Whether you’re new to the rental business or a seasoned pro, finding a new property to rent can be an exciting and promising moment for any tenant. However, diving headfirst into a new lease without first conducting a thorough tour could leave you with a lot of unnecessary stress.
Before signing on the dotted line, tenants should always insist on seeing the property. You will not only be able to recognize potential problems, but you will also be less likely to fall victim to rental scams.
The following is a list of items to keep in mind when looking at a potential property to rent.
The property itself:
Doors and windows
Check that all the doors and windows, especially the sliding doors, open and close easily. Also, make sure the doorknobs and locks are in good working order. If any locks are damaged or missing, notify the property rental agent immediately so that you can feel comfortable if you decide to move in. It’s also worth noting any draughts or leaks, as these could have an impact on your electricity bill when it comes to heating and cooling the property.
Walls and floors
While a minor fracture in the wall isn’t cause for alarm, any cracks large enough to slide a 50c coin through could indicate a problem with structural stability. In fact, noticing any structural issues should serve as a warning that you should look elsewhere.
Look for any water damage or watermarks along the floorboards, on the ceilings, or on the walls. If there isn’t already mould, mildew, or rot, water damage implies that something is leaking someplace. This could be dangerous to your health, especially if you have allergies or are prone to respiratory infections.
Even though most properties in South Africa come unfurnished, it’s worth double-checking that all the included appliances are in good working order.
Check that the stove plates and/or gas hobs are in good working order and that the oven warms up and is free of oil or cooking residue. Also, if a fridge is included in the lease, make sure it’s cold, and if there’s a washing machine and tumble dryer, inspect inside to make sure they’ve been well maintained as well.
Do remember that everything you receive in working order, should be kept in working order. If maintenance is required by the owner or property rental agent on any fixture or appliance, the tenant must provide the service provider with access to the property.
Consider your furniture
Signing a lease agreement on a property before confirming if their furniture would fit on moving day is a common error people make. One definite method to avoid this is to measure all big-ticket items like mattresses and couches before going to see the property so you know whether they’ll fit and how they’ll be configured if you decide to move in. It could be good to bring a tape measure with you to get a more precise measurement of the floor space.
Make sure that you receive information on the relevant service providers who form part of your lease agreement. This includes how the electricity, water, sanitation, and refuse services are supplied and managed, as well as whether any garden services are included. The tenant would be responsible for giving access to any relevant service providers at the agreed time.
The Sectional Title Scheme or neighbourhood:
Cell phone signal
In this day and age, it may seem unbelievable, but some locations still have poor cell phone reception. Take a moment during your walkthrough to verify your phone’s signal and connectivity. If your lease includes Wi-Fi, request that the property rental agent show you how to use it and that it is currently connected with a strong signal.
Living in a place where crime is a constant issue necessitates familiarising yourself with the location you may end up calling home. Examine the property’s security features, such as whether the property is guarded or has an alarm system. It’s also worth looking up the location of the local police station and asking them, the property rental agent, or even current tenants, about the crime rate in the area. If they are unable to help, a simple Google search may be able to provide you with information about crime statistics and reports.
If you own a car, parking arrangements should be at the top of your priority list. Street parking can be difficult to come by in many areas, especially in the city, and it can also be dangerous for you and your vehicle. As a result, finding a property with a garage and/or an interior parking space is a must. Remember to inquire about whether the property has assigned parking and whether there is a fee for this.
Take a moment before you go to listen to the noise levels in the neighbourhood. Take note of the volume of traffic, whether there are any barking dogs, and how easy it is to hear your neighbours. If you really appreciate the property, come back at least once more, and spend some time in the surrounding area during the day and night. You might notice that it’s a lot noisier at night, for example, so you’ll have a better notion of what to expect.
For the various benefits they bring, residential complexes and estates are becoming increasingly popular. Remember, however, that they come with limitations on your ability to use and enjoy your property, and that you are bound by the Community Scheme’s Conduct Rules.
One of those constraints is likely to be your ability to retain a pet, which may be a source of considerable contention and dissatisfaction. It’s critical to find out from the property rental agent whether tenants are permitted to have pets and to receive any necessary prior authorisation before moving there.
Scheme Management and maintenance
When moving to a Sectional Title Scheme, it is important to remember that you are renting only your unit from the owner. The rest of the areas in the complex are common property and the Trustees are responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of these areas. While it is important to take note of the general cleanliness, neatness and condition of the gardens, buildings, and recreational areas, you as a tenant cannot engage with the Trustees, Body Corporate or Managing Agent about the common properties. Your queries would go to the owner if renting direct or to the property rental agent.
While these are only a few things to consider while looking for a property, there are many more, such as looking for evidence of pests, noting how easy the property was to find, inspecting the maintenance of common areas, and so on. When looking at potential properties, keep these points in mind to help you locate the appropriate one and avoid being taken off guard later. We therefore strongly recommend working with a property rental agent to simplify the process.
You’re in it for the long haul after you sign the lease, so make sure the property you chose doesn’t have any big flaws that will cause renter’s remorse.
More about Fitzanne Estates
Fitzanne Estates (Pty) Ltd is a Property Management Company that can sufficiently administer your property investment to the benefit of the Landlord, the Body Corporate, and the NPC – Non-Profit Company. Services include Letting, Sectional Title Management, Full Title Management (NPC – Non-Profit Company) and Sales.
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This article first appeared here.
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