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The state of the rental industry in South Africa

March marks the grim anniversary for the first COVID-19 lockdown we embarked on a year ago. It’s fair to say that nothing has been quite the same since – including the real estate landscape. Pearl Scheltema, CEO of Fitzanne Estates, weighs in on the coming months and what landlords can expect.

“As with any industry, performance is driven by supply and demand,” Pearl explains, continuing: “According to Michelle Dickens, MD of TPN, this lies at the centre of the current rental market upset, with a clear case of oversupply versus muted demand.” Understanding the economic and social landscape of the last year goes a long way in making sense of these low rates of demand.

Approximately 75% of tenants in the TPN database saw some sort of negative shift in income during 2020 – either indicating a complete loss of income, or some level of salary or wage reduction. This has resulted in a massive pool of tenants who could no longer afford to live in their current homes. “We have seen a definite increase in defaulting tenants during the lockdown period, with our team working with our clients to find practical ways to facilitate partial or delayed payment of rent,” says Pearl.

Ultimately, many tenants have had to leave their rental homes and either moved in with roommates, or back to their families. Compounding the issue of supply was the lockdown on tourism and international travel. The majority of short-term rental properties were placed on the long term rental lists, in a bid to secure some form of income from longer term tenants.

“According to TPN research, provinces that have seen a marked boom in development over the past few years have been particularly hard hit by vacancy, as there are now so many properties to choose from,” Pearl explains.

While there will ultimately always be a need for rental properties – and the demand will inevitably pick up again – landlords need to pay close attention to the aspects that set their property apart in a crowded rental market. Having access to a professional team of property managers makes this even more possible.

Tenants consistently cite good value and security as key characteristics to look for when choosing a property. “Landlords should pay special attention to the management and maintenance of their properties, as this will attract not only any tenant but good tenants,” Pearl advises.

The real estate industry is ever shifting, with daily changes coming into play and affecting our growth outlook. Stay informed and up to date on the latest happenings and insights with Fitzanne’s Property Exchange podcast, hosted by Fitzanne Estates’ CEO Pearl Scheltema. This month, we dig into the rental market in more detail and discuss what you can expect from the year ahead. Tune in on to join the conversation.


Media contact: Cathlen Fourie, +27 82 222 9198,

More about Fitzanne Estates

Fitzanne Estates (Pty) Ltd is a Property Management Company who 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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