Tips for landlords to be able to raise rentals
The strict criteria of the National Credit Act and increasing property prices are forcing South Africans to abandon temporarily any hope of becoming homeowners and making them tenants for longer than they anticipated two or three years ago.

This, in turn, has increased the attraction of buy-to-rent investment properties – and has led to both new and old landlords looking for ways of increasing their rental returns, says Mike Greeff, CEO of Greeff Properties.

“First and foremost,” he said, “if you want to add 20% to your rental (which is usually possible only when you get a new tenant) do all you can to improve the home’s security. Put in burglar and panic alarms, automate the garage doors, install security doors and security locks on windows and consider topping the boundary wall or fence with electrified wiring. Quite rightly, people will pay well for good security.”

Secondly, said Greeff, take a look at the kitchen, bathrooms and bedrooms. A dishwasher, an extractor fan and granite or marble tops in the kitchen, floor to ceiling tiles and new shower doors in the bathrooms and wood or tile coverings in the bedrooms add significantly to their appeal – and the home’s potential rentals.

Although many at the Cape would regard it as unnecessary, and air-conditioning unit installed in one or two rooms will often be welcome and, again, a rent booster.

Along with such upgrades, said Greeff, the homeowner should repaint and re-waterproof his home every three to five years – paying especial attention to the woodwork.

Consideration, he said, should also be given to persuading the tenant to pay or share the cost of pool and garden maintenance teams. Many tenants are too busy (or too lazy) to do these jobs properly.

Greeff warned that landlords who are slack about the upkeep of their properties will find that they attract a poor type of tenant and that rent rises are resisted.

Two further tips: Greeff said that if your tenant has pets he should expect to pay a 5% premium and if you have installed a solar heater or any other energy saving technology, the cost of this, amortised over ten years, should be paid by the tenant.

“It is the right way to go and it is the tenant who will see the benefit in his energy bills.”

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