10 Things Every Tenant Needs To Know
20 November 2020
In our experience, people are most at ease when they are fully informed, when they know what to expect and what they can do to avoid or resolve a difficult situation. Whether you rent because you want to or because you have to, being a tenant can sometimes be challenging.
HERE IS OUR LIST OF THE TOP 5 THINGS EVERY TENANT NEEDS TO KNOW:
- There are things you can do to raise your status as a prospective tenant
Having a good credit score, references that reflect well on you and the required deposit are critically important to landlords and the real estate agents who represent them. You have control over all these factors! Find out more in our “How to be a 5-star tenant” guide.
- Your lease agreement must be read carefully
Do not feel pressured to sign immediately if you need some time to sit with it and go through all the fine print. Your lease agreement ensures that your rental arrangement complies with the law, it governs your costs, the terms of your rental, how your deposit will be handled, inspection and maintenance obligations, compliance with house rules, renewal terms and more. Before signing, read through EVERYTHING.
- You should record the state of the property and its contents
When you first move into your new place, be sure to document the contents and condition of the property. Having photographic or video evidence is best as you can benchmark the state of things when it’s time for your interim or exit inspection. If the property is furnished, remember to take photographs of all that’s included e.g. mattresses, crockery and glassware. Take photos of all aspects of the property, including what is in perfect condition too!
- You have rights
The Rental Housing Act and associated legislation creates mechanisms to promote the provision of rental housing property, creates mechanisms to ensure the proper functioning of the rental housing market, makes provision for the establishment of Rental Housing Tribunals, defines the functions, powers and duties of such Tribunals, lays down general principles governing conflict resolution in the rental housing sector, and provides for the facilitation of sound relations between tenants and landlords. The rights of both tenants and landlords are protected by the Rental Housing Act.
- You have responsibilities too
Taking good care of your rental property allows for a good relationship between you and your landlord. Treating your unit with respect and leaving it in a good condition means that when you decide to move, you will get your deposit back. Your lease agreement should outline what your responsibilities are, as well as those of your landlord. In your lease, it will state what you can and cannot do. Before you make any changes to the interior or exterior of the property, make sure that you have written consent from the landlord. This can be in the form of writing, Whatsapp messages and SMS’ too.
AND HERE ARE 5 WAYS TO MAKE YOUR LANDLORD LIKE YOU:
- Understand how your rental deposit works
If you understand what your rental deposit’s purpose is, you’re less likely to knock heads with your landlord at the end. Familiarise yourself with the penalties that are attached to your rental deposit amount e.g. broken windows and locks pool/ garden maintenance. If you look after these things during your tenancy, you’re more likely to get your deposit back without any trouble when your lease ends.
- Pay your rent on time, every time
Housing is a basic need that you should make provision for before you spend money on luxuries like fast food or fancy clothes. Your landlord has financial obligations that may be tied to your rent, so consider him/ her too. Also, your payment record may be tracked and if you default on your rent, your credit score could be negatively affected.
- Get to know your neighbours
Meeting and knowing your neighbours will give you a better sense of the neighbourhood. Being on good terms also adds a buffer between you and the landlord. For example, if you are being too noisy or if your dog won’t stop barking, they would come to you to speak about it instead of going to the landlord directly. Knowing your neighbours also allows for you to look out for each other; if you were to go on holiday, they could keep an eye on your place.
- Don’t be high maintenance
Although landlords are responsible for fixing and paying for repairs, don’t nag them for every little thing that goes wrong. When it comes to simple things like changing light bulbs, that’s something that you can do. Your goodwill can go a long way.
- Be security conscious
We live in a country where we need to be vigilant about the safety of ourselves and our property. Your landlord will appreciate you more if you are careful about keeping your doors and windows locked, the alarm on and your awareness heightened. These measures will protect you and your landlord’s property from harm.
For more information on Just Property please visit www.just.property or call (087) 550 2258.
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