Be pre­pared and bud­get for rental re­pairs

George Herald - Private Property - - Property News -

No mat­ter how care­fully they are cho­sen to be "low main­te­nance" or in­spected by both ten­ant and land­lord, rental prop­er­ties - like other homes - will re­quire some up­keep and, from time to time, some re­pairs.

"Land­lords need to re­mem­ber this and ac­cept the fact that there are times they will have to pay some­one to re­pair a fault or re­place some­thing bro­ken. And that is much eas­ier if they al­low for it when cal­cu­lat­ing the ex­pected net re­turns from their buy-to­let in­vest­ments, says To­bie Fourie, na­tional rentals man­ager for the Chas Everitt In­ter­na­tional prop­erty group.

"The gen­er­ally ac­cepted amount to set aside for main­te­nance and re­pairs is be­tween 1% and 3% of the prop­erty's value per year. So on a R1-mil­lion prop­erty, for ex­am­ple, the amount would be at least R10 000, which can be put into a sav­ings or money mar­ket ac­count to earn in­ter­est un­til it is needed - as long as it is eas­ily ac­ces­si­ble."

He says that ten­ants also need to be rea­son­able, how­ever, and not as­sume that their land­lord is go­ing to pay for ev­ery bit of wear and tear on the prop­erty while they live there, or call him about ev­ery lit­tle thing that goes wrong - es­pe­cially if they have done the dam­age them­selves.

"They need to be pre­pared to keep the gar­den tidy, for ex­am­ple, and to clean the pool, clean up the oil their car leaked on the drive­way and re­place any­thing they break, at their own cost."

The lease agree­ment should of course make it very clear who is re­spon­si­ble for what, says Fourie, but com­mon sense should also pre­vail on both sides. "If the geyser bursts, for ex­am­ple, or the stove stops work­ing, it isn't fair of the land­lord to make ten­ants wait days for it to be re­placed or re­paired. On the other hand, ten­ants should never just go ahead with a big re­pair and then try to spring the bill on the land­lord - or threaten to take the amount out of the next month's rent. For one thing, the land­lord or his agent might have ded­i­cated re­pair and main­te­nance crew that could have done the work more cheaply. And for an­other, no-one likes to sud­denly re­ceive a big ac­count for unau­tho­rised ex­pen­di­ture."

As with most things, the re­la­tion­ship be­tween land­lord and ten­ant is a two-way street and open com­mu­ni­ca­tion makes it bet­ter, he says. "Ten­ants who con­stantly ask the land­lord to mend small things may find it dif­fi­cult to get him to at­tend to big­ger prob­lems. Those who do their part to main­tain the prop­erty in good con­di­tion may well find, how­ever, that he is on their side when it is time to ne­go­ti­ate the rent in­crease."

Is­sued by Chas Everitt In­ter­na­tional

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