Whereas most tenants take good care of the properties they rent, there are times, sadly, when the owners and letting agents are faced with the problem of tenants who just don’t care.
One of the problem areas is maintenance of the garden. Most rental contracts stipulate that the tenant will keep the garden neat and clean. Yet some tenants ignore this condition and allow the garden to become overgrown, the grass to grow unchecked and uncut, weeds straggle through paving and creepers climb wherever they will, often along house walls, into gutters and through roof tiles. Apart from the fact that non-maintenance of the garden is in breach of the rental agreement, an unkempt and uncared-for garden detracts from the appearance of the house itself. And the question is, Mr Tenant: If this was your own property, would you allow the garden to look like this? The chances are that the answer is: No.
A property owner was recently transferred and put his house on the market. He put tenants in the house until it was sold and charged a lower than average rental with the understanding that the tenants would accommodate estate agents wanting to show the house to prospective buyers. Unfortunately the tenants neglected the garden and also let junk mail pile up in the letter box until it overflowed and littered the garden. As a result the house projected such a negative street impression that buyers were put off the property even before going inside.
Which brings us to another and often sensitive issue.
When a tenant is advised that the owner has put the house on the market and estate agents will bring prospective buyers to view the property, there is sometimes resistance from the tenant which is understandable, specially if he has signed a lease for six months or a year and has only been in the house for a month.
Usually the tenants are cooperative and allow the agents to show the property. There are however those who flatly refuse, or make appointments but are never there when the agent brings buyers to view the house, and also those who just don’t open the door.
Just think a moment, Mr Tenant: If the position was reversed, and it was your home on the market and your tenants refused estate agents access - how would you feel?
So make an arrangement with the estate agent about viewing times and keep the appointments. After all, a lease agreement takes precedence so no-one can force you to vacate the property before termination of the lease period, even if the property is sold.
When animals are allowed in rented property, ensure that your animals behave as you would want them to if it was your own home. And make sure the animals are house trained.
When your three-year-old spills a mug of cocoa on the carpet, or your guest upsets a glass of red wine, clean it up with the same care as if it was a carpet in your own home. Don’t allow the kids to use the bedroom cupboard door as a dart board. Don’t allow them to draw pictures on the walls. When the kids break something - or you break something - fix it. Don’t put a hot iron face down on a carpet - it will leave a burn mark. Keep the oven and the braai clean and fresh.
In other words, treat the property you rent with the same respect and consideration you would treat your own home. One day you may be the landlord and you’d want your tenants to treat your property well - wouldn’t you?
Courtesy of Marion Abel: ERA Property Group. Estate agents in George and the Garden Route.