How to be a great tenant

How to be a great tenant

Private Property South Africa

Landlords and real estate agents don’t want to lose great tenants. But what is a good tenant? We asked property professionals from Just Property for their checklist:


“The first thing to do when you’re looking for a property is to prepare a list of your requirements,” says Joe Alves, award-winning Just Property agent for Blouberg. Having a clear idea will save everyone’s time and impress the agent managing the property. So make a list of must-haves: how many bedrooms and bathrooms you need; how many parking spaces or garages; does the property need to be pet friendly; what level of security is a deal-breaker; do you need to be near shops, schools, public transport and any other amenities?


Laureen Leps from Just Property Atlantic Seaboard recommends that tenants shouldn’t be too shy to ask all the important questions before they sign a lease – this actually makes for better relations between tenant and landlord as everyone knows exactly where they stand. “Ask for an explanation around any points you don’t understand, and establish upfront whether there are any additional costs over and above the monthly rental etc.”

Accept that a number of documents may be required for the initial credit check. It’s just a fact of rental life, and you don’t want to start this relationship on a bad note, so get them together and submit them willingly.


Once the lease is signed, make sure that the rental and all other costs are paid timeously – this is the most important aspect of being a tenant that agents will be happy to recommend to landlords. “Remember, the landlord is a person with responsibilities, just like you. He/she relies on that money to pay his bond or any other payments needed for the property,” says Melissa Bee, the Just Property agent for City Bowl.

Once a record of timeous payments and trust is established, it can even have an impact on the rent you pay – landlords don’t want to lose a good tenant and when the annual increase is due, may be prepared to negotiate a lower increase rather than lose dependable tenant.


Great tenants keep the property in good condition, and always ask permission before making changes such as painting or knocking nails into walls. “Every good tenant will also restore what has been changed to its original condition when vacating the property,” notes Just Property Blouberg agent, Marilize Prinsloo.

Engela Cilliers, a Just Property agent in Lephalale, adds that they also communicate regarding problems such as water leaks, trees/plants that are damaging the building or fence etc. “They let us know before a small issue becomes a huge problem, arranging access as required for the landlord/agent,” says Engela. “I define a great tenant as one who looks after the property as if it is their own.”

Marilize agrees: “My good tenants keep the property clean inside and out, and happily see to general day to day maintenance and small repairs themselves. When big repairs are required, they are also understanding and allow the landlord reasonable time to carry out the repairs.”


Weighing in with her perspective from Just Property Middelburg, Mariëtte Oosthuizen says that good tenants are assets in their community. “They do not cause a disturbance and are considerate of their neighbours. As such they are in a position to try to resolve disputes with neighbours rather than contacting the agent (such as when a neighbour is noisy),” says Mariëtte. Joe emphasises that they are scrupulous about conforming to any body-corporate rules.


Sometimes events occur that are beyond your control. Retrenchment or loss of earnings is devastating, but don’t try to hide it from your agent. “We understand and so do landlords that life can sometimes throw you a curveball,” says Liesl Alves of Just Property Blouberg. “If you’re a star tenant, we can often work together to try and find a solution. If your circumstances change and you cannot fulfil the terms of the lease, don’t wait. You need to inform your landlord/agent as soon as possible.”


Paul Stevens, CEO of Just Property, adds that good credit record is obviously the most important characteristic agents and landlords look for in a tenant.

Following the above steps will stand any tenant in good stead for renting their next property and having a successful relationship with their landlord.

Looking for a new tenant?

Advertise your property to rent FOR FREE quickly and easily on our website.

Find out more


Found this content useful?

Get the best of Private Property's latest news and advice delivered straight to your inbox each week

Related Articles

What tenants need to know about body corporates
Find out the correct procedure for dealing with complaints when you are renting a sectional title property.
Are landlord’s rights being hijacked along with the property they own?
Leasing out property has become a bit of a nightmare for the average man on the street.
Who is responsible for security in a rental property?
Crime is an unfortunate reality of living in South Africa and is one of the main priorities for tenants when looking for rental accommodation. But, is the landlord or tenant responsible?