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Tips for a trouble-free tenancy

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This week, the Property Poser experts continue with a few more considerations that could mean the difference between a successful, trouble-free tenancy and a tricky situation where the landlord and tenant are at loggerheads with one another.  In previous articles, the panel outlined the type of investigations into a prospective tenant that a landlord may consider carrying out. .

The landlord or rental agent should

properly assess and consider the information provided by the tenant in his or her application to lease, says Schalk van der Merwe from Rawson Properties in Somerset West.

“This is, however, only the beginning.”

Van der Merwe says it is often the little aspects that cause the discontent to begin to creep into the relationship; those that were left unsaid or unrecorded.

Filling a vacant property

“Desperation, whether on the part of the landlord who needs to fill a vacant property, or the tenant, who may be under pressure to find accommodation at the right price, can influence the decision-making process.”

Either party, as the case may be, may make promises and give undertakings that prove to be difficult to implement during the course of the lease, says Van der Merwe.

“For example, it may so happen that the garden of the rental property is in a poor state at the time of inception of the lease.”

Regardless of the terms of the written lease, the tenant may volunteer his or her skills, time and effort in bringing the garden up to scratch without really contemplating the amount of time and expense that this may involve, says Van der Merwe.

“One or two months into the lease and the tenant may begin thinking that a reduction in the amount of rental payable should be considered by the landlord, forgetting his or her eagerness at the inception of the lease.”

Grant Hill of Miller Bosman Le Roux Attorneys in Somerset West says this holds true for the interior of the dwelling too.

“Many landlords rent a property on a continuous basis and the property is cleaned as soon as the previous tenant vacates.”

But it may so happen that the rental property was formerly occupied by the landlord and served as a family home, says Hill.

“The landlord may be vacating for financial reasons or moving up to a better property.”

Hill says it often happens that the landlord fails to  clean or paint the interior of the rental property, for whatever reason, before seeking to place a tenant.

“Again, the tenant may not consider the responsibility he or she is taking on in

offering to clean the dwelling, which may include an offer to steam clean the carpets and paint one or more of the rooms.”

For this reason, a prudent landlord should consider the particularities and peculiarities applicable to the property concerned, says Hill.

“If specific and non-standard aspects are agreed upon, be sure to record these in writing as part of the lease and make mention of the financial aspects related to them.”

If expenses are to be reimbursed, record the amount that will be reimbursed, when and how the reimbursement will take place and whether the tenant will have to produce proof of expenditure, says Hill.

“If the landlord gives the tenant carte blanche to do certain things his or her way, this should also be recorded to avoid a dispute at the termination of the lease.”

Hill says these disputes often arise from the landlord wanting to use the tenant’s deposit to effect the changes as he or she as landlord would have preferred them.

“Regular inspections by the landlord or agent together with reasonable communication throughout the term of the lease could also serve to prevent a dispute, which brings to mind the old adage that it is the little foxes that spoil the vine.”

*To ask a property related question, visit www.propertyposer.co.za.

Written by Grant Hill and Schalk van der Merwe You are reading Tips for a trouble-free tenancy articles

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