Claiming Damages from Tenants

on Sunday, 11 September 2016. Posted in LettingWorx Property Rentals

Claiming Damages from Tenants & Refunding Tenant Deposit

Ensure your documentation is watertight if you need to claim damages from the tenant before refunding their deposit. This all begins with the ingoing inspection before the tenancy starts ...

Conducting Property Rental Inspections

on Sunday, 11 September 2016. Posted in LettingWorx Property Rentals

Conducting Property Rental Inspections

There is so much detail and legality around ingoing and outgoing property rental inspections. When should they be done? ... Who needs to do them? ... What happens if they're not done?

A recorded inspection of the home is vital to protect both parties - here are some pertinent do's and don'ts for rental inspections …

How do you find a Quality Tenant?

on Sunday, 26 July 2015.

A number of landlords (and sadly some agents too) accept an applicant for their property without exercising due diligence. Without careful tenant screening many landlords find themselves in a very stressful situation when after the first few months the tenant starts paying rent late, and/or not paying utilities, and sometimes later not even paying the rent at all.

Before signing a lease and handing over your property to a perfect stranger you want to know that you have found a good tenant in that the prospective occupier can pay the full rent on time every month, and will look after your property...

 

What to do when your Tenant doesn't pay Rent

on Sunday, 26 July 2015.

Late or non-payment of rental is a breach of lease, but the proper procedures need to be followed to put the tenant to terms or evict - DIY eviction of a tenant is not just frowned upon, it's illegal.

It is unlawful in terms of the Rental Housing Act (RHAct), and a criminal offence to ...

 

Late or non-payment of rental is a breach of lease, but the proper procedures need to be followed to put the tenant to terms or evict - DIY eviction of a tenant is not just frowned upon, it's illegal.

 

It is unlawful in terms of the Rental Housing Act (RHAct), and a criminal offence, for a landlord to cut supply of electricity or water, or to change locks, unlawfully seize goods, intimidate, or obstruct a tenant's entry to the property in any way.  Likewise, any form of harassment could see you being sued by the tenant - so keep it legal! (and the RHAct provides these rights "equally to members of the tenant’s household and to visitors of the tenant").

 

This includes respecting/protecting the privacy of the tenant, e.g. please don't send a demand letter in a fax to his/her office, or to an office email, or phone their secretary! - the  RHAct gives the tenant the right "not to have the privacy of his or her communications infringed", and the negligent disclosure of personal information, which includes correspondence, would surely fall foul of the POPI act too.

 

So how to deal with a non-paying tenant, or who pays rent or services late?

 

Recommended Procedure to Follow:

  • Taking action swiftly, the first time and any time a rental or any municipal services due are late, will send the message that you are a serious landlord and late payments and breaches are not tolerated, and reduce your risk of a tenant falling behind. If you let it ride and they fall behind with even one month of municipal services it can become a slippery slope leading toward you having to use part or all of their deposit for outstanding utilities at end of lease, leaving you with nothing if any damages need repair.
     
  • If rent or utilities are not paid by the 1st (or whatever date is written in the lease), phone tenant to find out why and request proof of payment. The initial phone call, rather than only email helps you establish if there is a bone fide reason or the tenant is starting to duck and dive (emails have no tone of voice!). Then you can confirm in an email whatever promise of payment the tenant made - e.g. 'as agreed earlier I look forward to your proof of payment by -- date --', or something to that effect (no threats, which could be constituted as harassment) as the 'paper trail' will be very helpful if you need to take legal action later.
    FYI: there is no law in South Africa which allows the tenant to pay by the 7th of the month, which some tenants seem to believe this is their right so it's important to point this out at commencement of the lease.
     
  • Send a letter to the tenant informing them of the breach (sent by registered mail, and also a good idea to send by email and/or take by hand as back-up) giving the tenant *20 business days to rectify the breach and notifying that failing which the **lease will be cancelled and the tenant required to vacate. NB: Your lease must have a breach clause.


