Start preparing for your next rental now

Start preparing for your next rental now

Private Property South Africa
Lea Jacobs

In order to avoid being left high and dry when your lease expires, you need to have a plan in place to secure your next place.

Your lease is ending soon the landlord has indicated that he won't be renewing it. You've been desperately trying to find a new home, but no matter how hard you search, either nothing is suitable for your needs, or the rent is far more than you're currently paying.

It's a common problem, but the last thing a tenant should do is ‘panic-rent’ and sign a lease for a property that he's either going to battle to pay for or end up locked into a property that is totally unsuitable.

Unfortunately, most rental properties are only advertised a month before the property becomes available. This can be problematic and given the time constraints, means the tenant has to find something suitable within a relatively short period of time. What makes things more complicated is that every other tenant looking for a new home is in the same boat. You've no sooner found what you consider to be an acceptable home when the landlord or agent informs you that the property has been leased to someone else. It’s often a very frustrating exercise, but there are ways to ensure that you stand a better chance of securing the property you want.

Tenants need to start planning and putting money aside for the upcoming expenses as far ahead as possible. The deposit on a new rental property will generally have to be paid when the new lease is signed and before the previous deposit has been refunded. It can become even more difficult if the landlord insists that the deposit as well as the first month’s rent is paid before the tenant moves in. While some landlords may allow for the payment of the deposit to be delayed until the previous deposit has been paid out, they are certainly not obligated to do so and may prefer renting to someone who has the necessary cash available.

A month may seem like a short time, but there are ways to help you find a suitable home in this period. Register with property portals such as Private Property in order to receive alerts when new rentals come onto the market. Contact estate agents in the area ahead of time, informing them of what sort of property you are looking for and keep a close eye on agencies’ websites. Chat to friends, families and work colleagues letting them know you're on the hunt for a new home.

Don't ever rush a renting decision. Take a long hard look at the property and read over the lease carefully before you sign. Make sure you can comfortably afford the rental - don't delude yourself into thinking that you’ll only be paying for a year and you can cut back on other expenses in the meantime. A year is a long time to be miserable and that's what generally happens when you have money woes. Cramming a family in a home that's too small is also going to cause problems, as is living in a home that has ongoing maintenance issues.

Don’t dally when you find the ideal place. The demand for rental property is generally high and those who take time to make a decision could lose out. If you like what you see and the rental is in your price range, sign the lease before someone else pips you to the post. Again, having the money to back up your intent will go a long way in ensuring that you not only find the perfect rental home, but that you actually get to move in.

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