Specialist agents’ abilities are put to the test as the peak holiday rental season draws closer. Landlords are demanding the highest possible turnover during short periods, while tenantsare shopping around for the best deals, as well as increasingly shorter rental periods.
While changing economic conditions remain a risky factor in this business, agents say they invest heavily into gaining repeat business from an established clientele.
Although most rental agents operate within the constraints - and as a result the protection of the law, they are expected to be experts in any number of property fields. It is no coincidence then, that through their widespread expertise, they are able to manage the ever changing rental books of landlords. Their knowledge extends across market related values of different types and sizes of properties, within various geographical settings of vast areas.
While the holiday rental business may be perceived as lucrative, high turnover of tenants requires stringent management measures. Expert credit vetting, good financial control and superior levels of property and tenant management remain essential. However, most successful rental agencies are those who achieve quick turnaround times, as the result of increased internet access and selections processes. This is irrespective of the levels, or size of rental operations, or number and values of rentals obtained within one agency.
Depending on the facilities offered at individual properties, insurance coverage on behalf of top end owners for varying levels of liability and safety also needs to be built into rental premiums. Exclusive lifestyle requirements are illustrated in exceptional rates for luxury properties along the Atlantic Seaboard. Daily rentals for high end villas in this area, which are suited to celebrities and diplomats, can reach up to R45 000, with middle of the range daily rentals from R5 000 to R20 000. Some agencies here categorise daily rentals according to value, such as Bronze for up to R2500, Platinum up to R12 000, Diamond up to R45 0000 and Emerald at R45 000 plus.
However, an increase in demand for holiday rentals in secure private residential estates and golf resorts is seen across coastal and holiday areas, say owners and agents. Reason being that visitors from overseas, as well as upcountry areas are increasingly specifying secure properties and surroundings to match that which they enjoy at their permanent residences.
As a result, exclusive golf and winelands estate homes in the Boland are high in demand by foreigners during European winters who pay anything from £ 1700 -£ 2500 per day for all the trimmings, from swimming pools, to golf carts and equipment, to full use of club facilties. A number of KZN North as well as South Coast estates, such as Zimbali and Sanlameer are also popular in demand due to on site facilities and estate security, close to spectacular beaches.
Cathy Christensen of Sanlameer Villa Rental Reservations says that although monthly holiday rentals occur during peak periods, four to seven nights stays are most popular in demand. She says most popular in demand are two and three bedroom villas, some which have private pools, for peak period daily rentals ranging from R2950 up to R4150.
Some buy to let investors, including foreigners in quaint coastal towns and pensioners, favour smaller properties which facilitate easy high season income, yet owner occupation during off peak seasons.
Fortunately, the average middle income earning family in South Africa can obtain good value for money by renting any number of lock-up-and-go seaside apartments, complete with sea views, and easy access to beaches, entertainment and public amenities.