Top 10 Tips for Renting Out Your Property
Whether you are renting out your investment property yourself or through an agent, there are many
considerations before you hand over the keys to your new tenant.
If you are a first time landlord consider the following:
- Do you want to rent your property long term or short term? (I.e. over school holidays, etc.)
- Do you want to rent your property furnished or unfurnished?
- What repairs and maintenance need to be done?
- How secure is the property?
- What are the legalities of letting?
Here are 10 top tips for renting out your property
1. Screen your tenants properly
This should probably be the golden rule of renting out your property. Never rent to anyone before
you have checked if they can actually afford to live there. This includes payslips (either three months
or up to six month), credit history (do they pay credit on time?), employment references and if
possible, previous landlord references.
2. Get things in writing
Never let a tenant move in without a written agreement that you have both signed (include
witnesses if possible). This lease should state the important facts such as how and when to handle
complaints and repair problems and when rent is due each month (i.e. 25 th , 31 st or 1 st ). If your
property comes furnished, all furnishings need to be listed in the agreement.
3. Handle the deposit paid by the tenant correctly
This is often a sticky situation, especially at the end of a rental agreement (i.e. when the contract
expires). A fair system of how the safety deposit is collected, held and returned and the rules that
permit a return should be agreed upon.
When a tenant leaves a property, it is up to you as the owner to first inspect the property to assess
any damages and the general condition of the property. Inspections are best done with the tenant
present to avoid any disputes.
4. Make sure the property is secure
Remember, an unsafe house, whether you are living in it or not, is a target for criminals and a drain
on your bank account. Ensure the property has the necessary security additions to protect it and
your tenant. Decent security gates, proper lighting and trimmed tree branches that hang over the
wall or fence are a few good ways to secure your tenanted property.
5. Provide notice before entering the property
While the property may belong to you, give your tenant fair warning when you are coming around
for an inspection. A tenant’s privacy should be respected so provide them with a rough estimation of
your inspections (i.e. every three months, every six months).
6. Disclose environmental hazards
The tenant needs to be made aware of any damp or mould before they move into your property.
You also need to make the tenant aware that you will take steps to remove all environmental
hazards in the home.
Before renting out your property, it is wiser to simply take care of all potential hazards as you may
struggle to rent out your property amongst other issues.
7. Make repairs to the units timeously
It is imperative that you stay up to date with all maintenance and repairs needed on your property,
especially if your tenant has requested this. If your property is left to disorder, you may find you lose
potentially great tenants. There is little difference between your tenant and your customer. If you
want him to pay on time, make sure your tenant is a happy tenant and has little to complain about.
8. Make sure you have adequate building insurance
While your tenants may be great tenants, Mother Nature may not always be on your side. Invest in
enough liability and property insurance in order to protect yourself financially.
Potentially inescapable instances include fires, storms, burglary or vandalism.
9. Try to resolve disputes with your tenants without lawyers and law suits
Any conflicts you may have with your tenant over rent, repairs, inspections of the property, noise, or
another issue, set up a meeting with the tenant to try resolve the problem without the use of a
lawyer or a potential law suit.
If this is not a success, seek counsel from a neutral third party or lodge a formal compliant with the
Rental Housing Tribunal of the Western Cape.
10. Don’t lose a good tenant with unreasonable rental increases
Landlords who think it is their right to up residential rental properties by 10% or more, run the risk of
losing good tenants who pay on time and look after the house as if it were their own. Such tenants
are difficult to replace. What is easy to replace is a tenant’s agreement with the next landlord who
offers a fairer, more impartial deal.
Make sure that when you do up the rental on an annual basis, it is based on facts and inflation and
not greed and increased profits.