Your property is an investment only if your tenant pays the rent. And if the tenant stops paying for any reason, it can be a lengthy process to have them evicted. The obvious conclusion is: choose your tenant carefully.
The selection process
The first step is to ensure your prospective tenant is someone with stable employment with a regular salary. The tenant should be willing to show you proof of employment, even if they are self-employed.
If there is more than one adult tenant, the tenants should be willing to be “jointly and severally” liable for paying the rent. This means that if one person cannot or will not pay then you can recover the full rent from any of the other signatories. If the tenants aren’t prepared to agree to this then they may have something to hide.
The tenant should agree to a full credit and rental payment history check. If they don’t agree, then you don’t have to sign an agreement with them. The service offered by TPN credit bureau (www.tpn.co.za) is highly recommended for any potential landlord. TPN can provide the necessary background checks to give you comfort.
You don’t have to become friends with your tenant but it does help to listen to your instincts and only rent your property to people you feel you can trust. Even if you’re mistaken in your judgement sometimes, you’re still likely to make fewer wrong choices than if you ignore your inner voice.
A little homework on your potential tenant will go a long way to ensuring your rental income is as regular as clockwork.
David de Waal (CA(SA))
Steeple – Low cost estate agents