Understanding landlord maintenance obligations in South Africa

    Overseeing a rental property is a task that should always be approached with seriousness. While it is a rewarding investment opportunity, the costs of maintenance quickly add up, leaving landlords saddled with responsibilities. We look at seamless ways to cover your obligations as a landlord.

    When it comes to property maintenance, this is often a grey area. Figuring out the finer details of who takes care of which household fixtures can be tricky. It’s important to have a detailed contract that simply outlines the rules and regulations each party has to abide by. Read on for Seeff’s guide to a landlord’s maintenance responsibilities

    Landlords should protect their investments

    Every landlord should care about maintaining their rental property. It is a reliable source of income that has the ability to grow in value over the years. In terms of profitability, owning a quality rental property is a sound financial decision.

    When deciding on a rental property, tenants are more likely to choose homes that fit their lifestyle and budget. As a landlord, you should ensure the following is done to broaden your property’s appeal: 

    • Prospective tenants look for well-maintained properties that are ready for them to move into. An outstanding first impression will work wonders in making your rental property the best option.  

    • Aim to charge a higher rental fee by including extras such as appliances, furniture, Wi-Fi, and additional parking spaces. Tenants are often willing to pay more for convenience.  

    • Reduce potential damages by conducting regular checks on site and repairing or replacing elements that need to be fixed. Catching a problem before your tenant does is always a win. 

    What are the basics a tenant can expect a landlord to be solely responsible for?

    An experienced tenant will always conduct a thorough inspection before moving in. Any issues should be solved beforehand and terms and conditions agreed upon. Ensure that the property is fully functional and your tenant has full access to the geyser, electrical system, plumbing/sanitation, refuse removal and alarm systems. 

    Upon moving in, the tenant should be received with a spotless property. Landlords should do a deep clean of every room. This includes the removal of mouldy furniture, rusted hinges or screws, loose wires or old carpets. Freshly painted walls and clean windows go a long way in refreshing the property and welcoming new tenants.

    Once a tenant has moved into your property, the lease agreement should clearly outline what the tenant is responsible for going forward. Any damage caused by negligence by the tenant does not fall under the landlord’s responsibility. Damages caused by natural causes or common wear and tear of the home are expected to be taken care of by the landlord. Clarifying responsibilities in the lease agreement is essential. For example, torn curtains or a cracked countertop are not fair wear and tear, whereas faded paint or leaky taps both are — and thus fall under the landlord’s responsibility to repair/replace. 

    What does a landlord need to do to prepare for a vacant rental property?

    Before you prepare to have your rental property listed again go through a checklist of organising the home to feel brand new. Hire professional cleaners, gardeners and handymen to sort out any snags and get the property in tip-top shape before you hand it over. 

    Man and woman in kitchen discussing maintenance tasks

    While being a landlord is a task that should only be undertaken after serious consideration, it is one that can be made simpler by having the right team on your side. At Seeff, our property practitioners help manage the letting process so you can reap the stress-free benefits. Contact us today to find out more. 

    Author: Seeff Property Group
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