No, I’m not referring to alarms and bars on the windows. I’m talking about a properly drawn lease agreement with your landlord. The document that lays down all the terms and conditions that you both need to ensure your stay is happy and where you both know where you stand.
Sometimes bad advice is given to folk wanting to rent – the advice is that they should negotiate directly with the landlord and “cut out” the agent because it will be cheaper as the agent takes a commission and guess who pays for that! You do, in the form of a slightly higher rent.
The theory is that if you work with the landlord directly you will form a friendly relationship that is mutually beneficial. The problem with this theory is that if there is some type of dispute, the agreement that you have negotiated directly with the landlord is usually found to favour the landlord only.
So let’s get down to the nuts and bolts of protecting yourself when renting. Signing a lease that has been drawn up by a registered Estate Agent or attorney will lay out all the terms and conditions in a clear and easy to understand format. It will state the length of the lease and also how you will be able to extend your rental period. You will know exactly when and by how much your rent will increase. This will protect you from an unscrupulous landlord who might want to escalate the rent in an unreasonable way or to terminate the lease prematurely in order to get other, higher-paying tenants in your place.
Some points that you need to ensure are clear in your lease agreement:
- The fixed term of the lease should be stated (e.g. 12 months).
- The percentage increase in the rental must be stipulated, together with when the increase takes effect.
- The notice period should be clearly defined, both for cancellation and for extension. If the landlord wants to terminate the lease, you should be given sufficient notice in order to make alternative arrangements. Usually this would be at least two months – and similarly, it’s only fair that you would also have to give sufficient notice to the landlord should you decide to move on.
- Extending your lease on a month-to-month basis is not ideal, but if you need to, be aware that the landlord can usually increase rentals to the agreed escalation rate during this period.
- If you fail to meet your obligations during the lease period, the landlord can cancel the lease – but if you feel that he is being unjust, you can appeal to a rental housing tribunal.
Renting is a business transaction between you and the landlord – keep it on a business basis by signing the right lease, drawn up by a professional that protects you and is also fair to the landlord.
Contact us at IGrow Wealth Investments – my team and I will help you on the road to achieving the success you deserve.
Discover how to build your wealth with property investment Get free training videos & resources on the secrets of property investment in South Africa. Fill out the form below to gain instant access to our training resources.