Watch out for dodgy landlords

Tips on avoiding dodgy tenants are plentiful, but what about avoiding dodgy landlords?  

“Unfortunately there are just as many landlords who neglect their responsibilities towards their properties as there are tenants who do the same,” says Francois Venter, Director of Jawitz Properties.

The most important thing, says Venter, is to know upfront, before signing a lease, what your prospective landlord is responsible for, and whether or not these responsibilities are reflected in the lease.

“The landlord or owner of a rental property is responsible primarily for structural maintenance,” says Francois Venter, Director of Jawitz Properties. “This would generally include maintaining the roof, exterior walls, attending to any problems with damp, and the geyser.”

Tenants are responsible for wear and tear maintenance such as keeping gutters clean, maintaining the swimming pool and treating the property with respect. When the lease is up and a property is handed back to a landlord, it should be in the same condition as it was when the tenant moved in. “The only grey area that can become an issue is what is fair wear and tear,” says Venter. “It can be difficult to determine.”

There are ways tenants can safeguard themselves against accusations from landlords. Take photos of the condition of the property and be sure that a proper inspection is conducted. “The landlord should do this routinely between tenants, and should be aware of the condition of the property,” adds Venter. “It is also advisable to communicate openly if and when there are breakages, or any problems occur on the property.”

The lease agreement should also stipulate the conditions and responsibilities of both landlord and tenant.  “If a tenant fails to bring attention to any faults of the property within the first 7 days of occupation, this will mean the tenant accepts the property as is,” says Venter.

“Landlords and tenants can bargain on aspects such as a higher rent if the landlord agrees to make some upgrades to the property, or a lower rent if tenants decide to accept certain conditions within the property that may make it less attractive.  If bargaining is done, the lease should include clauses that state these agreements.”

Landlords should have house insurance that protects the property against fire, flood and other structural damages. Tenants on the other hand, should take out contents insurance.

“If there is a burst geyser, for example, and water damage destroys your television, you cannot expect your landlord to pay for a new television. Tenants are responsible for covering their own contents,” says Venter.

Contents insurance can further include personal liability cover which would insure tenants against third party claims. “In the event that a friend of yours falls down the stairs at the property you are renting, contents insurance would cover you for this, provided you have this benefit included in your policy.”

It is important to check that your landlord has agreed to what he or she should be responsible for, and follows through accordingly. “Remember, you cannot default on your rent if your landlord refuses to pay for painting the interior walls. The agreed upon circumstances, as presented in the lease are all the landlord will be accountable for,” concludes Venter.

  Comment on this Article

  Please login to post comments

Post to my facebook wall
Characters remaining

    Latest Property News
    • 20 Nov 2017
      Since 2012, sectional title complexes have been leading the South African property market, not only in terms of price growth, but sales volumes as well. Remaining relatively strong, even in the face of 2017’s political and economic turmoil, experts say this market segment could offer valuable insight into South Africans’ property purchase priorities.
    • 20 Nov 2017
      Regardless of whether you are purchasing your first start-up home, downsizing or moving in with roommates, finding ways to maximise small spaces can be a big advantage, says Adrian Goslett, Regional Director and CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa.
    • 20 Nov 2017
      Property valued at approximately R1 billion is on High Street Auctions’ sales floor during the month of November, including the much-anticipated sale of the Tshwane Mayoral Residence and the land occupied by one of South Africa’s oldest operating gold mines.
    • 17 Nov 2017
      FWJK has announced the launch of its latest residential brand, the Lil’ Apple, which will be launched simultaneously in two developments in Cape Town and Umhlanga totaling 600 apartments. The Lil’ Apple is set to be a brand of FWJK’s New York style apartments which will be rolled out nationally.
    • 17 Nov 2017
      It’s been a tumultuous year on many fronts, with socio-political uncertainty setting the tone for much of South Africa’s economic activity yet despite this and seemingly counter-intuitively, the residential property market has held up well.
    • 17 Nov 2017
      The EAAB (the Estate Agency Affairs Board) recently claimed that around 50,000 illegal estate agents could currently be operating illegally.
    • 16 Nov 2017
      Penthouses are synonymous with New York – characterised by high-rise living that is decidedly luxurious and spacious. While exclusivity comes at a price, you can still create a “penthouse” look and feel in your existing apartment or even the upstairs bedroom of a double storey house with some clever design changes and styling touches.
    • 16 Nov 2017
      The area has long been popular with kite surfers and, with escalating property prices in Cape Town itself, is increasingly in demand with home owners who work in town, but are looking to invest in more affordable properties.
    Subscribe to the MyProperty Newsletter

    Last Name  
    Email Address  
    Email Frequency
    Share this Page

    For Sale Property
    Rental Property
    More Options
    Connect with us