Notes:

* In terms of the Consumer Protection Act, which also governs leases, you are required to give the tenant 20 business days notice to remedy any breach of lease.
** By cancelling the lease the tenant is then regarded as an illegal occupier and the eviction process can begin.
 

 For this breach notice to be legally acceptable it should contain no less than:

• The date

• The names of the parties

• The address of the property

• The nature of breach, and if non-payment, the amount overdue (include rent and services if applicable

• Reference to the breach clause in the lease

• Must be signed by the landlord or the agent

 

And should be delivered by registered mail. Although some leases don't specify this, according to our attorney an eviction case was apparently rejected by a local judge because the notice letter was not sent by registered mail - so save yourself time, money and frustration and send registered, and file the Post Office slip as proof that notice was properly served. The notice is valid whether the tenant acknowledges it or not.

 

  • If the tenant doesn't remedy the non-payment breach within the 20 working days, and doesn't vacate, you will need to contact an attorney to issue summons for outstanding rent and commence with eviction proceedings. Please do use an attorney who specialises, it can help shorten the process and an eviction procedure not followed correctly can cause costly delays.

 

Request a Property Inspection

If a tenant starts paying late and giving you the run around with promises to pay, it would be wise to also request a property inspection to ensure their lack of respect is not extending to their care of the property. Remember that you may not arrive unannounced or enter without permission - see Can a landlord visit without notice? (Q & A)

 

Owner-manage your rental without the stress

If you intend to owner-manage your rental let us secure a quality tenant for you - a thorough tenant screening procedure will drastically minimise the risk of securing the wrong tenant. And for the qualified tenant we can arrange a rental Deposit Guarantee to further reduce risk and stress for the owner-manager landlord (There is no cost to you, premiums are paid by the tenant).

 

We effectively manage tenant risk with the PayProp Tenant Assessment report which is a very comprehensive tool providing in-depth affordability assessment as well as credit checks. This Tenant Assessment report is in PayProp's words a more "forward-looking indicator of affordability, to better anticipate if a tenant will be able to pay their rent in future or not”

Once we've done all checks and analysed the full report we have a very clear view of affordability and indication on the prospective tenant's ability to pay future rent.

 

The Payprop Deposit Guarantee (underwritten by RMB) is an excellent product which provides up to 2.5 times the rental for legal costs as well as damages and arrear rental, providing security for the landlord.

 

Contact us for more information This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. / 021-762 4809 / 083 324 7401

What are the end of tenancy cleaning requirements?

on Monday, 27 April 2015. Posted in LettingWorx Property Rentals

What is the tenant’s responsibility when moving out in terms of cleaning and maintenance? Of course the golden rule is, repair any damage and leave the property as you would like find it. Also a thorough ‘spring clean’ is required at end of tenancy and this takes planning and work, so here is a checklist to help you comply.

Landlords Responsibilities for Property Repairs and Maintenance

on Sunday, 09 March 2014. Posted in LettingWorx Property Rentals

What is the Landlords responsibility for Property Maintenance?

To be clear on landlords responsibilities for repairs and maintenance of rental properties – owners often ask why they should repair something like a broken lock, alarm contact, or auto gate not opening, when “the tenant is the one living there”. The simple answer comes down to, tenants can generally only be held liable for repairs/replacement in the property if the damage was caused by the tenant actions, or ...

Relocation to Cape Town not slowing down

on Monday, 17 June 2013. Posted in LettingWorx Property Rentals

DEMAND FROM TENANTS RELOCATING TO CAPE TOWN

The number of enquiries from prospective tenants relocating and needing property to rent in Cape Town has definitely not slowed down this year – the migration South appears to be constant and steady as we receive a number of ‘relocation to Cape Town’ rental enquiries daily from people within SA and abroad.

Usually every year from about October we expect and receive ...

