AA - 2020

Author:  Jawitz Properties
30 April 2020

Most of us will be a renter at some point during our lives. It may be a stepping stone for somebody leaving their parents’ home for the first time. Or, you may choose to be a renter rather than a home-owner for the long term simply because of the appeal of the flexibility and lower short-term costs that come with being a tenant. As a tenant, there are various tips and strategies to follow to safeguard yourself.

Rent through an agent – not privately

When you’re on the hunt for a home, it can be very tempting to get drawn in by a Facebook post that you see in which a friend of a friend is advertising a home for rental. The problem with this is that you have no idea what you are getting yourself into. No matter how great the property looks, you could be getting yourself into trouble if the rental contract that you are given to sign is not written in accordance with the letter of the law. When you rent your new home through Jawitz Properties ,  you have all the advantages that come with decades of experience in real estate. These advantages include a vast understanding of the law and all the ways in which both landlords and tenants are protected. Even if you are renting a property directly from a good friend, you need to ensure that a contract is signed and that this contract contains all the necessary clauses and provisions.

Know your rights and responsibilities

While your landlord is responsible for structural maintenance, which includes things like the roof, plumbing pipes, geyser and electrical wiring, you need to be aware that as a tenant, you have responsibilities as well. Keeping the gutters clean, for example, is your department, as is looking after the garden and swimming pool. In addition, as a tenant, you would be incredibly wise to take out a household insurance policy. If the geyser bursts, it will be your landlord’s responsibility to repair or replace the geyser – but it is not his responsibility to replace your furniture which was damaged when the geyser burst and your home flooded. Similarly, if your home is burgled, it is not your landlord’s responsibility to replace the items that are stolen – this is where your household insurance will be a lifesaver. By the way, you may be surprised at how inexpensive a basic household insurance polity can be.

Read your lease and understand it

For starters, a rental contract is a legally binding document, and you’d be foolish to sign any such document without thoroughly understanding its contents. In addition, as the old saying goes, knowledge is power, and having a thorough understanding of what is in your rental agreement enables you to know what is and is not allowed. For example, if your family has rented a house, the rental agreement is likely to specify how many people are allowed to live in your home. The lease will also tell you everything you need to know about the deposits payable and how much notice you need to give if you want to move out. Thanks to legislation like the Rental Housing Act and the Consumer Protection Act, there are certain clauses and elements which should be in every rental contract.

Make sure the home you have chosen meets your needs

The difference between buying a home and renting one is that when you’re a renter, you are limited in the changes that you are allowed to make to the property. Knocking down a non-structural wall is a no-brainer if you have purchased your property and find that you need one large room instead of two small adjacent ones. Tenants, on the other hand, are not able to do this, and a year can be a long time if you have signed a lease on a home that does not really meet your needs. Think carefully about what you need, and then find a flat or a house that can easily become a home for you and your family.

When it’s time to find the perfect property to rent, the team at Jawitz Properties is here to help. With both a wide range of properties on offer and extensive knowledge of all things rental-related, there can be no better partner to help you get home. Contact us for more information.

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