Rules for happy rent­ing

George Herald - Private Property - - Property News -

Be­fore pur­chas­ing their own home, most peo­ple go through a spell of liv­ing in rented ac­com­mo­da­tion, and while tales abound of dis­as­trous and dis­heart­en­ing rental ex­pe­ri­ences for both ten­ants and land­lords, a few ground rules can go a long way to en­sur­ing a happy stay.

Put it in writ­ing

For new ten­ants, says To­bie Fourie, na­tional rentals man­ager for the Chas Everitt In­ter­na­tional prop­erty group, the most im­por­tant of these is to en­sure that ev­ery­thing is put in writ­ing, start­ing with a proper lease stat­ing the ad­dress and de­scrip­tion of the prop­erty be­ing rented, the names of both land­lord and ten­ant, the rental pe­riod, the amount of rent to be paid, the de­posit re­quired and un­der what con­di­tions it will be re­turned, the re­spon­si­bil­i­ties of both par­ties with re­gard to main­te­nance, and the po­ten­tial con­se­quences if the ten­ant fails to pay rent on time or breaches the agree­ment in any other way.

“Then if there is any pri­vate ar­range­ment that is not specif­i­cally cov­ered in the lease - like the ten­ant agree­ing to look af­ter the land­lord's dog - it should be writ­ten into a sep­a­rate doc­u­ment that is also signed by both the ten­ant and the land­lord or his agent,” he says.

"One rea­son for this is that with­out doc­u­men­ta­tion nei­ther party has proof of their case in any dis­pute - but a bet­ter one is that hav­ing ev­ery­thing in black and white helps to pre­vent dis­putes in the first place."

Read care­fully

Se­condly, he says, all doc­u­ments should be read care­fully, and all queries sat­is­fac­to­rily ad­dressed, be­fore they are signed.

“Leases can be con­fus­ing, but it is more fool­ish to sign with­out un­der­stand­ing ev­ery clause than to ask for doubt­ful is­sues to be ex­plained. “A lease is a legally bind­ing con­tract and once the ten­ant has signed he must abide by ev­ery clause. If the lease is bro­ken with­out the land­lord's ap­proval, the ten­ant risks los­ing his de­posit and even his

credit rat­ing.”


And fi­nally, says Fourie, ten­ants should never be afraid to com­mu­ni­cate with their land­lords or let­ting agents if they are hav­ing trou­ble stick­ing to the pro­vi­sions of their lease. “Ex­plain your prob­lem as soon as pos­si­ble, and what you pro­pose as a so­lu­tion. If you have been a re­spon­si­ble and re­li­able ten­ant up un­til that point, most land­lords will agree to rea­son­able changes to the lease or give you some lee­way to solve a fi­nan­cial prob­lem. “How­ever, they are not un­der any obli­ga­tion to make any spe­cial ar­range­ments - and are much less likely to do so for ten­ants that fail to com­mu­ni­cate un­til the rent is three months over­due, for ex­am­ple, or un­til the let­ting agent dis­cov­ers that they have sub-let the prop­erty with­out per­mis­sion.”

Is­sued by Chas Everitt In­ter­na­tional

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