Many South Africans purchase a second property for the sole purpose of renting it out to tenants to invest in their futures. It is important, however, to follow certain guidelines to manage the property investment successfully.
In an interview conducted by CapeTalk, author of ‘The Expert Landlord’ and property management entrepreneur David Beattie broke down the legalities surrounding renting, and how to do it successfully.
Beattie recommended that the property be in a good state of repair before one even contemplates renting it out to tenants. “If you were a tenant, would you want to stay there?” he asked.
Make sure that the property is valued properly and accurately before listing it on rental portals, as this will help you determine what to charge the tenant.
“Make sure to take good quality pictures of the rental, and add a quality description on the rental portals,” he added. Thereafter, it is as simple as showing potential tenants the property.
A good landlord is comparable to a bartender; they leave you alone when you don’t need them, but act quickly when something needs to be done. A good landlord is also great at communication, and will typically make use of a middle man such as a real estate or leasing agent.
“The better you are as a landlord, the better you can protect yourself from tenants,” Beattie said. This applies to tenants who are non-compliant, or do not pay their rent on time. “You do still need to use an agent, as many property owners are not always close to the let property. An agent makes it easier to oversee things.”
Vetting a potential tenant is also an important process, as its imperative that the tenant is able to afford the monthly rental rate. “After that, you go on various credit bureaus and check their credit status, then do reference checks with their previous landlords,” Beattie said.
Drawing up a lease that covers all bases is also essential in ensuring s good relationship between the tenant and landlord. A good lease sets out the rights and obligations of both the tenant and landlord. A lease may be obtained from an eviction or property attorney. “There are retail options available as well,” Beattie said. “But I recommend that you get one from someone who knows property laws.”
A good lease can also come into play if a tenant is non-compliant. “Please don’t take the law into your own hands,” Beattie advises. “The first thing to do is act quickly, and be decisive around the situation. If that doesn’t work, get legal help.”
He also added that there are many instances where tenants do not pay their rent on time (or ever), and that the key is to manage the situation quickly. “Its all about being decisive and managing the situation effectively,” he said.