Mould and Mildew in Rental Property - LettingWorx Rentals

on Sunday, 11 November 2012. Posted in LettingWorx Property Rentals

Whose Responsibility is removing Mould in Rented Property?

Mould in rental property caused by lack of ventilation and humidity, i.e. by the tenant’s use of the property, is the responsibility of the tenant to prevent/control/eliminate.  And preferably eliminate mildew immediately it’s noticed as mould spores can be breathed in and can be a real health hazard.  Millions of mould spores bustle around in dust particles in your rental home and become active in moist, humid conditions.  Mould can be found in any room due to ...

What is Fair Wear and Tear on rented property?

on Sunday, 28 October 2012. Posted in LettingWorx Property Rentals

What constitutes Fair Wear & Tear in rented property?

The question of fair wear and tear on a rental property and what damages a landlord can deduct from a tenant's deposit .... one could write reams on this topic - the subject I'm sure of many a heated debate between landlord and tenant.

Basically fair wear and tear is seen as damage or loss to an item at the rented property which happens as a result of ordinary use and exposure over time.  

So what damages can a Landlord charge for ... ?

Capital Gains Tax on Investment Property

on Sunday, 14 October 2012. Posted in LettingWorx Property Rentals

What is your Capital Gains Tax liability on sale of Investment Property?

There are quite significant exemptions and deduction allowances to reduce Capital Gains Tax liability.  In March 2012 exclusions were increased - primary residence from R1.5m to R2m, and annual from R20k to R30k, and so was the taxable percentage.  But the impact can be reduced ...

Tax Deductions on Monthly Rental Income

on Friday, 12 October 2012. Posted in LettingWorx Property Rentals

What are Allowable Tax Deductions on Monthly Property Rental Income?

Landlords tax obligations on rental investment properties arise from income and capital gain. The investors tax liability can be reduced by allowable expenses, i.e. Revenue expenses from monthly rental income, and Capital expenses from capital gains.  While letting your property you will be taxed ...
 

The Consumer Protection Act and Lease Agreements

on Sunday, 23 September 2012. Posted in LettingWorx Property Rentals

Making peace with the Consumer Protection Act and Lease Agreements

Article updated March 2014. The introduction of the The Consumer Protection Act (CPA) in South Africa in April 2011 stirred fear in the hearts of landlords, and is still today viewed with angst by most new landlords we meet. As with everything we sometimes fear what we're not familiar with. Over the last 3 years we've experienced some benefits and made peace with the effects of the Consumer Protection Act on lease agreements ...

Does your rental agent conduct thorough credit checks on tenant applications?

on Friday, 10 August 2012. Posted in LettingWorx Property Rentals

In the current economy it is imperative that your rental agent conduct very thorough checks on tenant applications - we can't stress this enough - if your agent does not do this you run a very real risk of securing the wrong tenant, a nightmare you don't want to be faced with.

South African households are still showing a high percentage of debt in relation to disposable income - apparently not much reduced since the peak of the boom, therefore those with high debt have been taking considerable strain for quite some time - making the landing of an unsuitable tenant a risk ...

Giving your Cape Town rental properties the edge

on Friday, 10 August 2012. Posted in LettingWorx Property Rentals

Property Investors/Landlords invest in your property to attract quality tenants for your Cape Town rental properties.

When tenants are viewing prospective rental properties, as well as curb appeal - interior eye appeal and presentation are vital in attracting a quality tenant.  Also, a well-maintained property will attract a significantly higher rental than the slightly worn-around-the-edges rental property down the road.

Tenants

Are you looking for houses or apartments to rent in Cape Town?  Browse our range of rentals in the Southern Suburbs to find the perfect new home or contact us to learn more about our current featured rental properties.

Property Investors

From Lofts to Mansions we focus on securing quality tenants through stringent tenant selection, and optimising the return on our clients' investment.  Read more about our services and how we can assist you in letting and property management.

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