Even if they have a signed lease, tenants are frequently unaware of what their monthly rent includes, particularly if they are renting a unit or townhouse in a Sectional Title Scheme.
“And they should double-check before signing a lease with their property rental agent,” warns Pearl Scheltema, CEO of Fitzanne Estates, a renowned real estate, and property management firm in Pretoria. “Otherwise, they may find themselves having to pay for services that were not included in their budget.”
The owner of each unit in a Sectional Title Scheme is responsible for their own interior maintenance and repairs. Tenants in sectional title developments also usually have no responsibility for the upkeep of building exteriors, common gardens, or parking areas. “This is handled by the Scheme Executives on behalf of the Body Corporate – which is the group of all the unit owners in the scheme – which is covered by the levies that those owners must pay.”
“However, this does not imply that potential tenants should disregard levies. If their landlord’s levy is increased – or if the Scheme Executives suddenly decide on a special levy to cover an unanticipated expense in the administration of the scheme – the lease issued by the property rental agent should explain whether or by how much their rent would be increased,” says Scheltema.
Tenants should also think about how they will be billed for municipal services, such as whether they will receive an individual account from their property rental agent reflecting their own, actual usage, or whether they will be charged according to a “participation quota” (PQ) based on the size of their unit in relation to the entire Sectional Title Scheme.
Most sectional title units now have their own municipal electricity meter or a pre-paid meter, which means tenants only pay for what they use. However, many schemes do not have individual water meters for each unit, which means that the local government sends a bulk account to the body corporate, which is subsequently distributed among the residents based on the PQs of their units. This can be extremely unfair because it does not often reflect tenants’ actual water usage.
Alternatively, water usage based on PQs might be included in the monthly levies that unit owners must pay, and when water rates rise dramatically, landlords may seek to pass on at least some of the additional cost to their tenants. As a result, prospective tenants should always request to be billed for their real utility usage and ensure that the property rental agent negotiates the lease in this manner.
Furthermore, they must ensure that the Sectional Title Scheme they are considering is in good financial standing overall, according to Scheltema, unless they want to risk living in a complex that cannot be properly maintained due to a lack of funds. The property rental agent will be able to provide prospective tenants with this information.
Fitzanne Estates have many rental properties available across the whole of Gauteng. Should you want to rent a house or flat, Fitzanne Estates, and our team of property rental agents will find the perfect home for you.
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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