Looking For a House to Rent? Get the Paperwork Right.

Private Property South Africa
Private Property Reporter

Finding a new house to rent is very exciting. But don’t let the excitement about that nice new house allow you to slip up on the important things. When you have found the perfect house to rent, make sure that it is through a reliable agent. You could also rent directly from the owner. Renting directly from the owner could be a good thing, as it cuts out the commission that goes to the agent. You will also be able to contact the owner directly in the case of an emergency, without having to work through a middle man. (You never know when the geyser is going to burst!) But the most important thing to do after finding a house to rent, is to make sure that a proper lease agreement is in place. Ask who will be responsible for general maintenance. Not only the fixing of things, but also who will be paying for it. You won’t be phoning your landlord if a light bulb needs to be changed, but a leaking roof is another thing! Insist on compiling a checklist of everything in the house, including broken things. This list should be signed by both the tenant and the landlord, and will safeguard both parties. When you move out, the landlord won’t be able to blame you for previous damages. Often you will only pick up on things like leaking taps and faulty plugs after having moved in. Your lease agreement should allow you to report these damages within the first few days of moving in. Also ensure that the lease agreement allows for a reasonable notice period. Be sure that you have read the lease agreement thoroughly before signing as it could include restrictions that you are not aware of. This could include anything from a restriction on pets and guests, to decorative restrictions. Finally, remember to keep all written correspondence between you and your landlord. If your landlord promises any improvements to your property, get it in writing!

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