As any landlord knows, property management is seldom as it seems at a glance. Many homeowners who plan to let out their property assume that managing tenants and the property itself will be simple and straightforward, without understanding the huge amount of admin and effort that goes into the management of a property – especially in the case of an apartment block. For new landlords hoping to learn how to effectively manage their property in South Africa, here are a few things to consider when letting out your property to prospective tenants:
- Finding the right tenant
This is the first and often the trickiest step when managing a property. A company that has experience in dealing with tenants is able to determine what sort of tenant to avoid and which tenants will be the least problematic, while an inexperienced landlord may not know how to approach this without added stress. Things like background checks, references, suitability and other factors all play a huge role in property management, to ensure that you find only the best tenants, who do not have a history of rent payment delays, property damage or other factors.
- Day to day tenant management
Another huge aspect of the landlord job is dealing with tenants on a regular basis. Landlords may be expected to speak to tenants about rent owing, rent increases, problems in the block, noise complaints, any items that need repair and many other issues that may arise on a daily basis. Having to always be on call can be demanding and extremely stressful to many landlords, especially those who have full-time jobs in addition to managing their property. This is where property companies come in – they are able to deal with the petty issues that arise, leaving landlords free to focus on the bigger issues without having to worry about being bothered throughout the week with small complaints.
- Property Maintenance and upkeep
Yet another aspect of managing a property in South Africa is the property maintenance and repairs that always arise. Landlords often under-estimate the level of work and patience that this requires, from dealing with the tenant and addressing their queries, all the way through to finding a repairman to fix the problem at stake, and getting the best quote too. Then the landlord needs to liaise with the tenant to ensure that they will be at the premises when the repairman is due – resulting in a huge amount of time and admin.
- Renovations and property improvements
Aside from repairs and ongoing maintenance of your property, you may also want to consider property renovation as a way to increase the value of your property. For most landlords operating independently, this means obtaining permission from your tenant, and working around their schedule as well as your own schedule to determine what renovations are required, and how to go about getting them done. Without experience in this, it can lead to many sleepless nights – making a property manager a hugely important investment.
- Rent payments and other issues
How do you go about ensuring that rent is paid on time each month? This is another huge factor when it comes to managing a property, and with many tenants lapsing on payments, it can become a huge chore to keep track of who has paid their rent. This is one of the biggest values of a property management company – they are able to keep track of rent and all other aspects, ensuring that landlords can focus on the profits rather than the day to day stress.