Look At the Fine Print When Signing Contracts for Flats to Rent

Private Property South Africa
Private Property Reporter

As the end of the year nears, there will once again be a frantic search for flats for rent. Not only does a new year bring all sorts of changes that might include getting a job on the other side of the city (or country), but a large amount of final year students entering the job market next year, will be looking to move into private accommodation for the first time. After looking at dozens of flats to rent, and finally finding something you like, you might be so excited about your potential new home that you wouldn’t really look at one of the most important aspects of renting any property – the contract. It could be very tempting to just agree on a price and then sign on the dotted line, thinking that everything in the contract will be fine. But you could be signing away more than you think. For example, these days some contracts include a clause that leaves the tenant responsible for all repairs and damages to a property. This means the entire financial burden of the maintenance of the property could fall on you. It could become a real headache if the big things start going wrong, like a geyser bursting. Some contracts will include an appendix with a list of everything in the flat or apartment. It will also list everything that was broken on the date that you moved in and both the tenant and the land lord should sign on this list. If your contract does not include such a list, it is a good idea to ask your future land lord to draw up such a list. Thereby, once you move out again, the land lord will not be able to point fingers at your for anything that was broken before you moved in. In such an incident the land lord could keep a portion of your deposit to fix something that you were not responsible for. So when looking for flats to rent, remember that taking a good look at the contract is as important as checking that the flat is in a good condition.

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