Less hassle and more money. Seeff shares how choosing the right rental agent can optimise your property returns.
Difficult tenants. Lagging payments. As a landlord, you make allowances, but there comes a time when it’s either you or your tenants. Then they refuse to move out, and the situation gets messy. Renting out properties might provide you with steady cash flow every month, but if you don’t choose the right rental agent to assist you, your property investments could be at risk.
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The Responsibilities Of Rental Agents
The responsibilities of a rental agent will vary depending on their mandate, but generally, these include regularly inspecting the property (before and after the tenant moves in) and reporting back to the landlord on its condition, which aspects of the house might require maintenance, and whether the tenants are upholding their lease agreement.
- A rental agent also serves as the go-between for landlord and tenant. They assist in settling disputes, negotiating costs, sourcing suppliers to handle maintenance, etc. when required.
Why Choose A Rental Agent
The advantages of choosing a rental agent include regular inspections of your property, proper screening of prospective tenants, and access to legally compliant agreements and processes.
- The right rental agent will conduct inspections of your property - this is especially convenient if you live in another city and can’t visit the property yourself. Your rental agent will flag concerns with you and keep an eye on your tenants, so you can relax knowing that your property’s in good hands.
- A rental agent should also keep you abreast of legislative changes and ensure that all documentation and contracts are compliant.
- They should have access to a financial management system, procedures, and agreements that are legally compliant and that also streamline the property management process.
- Another reason to choose a rental agent is their understanding of the market. An experienced agent will know how to spot a problem - or opportunity - and take appropriate action.
- For example, as South Africa’s rental market is currently experiencing a spike and the price of rentals is playing a major role in this, the right rental agent should be able to advise you on a price that is likely to attract tenants.
- A rental agent can also save you money by ensuring upfront that potential tenants have the money to afford your property.
How To Choose The Right Rental Agent
Make sure you know what you are looking for and what your expectations are from a rental agent. By knowing what you want, you will less likely be taken advantage of or faced with the messy problem of firing an agent because they fail to perform their duties
1: Learn About The Rental Agent’s Track Record And Credentials
They might have great people skills, but the right rental agent has the experience and credentials to back up any advice or action.
- All rental agents must also be registered with the EAAB (Estate Agency Affairs Board), comply with the EAAB regulations, and have of a valid Fidelity Fund Certificate (FFC).
2: Consider The Rental Agent’s Character
To choose the right rental agent, consider their character. This is someone who will keep an eye on your property investments when you can't. A potential rental agent is someone who will represent you before prospective tenants and get them to rent your properties.
As a landlord, you never want to be in a situation where you arrive at your rental and find the house in complete disarray. Finding illegal sublets taking up bedrooms, paint peeling off the walls, broken appliances and then discover that your rental agent hasn't visited the house in months.
- As the landlord, ask yourself whether your potential rental agent has your best interests at heart. Will they negotiate to get you the best rental price? Will they ensure the tenants are a good fit? Are they on your side?
- Ask yourself if your rental agent is likely to be transparent. Can you trust them to be honest? If the tenants are misusing your property, illegally renting out bedrooms to their own tenants, ignoring the terms of their rental agreement. Will your rental agent inform you of this and advise you on legal action when appropriate?
- Will they conduct thorough inspections of your property and alert you to problems before they become catastrophic?
3: Define The Mandate With Your Rental Agent
A mandate is an agreement between a landlord and rental agent, which outlines the agent's responsibilities. The agreement needs to be determined and outlined in writing before you hire them. The rental agent's fees will also vary depending on which mandate you choose.
- A non-managed mandate: This includes marketing the property and sourcing and vetting a suitable tenant. The rental agent will offer advice on the rental amount to charge and the appropriate rent deposit.
- The right rental agent will also provide a lease agreement that protects the landlord's interest, collect the rent deposit, first month's rent, and assist with the incoming inspection upon the tenant's occupation of the property.
- A managed mandate: This, in addition to the above, entails the complete management of the tenant and property for the duration of the lease agreement. Landlords generally prefer this option as it assures them that their property is maintained.
A managed mandate includes:
- Regular property inspections.
- Attending maintenance issues.
- Ensuring the deposit is invested in an interest-bearing account.
- Collecting the monthly rent timeously.
- Managing any late payments.
- Taking the necessary legal action when needed.
- The full management option will usually also include attending to the timeous renewal of the lease and outgoing inspections.
Explore our range of landlord services catered to help you make the most of your property investment. We take the hassle out of the process from finding a quality tenant, collecting rent, marketing your property to managing it.