Only a mere 3% of respondents said that the rental deposit always covers damages to property.
The survey found landlords or rental agents have to spend most of their time (72%) on administrative matters relating to the rental properties. This is followed by maintenance (62%), vetting of potential tenants (40%), lease renewals (34%), legal procedures (31%), evictions (29%) and deposit disputes (24%).
Letting and managing a property requires a lot of time and commitment, therefore it is of critical importance that the vetting process of potential tenants is fully complied to, according to Marlon Shevelew, director of Marlon Shevelew and Associates, who specialises in tenant and consumer law.
"The objective of the vetting process is to empower the rental agent to make an informed decision on behalf of the landlord as to the calibre of the prospective tenant," he said.
Incoming and outgoing inspections are essential and compulsory actions that allow for the deposit, upon expiration of the lease period, to be utilised to cater for any damages to the property caused during the lease.
The deposit itself is an amount which is held by either the agent or landlord as security that the premises will be restored to the landlord in the same condition as at commencement of the lease, except for fair wear and tear.
It’s important to note that, according to the Rental Housing Tribunal, if the landlord does not conduct the outgoing inspection in the presence of the tenant, it is deemed an acknowledgement that the property is in a proper state of repair, and the landlord will be responsible for refunding the tenant’s deposit in full, plus any interest.
This being said, if a rental agent places a tenant in a property and the tenant has not been vetted thoroughly, it could be seen as a dereliction of duty on behalf of the rental agent.
In such circumstances the landlord, in terms of section 54 of the Consumer Protection Act (CPA), would have the option of asking the rental agent to make good on its breach or to refund a portion of the commission for their inability to attend to services correctly.
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