Habits of good tenants

Understanding the terms of your lease, paying on time and behaving like a good neighbour, are just some of the habits of good tenants.

In today’s world of property, a good track record as a tenant and paying on time are vital to ensuring a good record if you want to move on to another rental property.

Seeff reveals a few habits practised by good tenants:

Keep a good credit record – all new tenants have to undergo a credit check and it is important to ensure that you maintain your credit in a good and positive manner to facilitate approval when applying for a rental property. You will be required to prove your income as well as provide personal information for the check.

Understand the terms of your lease – ensure you fully understand the terms of your lease which sets out the rights and obligations of the landlord and tenant. In addition to the standard obligations, it may contain special provisions such as maintaining the garden and swimming pool if applicable. Sectional title property come with specific conduct rules that you need to familiarise yourself with and adhere to.

Don’t make a nuisance of yourself – be mindful of being a good neighbour. That means not making excessive noise and adhering to bylaws relating to noise, especially after hours and at night. It also extends to aspects such as visitors not parking in a neighbour’s driveway or on their front lawn. In a Sectional title property, there may be additional rules relating to the common areas and specifics on keeping the exterior of the rental property neat.

Pay your rent on time – probably the most important aspect, is to ensure that you pay your rent timeously. Rather sign a debit order to ensure that it goes off on the desired date. Generally speaking, rents are payable monthly in advance on the first day of the month. Be sure to also budget for basic utilities such as electricity and water as well as any other monthly expenditure such as security.

Keep it clean – your lease agreement will stipulate that you need to maintain the property in a good condition which includes regularly cleaning the property and maintaining the exterior. If you find any maintenance issues such as water leaks or dripping taps which can cause damage, immediately alert the rental agent or landlord. Generally speaking, maintenance relating to the building and fixtures will be for the landlord’s account and must be referred without delay.

Not sure about something, then ask – as a tenant, you will need permission if you want to paint or upgrade anything in the premises. There might also be restrictions around pets. Any exceptions to your lease conditions will need to be agreed upon with the landlord and stated in writing as an addendum to the lease. It is vital to ask first and ensure that you take the correct steps because failure to do so can have serious consequences.

Maintain good relations – finally, ensure you stay on a good footing with your rental agent and landlord. While serious issues relating to the property should be raised with them, don’t make a nuisance of yourself at all hours of the day and night. Keep to business hours and keep your communications cordial, preferably via email. Don’t become a WhatsApp nuisance.

Being a good tenant is always in your best interest. Look after the property as if it is your own house and pay your rent on time. Always check the lease to ensure you comply and be a good neighbour.

31 Jul 2019
Author Gina Meintjes
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