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How to a be tenant landlords don’t want to lose

16 Sep 2019

Landlords and real estate agents don’t want to lose great tenants. But what is a good tenant?

Good tenants are hard to find, and landlords are usually willing to negotiate lower escalations if you look after the property and pay on time.

Here’s a checklist from property professionals at Just Property:

1. Prepare well before you view

Joe Alves, Just Property agent for Blouberg, says the first thing to do when you’re looking for a property is to prepare a list of your requirements. Having a clear idea will save everyone’s time and impress the agent managing the property.

So make a list of must-haves: how many bedrooms and bathrooms you need? How many parking spaces or garages must the home have? Does the property need to be pet-friendly? What level of security is a dealbreaker? Do you need to be near shops, schools, public transport and any other amenities?

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2. Be involved in the lease process

Laureen Leps from Just Property Atlantic Seaboard says tenants shouldn’t be too shy to ask all the important questions before they sign a lease - this actually makes for better relations between tenant and landlord as everyone knows exactly where they stand.

Ask for an explanation around any points you don’t understand, and establish upfront whether there are any additional costs over and above the monthly rental etc., says Leps.

Accept that a number of documents may be required for the initial credit check. It’s just a fact of rental life, and you don’t want to start this relationship on a bad note, so get them together and submit them willingly.

3. Pay your rent on time

Once the lease is signed, make sure that the rental and all other costs are paid timeously - this is the most important aspect of being a tenant that agents will be happy to recommend to landlords.

“Remember, the landlord is a person with responsibilities, just like you. He or she relies on that money to pay their bond or any other payments needed for the property,” says Melissa Bee, Just Property agent for City Bowl.

Once a record of timeous payments and trust is established, it can even have an impact on the rent you pay - landlords don’t want to lose a good tenant and when the annual increase is due, they may be prepared to negotiate a lower increase rather than lose dependable tenant.

4. Look after the property

Great tenants keep the property in good condition, and always ask permission before making changes such as painting or knocking nails into walls.

Every good tenant will also restore what has been changed to its original condition when vacating the property, says Just Property Blouberg agent, Marilize Prinsloo.

Engela Cilliers, a Just Property agent in Lephalale, adds that they also communicate regarding problems such as water leaks, trees/plants that are damaging the building or fence, etc.

“They let us know before a small issue becomes a huge problem, arranging access as required for the landlord or agent. I define a great tenant as one who looks after the property as if it is their own,” says Cilliers.

“My good tenants keep the property clean inside and out, and happily see to general day-to-day maintenance and small repairs themselves. When big repairs are required, they are also understanding and allow the landlord reasonable time to carry out the repairs,” says Prinsloo.

5. Be a good neighbour

Weighing in with her perspective from Just Property Middelburg, Mariëtte Oosthuizen says good tenants are assets in their community. They do not cause a disturbance and are considerate of their neighbours. As such they are in a position to try to solve problems with neighbours rather than contacting the agent (such as when a neighbour is noisy), says Mariëtte.

Oosthuizen emphasises that good tenants are scrupulous about conforming to any body corporate rules.

6. Ask for help

“Sometimes events occur that are beyond your control. Retrenchment or loss of earnings is devastating, but don’t try to hide it from your agent,” says Liesl Alves of Just Property Blouberg.

“We understand, and so do landlords, that life can sometimes throw you a curveball.”

“If you’re a star tenant, we can often work together to try and find a solution. If your circumstances change and you cannot fulfil the terms of the lease, don’t wait. You need to inform your landlord or agent as soon as possible,” says Alves.

7. Credit check

PauStevens, CEO of Just Property, says a good credit record is obviously the most important characteristic agents and landlords look for in a tenant.

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