Advice: rental advice
Before you make the big move, know what you’re getting yourself into
SO YOU’RE set to leave home and find your own space. Exciting times, but they can also be overwhelming. Here’s what you need to know as you come face to face with legal documents, deposits, removal costs and a whole lot more.
1WHERE TO LIVE?
If you’re new to an area, chat to people who live there. Ask about the pros and cons of the neighbourhood. What are the facilities – shops, restaurants, nightlife, parking, public transport, parks?
Which area is inexpensive and which is more costly? What’s security like? How long will your commute to work be?
You can also use Google – for example, type best areas to live in Johannesburg.
2HOW TO FIND IT
Now you have your suburb, where can you find a place to rent? Websites like property24.com list a wide range of options and check out local listings by googling rentals in your city.
Estate agents often have other properties not listed online. But avoid any nasty surprises by checking if you have to pay a fee for their services.
Take a walk around the area – you might see some rental notices on properties or on shop noticeboards. Not everyone wants to pay commission with an agent or pay to post a rental ad.
3WHAT’S ON OFFER?
So you think you’ve found the perfect place, well here are a few things you should check out first. Utilities – Is there power, water, waste removal, DStv? How much are these bills? Water – Check the pressure in the kitchen and shower. And check all the outlet drains properly. Laundry – If there’s no washing machine are there communal facilities for this? Storage – What’s inside and what other facilities are available for big items like bicycles? Amenities – Is there security, a gym or a pool in the block? If so, do they come with extra costs? Light – Is there enough natural light? Are curtains or blinds included? Security – Are the windows and doors properly fitted with locks? Is there an alarm? Is the entrance safe? Décor – Can you paint and hang things on the walls? Will you need to fix things up again before you leave? Noise – Can you hear your neighbours moving around? Are you on a busy street? Are there late-night bars nearby? Parking – Is it on the street, in the complex or in a secure covered area? Is it included in the rent or are there extra costs involved? Pets – Not all places allow animals, and usually there are limits to how many. Complex – Any rules you need to know like visitor restrictions or quiet hours?
4SIGNING YOUR LEASE
Don’t be in a rush to sign. Read it through carefully first – make sure you clarify anything you’re not sure about. Check the following: How much deposit will you have to pay and when will you get it back? It should be held in an interest-based account, which should be included in the deposit refund.
What’s your rent and how often and by how much will it increase?
Are there extra costs on top of your rent for things like electricity, rates and water? Can you sublease to other people? Does the lease end on a certain date or is it automatically renewed?
What happens if you move out before the lease is over?
It’s possible to negotiate before you sign, so this is the time to request any work be done in the place, like painting the walls, or request a parking bay. If the landlord agrees to whatever you’re asking for, make sure you get it in writing. Even the rent can be negotiated – for example, if you take a longer lease you might be able to get a reduction in the monthly fee.
Before you move in, take a good look around and note any damages. Take picturess and make sure the landlord or agent takes note so you don’t end up having to pay for these when you leave.
It may sound like a lot of work but answering these questions will help to make your move a happier experience.