South Africa

How to secure high-paying tenants with standout rental properties

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How can rental agents and landlords find high-paying tenants to cover their rising costs? Here are five suggestions to make your rental portfolio stand out from the crowd.

Homeowners in South Africa are under pressure after recent interest rate hikes, leading to many selling up or renting out their homes and moving into smaller rental properties.

Property professionals reported rising demand for rental properties in the latest PayProp Rental Index (Q1 2023), with budget-sensitive consumers opting for a fixed rental payment over a fluctuating bond repayment. Even would-be home buyers are opting to stay in rentals, driving up demand.

Michelle Dickens, CEO at PayProp, says the after-effects of the COVID years are still being felt by South African consumers.

“Homeowners and tenants alike are still in a state of recovery from the substantial economic impacts of the period, compounded by present-day economic challenges like the cost of food and fuel and continued load-shedding. As such, many are delaying buying homes or even returning to the rental market, boosting demand for rented properties.”

But while it’s easier to find a tenant, finding the right tenant is now more important than ever. Landlords are also facing higher bond repayments, giving them much less margin for error. If they are to stay profitable, they need to find tenants who will reliably pay the increased rents needed to cover their rising costs.

That means the challenge is on for landlords and investors to differentiate their properties in order to attract quality tenants.

Dickens suggests simple improvements to glean maximum value from an investment property:

Energy security

With the current pressure on the South African grid, being able to keep the lights on is a substantial property differentiator. This doesn’t necessarily mean the installation of a full solar and inverter system (although at the top end of the market, solar panels are a key feature) but could be as simple as a stand-alone battery backup to keep the lights, wi-fi and television operational during load-shedding.

Gas installation

Load-shedding means that electric appliances like the microwave, oven and hob don’t work – often over meal times. Whilst we’re not able to solve it all, the simple installation of a gas hob means that tenants are able to prepare food whilst the power is off.

Security upgrades

Small improvements in security measures add immediate value to a property. Simple additions, like a light-fitting CCTV camera that enables tenants to monitor movements within their property, make all the difference.

Remote geyser operation

By installing a smart wi-fi-connected geyser timer, tenants are able to remotely switch their geyser on and off. This enables power saving and also gives them a better insight into their energy consumption.

Administrative simplicity

Making use of platforms like the PayProp Tenant portal means that tenants can easily pay their rent online and have 24/7 access to their invoices and statements, keeping them informed and in control of their payments.

“Once you’ve raised the value of your property with a few simple and affordable steps, it’s equally important to screen your applicants carefully,” says Dickens. “Systems like PayProp’s Tenant Assessment Report make that easy, allowing rental agents to check an applicant’s credit score and past rental payment behaviour, which makes it easier to place tenants who can and will pay on time and in full.”
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