Landlord’s Guide to Renting

1. A Landlord must ensure that he tries to find out as much about his prospective tenant as possible and should request employment history, rental history and request to see some form of identification. References or contact details from the previous landlord and professional contacts should be requested.

2. The property should be prepared as best as possible with any damages repaired, and health and safety issues addressed. It should be thoroughly cleaned, especially areas such as showers, toilets, cabinets, stove and fridge. Give the walls a face lift with a paint job and clean the floors. The grounds should be landscaped.

3. The landlord should ensure that the lease comprises a start date and tenancy period. It should include payment methods, deadlines and any penalties. Reference should be made to the landlord’s and tenant’s obligations, termination and renewal clauses and the consequences of breaking the lease.

4. The landlord should be open to discussion on the lease to ensure that there is no miscommunication on the points mentioned, agree on any adjustments requested and confirm that both parties are in full agreement. Reiterate what is acceptable or not based on the profile of the tenant, whether no smoking indoors, no pets, no re-painting of rooms without permission, etc.

5. The first month’s rent and the entire security deposit should be collected prior to the tenant moving in. If the tenant does not pay on time the first month, there is a high likelihood of the rent being late in future months.

6. Provide transfer letters or complete the relevant transfer forms for utilities so that the tenant may transfer them into their name prior to move in.

7. Check with your insurance provider to ensure that you are getting the right type of coverage. Improve the safety of the property by ensuring that external lighting is available. Provide smoke detectors, cut back any bush, fix any stair railings that are shaky, address any slippery external areas.

8. Change the locks on the external doors for the safety of the tenants and to protect yourself from liability. Nothing would be more traumatic than a previous tenant entering while a new tenant is in-house.

9. On actual move-in day both parties should walk through the property together and sign off on a move-in checklist which outlines the condition of the property on a whole, any rooms in particular or major appliances. It will allow comparison of the property on move-in to that on departure.

10. Exchange contact details between tenant and landlord or property manager. Advise them to earnestly report any major maintenance issues and to be responsive in the instance of emergency.

11. At the end of tenancy ensure that the tenant has transferred the relevant utilities back into the landlord’s name and secure proof that all balances have been cleared.

12. At the end of tenancy conduct a walk through with the tenant. Ensure that the property has been returned in good condition except for fair wear & tear. Collect all keys.