Pick tenants wisely

2015-06-10 06:00

ALL landlords know that the more you have to spend on maintenance and repairs, the less profit you make on your rental property. However, this concern always needs to be weighed against the fact that a dirty, run-down property will not attract or keep good tenants.

Andrew Schaefer, managing director of national property management company Trafalgar, says it is much more expensive to have a property standing empty than to maintain it.

He advises landlords to attend to repairs and get expert help from a reputable managing agent to select tenants that will take good care of the asset.

Schaefer says the Rental Housing Act provides for the landlord to maintain any property that is rented out both internally and externally, although it does also say that the landlord and tenant can make a different arrangement.

“In this case, your lease agreement will need to spell out exactly who is responsible for what maintenance. And in all cases, it is important to manage expectations from the outset. Tenants need to understand, for example, that the landlord’s responsibility is to hand over the property in a ‘habitable’ or ‘fit for purpose’ condition.”

Meanwhile, landlords need to understand that they are responsible for fixing problems related to “fair wear and tear”.

“Finally, there should be no room for doubt or dispute that any damages that are beyond fair wear and tear or have been deliberately caused will be the responsibility of the tenants – or that they may forfeit their deposit if they move out without making the necessary repairs.”

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