Choosing the correct rental agency is just as important as choosing the correct location, property type and rental rate for your investment property.   However the importance of an excellent rental agency seems to be often forgotten and many landlords find themselves frustrated and regretting their discussions entirely.  This need not to be the case, you simply have to do your homework in ensuring you choose the best rental agency that you can find and afford.

Mafadi is one of the top rental agencies in the country, and it for this reason that we can easily and happily explain what is expected from a good rental agency, to make live easier for every landlord in South Africa.

1.  Main Duties of a rental agency

It is important to remember the main reason why you get a rental agency is:

  1. To maintain your property
  2. To increase the value of your property
  3. To find wanted tenants
  4. To gather rent and take general care of the wellbeing of your tenants

These are the bare basics of any rental agency, if you find yourself with a current rental agency that is inept in any of these 4 main duties, it would be recommended that you consider finding a new rental agency, worthy of your business.

2. Credentials of a rental agency

Landlords often forget to ask about the credentials a rental agency must have, Fidelity Fund Certificate.  This is extremely important to any landlord, simply because it actually gives a level of protection to you as a landlord.  If you made the mistake to choose a less worthy rental agency you as landlord will be protected from this agency in the case of damages and fraud, claims that you can make to the Fidelity Fund.

3.  Different Mandate of rental agencies

There are 2 types of Mandates, an introduction option or the management option.

Firstly an Introduction option is often what DIY landlords go for, this will include the usage of an agent simply for finding, showing and finally signing the lease agreement with you tenants.  This will generally cost you as landlord a month’s rent in commission.  This will leave you as the DIY landlord to collect the rent, manage the building and the tenants.  This can be a timely and costly exercise.

The second option is that of full management.  Such companies (like Mafadi) will not only find, show and sign with your tenants, but they will manage the building, the tenants and the collection as well as payments of bills.

It is important that the landlord and agent has an agreement on what is expected from each other.

4.  Deposit Management

The deposit can be held by the rental agency or the landlord, but it is important that the deposit is held in a well managed interest bearing account.   There are however the advantage that if the rental agency where to keep the money, you can be assured that the deposit will be there when needed.  Many DIY landlords make the mistake to use the deposit, causing future problems of repayment, making live difficult for themselves.  If you are a DIY landlord, then just go open a new savings account, this will be an investment feature to your rental business.

5.  Credit Checks

Credit checks are essential for any landlord, making sure you tried to be as thorough as you can, will give you that extra piece of mind.  I would recommend that even if you don’t want the full management mandate, that you use the introduction mandate for their credit check features.

Rental Agencies have an advantage that no DIY landlord could have, simply because they have access to credit check information us normal folks couldn’t have.  Credit checks are important, even if it only to see that your potential tenants has been paying their bills, and don’t drown in debt.

6.  Who said what…

Communication is key as in everything in life, landlords and rental agencies should know what is expected from each other.  Once that agreement is established your tenants need to know where to fall in.  Should they communicate to the rental agency, or should they talk to you as landlord.

This may seem like such a small matter, but honestly being a tenant and not getting your concern across to the correct person can be very frustrating, these often leads to unnecessary arguments.

If you do choose a full management mandate, your rental agency is suppose to take care of your tenant, but we know the difference between “suppose to” and reality.  It is for this reason that I would still recommend that you even as a full managed landlord put a call out to your tenants, just to make sure your rental agency is worth their commission, no matter how small it may be.

7.  Statements of what goes where…

It is important that your rental agency has a good understanding of the management of your property and tenants.  You as landlord has a right to ask where your money has been spent and why, and honestly it’s your responsibility to check up from time to time even if you have a property management company.

Any rental agency worthy of their commission will be offering you similar services, anything less and I would recommend you consider Mafadi Property Management a try.

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Written by Lizl Brink, Lizl is copywriter and designer based in Johannesburg, she is also a frequent contributor to the Mafadi blog, and as an Urban investor and rejuvenation shares a passion for urban regeneration, go check out her personal portfolio here
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