Tuesday, 4 April 2017


A STOP SIGN At the entrance of Harare  Central Hospital
An angry client of mine stormed into one of his rented properties at around  00:01 mid night and ordered a defaulting tenant to vacate the premises with immediate effect ! Shocked by this militant move the tenant packed all his belongings and left the house. I still wonder where in Harare did the tenant go to find a vacant house in the dead of night. This tip worked instantly for this landlord but its not however, one of those Iam recommending to you in this article.

Definitely, if you have rented properties you need to have a sustainable way of dealing or avoiding defaulting tenants because they will cost you money and reduce your rental profit! Most landlords at the time of defaults are usually not financially capable to sue a defaulting tenant. Probably, its because the money they should use is that the tenant would have not paid.  So if there are ways to avoid this expense and save money then such ways are most welcome. To this end here are some signs and tips on how to avoid  expenses suing a defaulting tenant.

Have a shorter lease.

I prefer a shorter lease because it helps you to make use of the security deposit in time before the costs of  the tenant's liabilities goes beyond the amount of deposit held in trust. Usually the deposit is only used upon termination of lease so if the tenant causes some liability to the property like municipality debts and fail to correct this problem you can not then say Iam now going to use the deposit to pay your debts until the lease contract expires. So I therefore, prefer a shorter lease that expires sooner so that you  can make use of security deposit in correcting the liabilities before their cost goes beyond the amount of deposit.

Screen prospective tenants first.

Initially screening prospective tenants is the first line of defense in protecting your rental income. If you do this well you would have avoided possible problems that would mushroom down the road. Screening acts as a road sign that show you possible problems ahead so that you make decisions now in order to be safe. Most landlords do not screen prospective tenants yet there are simple and effective ways of doing so. For example asking the tenants to do the following ;

1. Provide information about monthly salary.

2. Payment of security deposit.

1. Provide information about monthly salary.

Providing information about monthly salary or income is one of the best ways of determining whether or not a tenant is capable of paying. If the property's rent is $400.00 and the tenant earns $500.00 then he or she is likely to default rent payment because his salary in terms of expenditure is committed to the brim. This tenant is therefore, disqualified. You can take a cue from banks about the screening they use to avoid possible bed debtors. Say you want a loan and your monthly mortgage payments are going to be more than 60% of your monthly income then you are more likely to default on those payments consequentially the bank will not give you the loan.

2. Payment of security deposit.

A security deposit is useful in paying for a tenant's liabilities if any upon termination of contract. At least it should be equivalent to the amount of monthly rent. Some people vacate the premises they rent and leave behind debts for the landlord to bear and these are what cause costly lawsuits. So payment of deposit is security against this reality and its not negotiable. What can be negotiated is how it is paid possibly to match a tenant's cash flow. This again is a first line of defense and  a road sign that points to things ahead.

Cain Ndhlovu is a property consultant contact him for these and all property issues. Cell 0772 997 229. Or  LEAVE DETAILS in the pop up widget, he will call you back .

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