlord references, the last three months' bank statements, and confirm that the tenant is employed and ask how long he has worked for the company.

The next thing to do is an affordability check and only place tenants that can comfortably afford the rent.

"Even when doing all of the above, certain things in life can happen and things might go wrong," said Afrika. "Some people unfortunately lose their jobs, get divorced, etc and in these cases it's important for landlords to act immediately.

"If you have maintained a good relationship with the tenants, find out what the problem is and, if it can be resolved, try to find an amicable solution for both parties before involving attorneys. This is very costly and can often be avoided."

However, as a landlord, remember that this is a business relationship.

While the landlord can have empathy towards his tenant's predicament he also has to be firm: if no rent is paid the tenant cannot stay on indefinitely.

If the landlord has a managing agent, it is easier to work with the tenant to find a solution that suits both parties, said Afrika.

"If this fails you will unfortunately have to involve an attorney to start the eviction process," she said. "As part of IHFM's management package we offer our clients a landlord protection policy which will cover the landlord for up to six months in lost rental payments and also the legal fees when having to evict a tenant. This service helps a great deal and we advise all to take advantage of policies such as these."

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