6 myths about renting you shouldn't believe

Private Property South Africa
Veronica Logan

If you’ve ever rented a property before, you’ll know that renting can have its down sides (think of how you had to endure those orange linoleum kitchen tiles!). That being said, there are quite a few misconceptions about renting that shouldn’t put you off if you’re considering going that route.

Here are the most common myths we found along with why they aren’t necessarily true:

1. You can be evicted for no reason
Having a good lease in place will protect you from being evicted without due cause or with very little notice. It is imperative that you read through your lease agreement thoroughly so that you are aware of all the clauses in it. If you do find yourself being threatened with eviction, the onus will be on your landlord to produce sufficient evidence that you are in breach of the agreement and that your eviction is justified.

Read more: When should a landlord start the eviction process?

2. People rent because they can’t afford to buy a home
Although there is a large part of the renting community that cannot afford to purchase their own homes, there are also those who have opted to go this way by choice. Some prefer the freedom that comes with being able to move without having to sell their home first, while others like to get to know an area or block first before settling down and calling it home.

Read more: Renting property vs buying property

3. Rental prices are non-negotiable
While it’s not often that a tenant has much bargaining power when it comes to the amount of rent to pay, each landlord is different and there are a few tactics you can try to negotiate the rent down. You could consider offering to sign a longer lease as most landlords would prefer to keep a good tenant and avoid having to continuously find somebody new. You could also do some research on similar units in the area so that you are able to negotiate with the landlord should you feel the asking rental amount is too high.

4. Renting is a waste of money
Every renter has been told at some stage that buying a home is a better use of financial resources and that renting is akin to throwing your money away. While this might be true to some degree, renting does give you the opportunity and time to save up a deposit for your own home. For some, it also takes away the hassle and financial responsibility that comes with owning a property, such as paying for maintenance or rates. With renting generally being cheaper than buying, some may choose to invest the difference.

5. Your landlord can come into your home whenever they want
Although there might be instances when your landlord may need to enter your home – for example, to carry out an insurance audit, routine maintenance or even a security check – they are legally not permitted to do so without providing you with sufficient warning or getting your permission. The only time your landlord is allowed to come into your home, or allow someone into your home without your consent, is in case of an emergency such a flooding or a fire.

6. You can't get out of your lease
Another common misconception about renting is that it’s difficult to get out of a lease once you’ve signed on the dotted line. While it isn’t ideal to break your lease, life is sometimes unpredictable, and you might find yourself in a situation where you are needing to move. Under the CPA a tenant has the right to cancel a lease by providing 20 business days’ notice. The landlord, in turn, is entitled to a reasonable cancellation fee to cover the cost of advertising the property and his expenses if he is unable to secure a new tenant in the short term.

Read more: What happens when a lease is cancelled early

The above goes to show that certain opinions on renting may not always be true. That being said, it’s advisable to have all the facts on hand when considering your living options so that you are able to make an informed and appropriate decision that suits both you and your lifestyle.

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