What you need to know when you want to rent

2015-03-30 07:00

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If you are looking into renting property, you are likely to find stock is scarce and estate agents are hard-pressed to find sufficient rental properties to meet demand. But if you get your ducks in a row and know where to look, you can easily find the perfect pad, writes Neesa Moodley.

Landlords can be quite picky nowadays when it comes to tenant selection, because there are so many prospective tenants to choose from.

Johann Groenewald, Seeff’s principal for the northern suburbs in Cape Town, says landlords who are working with credible rental agencies are seeing good value in the market.

“A high demand for rental accommodation and a shortage of stock has secured excellent returns for landlords, with rental increases in the order of 10% a year over the past two to three years,” he says.

As a prospective tenant, you need to remember that estate agents have dozens of people on their books who need accommodation, but only a limited number of rental properties available.

The onus is on you to contact the rental agencies, give them your details and then follow up every week to find out which properties have become available.

If you contact a rental agent and go through the screening process, this will put you one step ahead of other prospective tenants when you finally find the perfect place.

The requirements for tenants are not particularly onerous, but competition for well-priced rental apartments can be quite stiff.

You will need to provide the rental agency with three months’ bank statements, a certified copy of your ID and proof of your current residential address.

You will also need to agree to a credit check.

If you are self-employed, you will need six months’ bank statements, a certified copy of your ID and proof of your current residential address.

1. Make a clear list of your requirements and communicate these to the agent you are dealing with. How many bedrooms do you need? Is secure parking more important than access to public transport? Do you have children? If you do, will you need a property close to schools? It is important to state upfront if you have a pet, because pet-friendly flats are not easy to find and, more often than not, will only allow cats.

2. You may be required to provide references. These could be from previous landlords or even your employer. Speak to the relevant people ahead of time or obtain written references if you can.

3. Rental agencies often arrange a single viewing hour for rental properties, which means all prospective tenants view the property at the same time. Have your required documents ready ahead of time so that you have a competitive edge over other possible tenants.

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