Why landlords must communicate with tenants - Renting, Advice
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11 Feb 2016

Why Landlords Must Communicate With Tenants

There are various kinds of tenants landlords may encounter, from amenable and reasonable, to nightmarish and deplorable.

“It is vital for landlords to invest some time in protecting both themselves and their investment with consistent, clear communication in writing," says Rea.

This is according to Grant Rea, rental specialist at RE/MAX Living, who says one thing is clear, regardless of the nature of your lease agreement, clear and precise communication with your tenant is critical to the outcome of your tenancy arrangement.

Rea says since communication with your tenant can ‘make or break’ a tenancy, it is vital that the landlord considers what aspects need to be highlighted for the tenant before the tenancy begins. Keep in mind that the motto of every landlord should be ‘fair, firm and flexible’.

“Merging under unreasonable initial demands by the tenant leans the entire lease towards one of excessive leniency, and the tenant taking advantage of the landlord’s generosity with untimely payments and extra ‘uncalled for’ general demands,” says Rea.

“It is acceptable and expected for a landlord or agent to clearly outline expectations and guidelines of the tenancy arrangement. The success of tenancies is down to managing expectations.”

Rea says to not forget that, as a responsible landlord, there is an obligation to provide a written lease to the tenant, as well as original invoices for utilities and payment receipts. He says landlords should get into the habit of making sure all communication is in writing.

“This type of good practice will see landlords fare well when promises and expectation are misaligned over time. The landlord is also legally protecting both themselves and their rental property if any disputes are needed to be resolved in court.”

Adrian Goslett, regional director and CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa, says reducing contractual agreements to writing will ensure that any unnecessary confusion is put to rest even before the contract is entered into by the parties involved.

Rea says if the tenant breaches their terms of the lease agreement, the landlord should pay particular and careful attention to their communication regarding the precise breach of material terms of the lease. The landlord must then notify their tenant immediately of any breach incurred by them.

“Courts expect accurate written records of the breach, and adequate notice communicated to tenants allowing them an opportunity to remedy any breach or infringement of the tenancy agreement,” Rea says.

If this is not clearly recorded, he says courts may delay and even dismiss cases that have not strictly adhered to acceptable processes and communication.

“It is vital for landlords to invest some time in protecting both themselves and their investment with consistent, clear communication in writing, to ensure that everyone is in agreement with the lease agreement, and both the landlord and their tenants know what is expected of each other at all times,” says Rea.

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