Landlords and real estate agents don’t want to lose great tenants. But what is a good tenant?


Here’s a checklist:

1. Prepare well before you view

The first thing to do when you’re looking for a property is to prepare a list of your requirements. Having a clear idea will save everyone’s time and impress the agent managing the property.

So make a list of must-haves: how many bedrooms and bathrooms you need? How many parking spaces or garages must the home have? Does the property need to be pet-friendly? What level of security is a dealbreaker? Do you need to be near shops, schools, public transport and any other amenities?

2. Be involved in the lease process

Tenants shouldn’t be too shy to ask all the important questions before they sign a lease - this actually makes for better relations between tenant and landlord as everyone knows exactly where they stand.

Ask for an explanation around any points you don’t understand, and establish upfront whether there are any additional costs over and above the monthly rental etc., says Leps.

Accept that a number of documents may be required for the initial credit check. It’s just a fact of rental life, and you don’t want to start this relationship on a bad note, so get them together and submit them willingly.

3. Pay your rent on time

Once the lease is signed, make sure that the rental and all other costs are paid timeously - this is the most important aspect of being a tenant that agents will be happy to recommend to landlords.

Remember, the landlord is a person with responsibilities, just like you. He or she relies on that money to pay their bond or any other payments needed for the property.

Once a record of timeous payments and trust is established, it can even have an impact on the rent you pay - landlords don’t want to lose a good tenant and when the annual increase is due, they may be prepared to negotiate a lower increase rather than lose dependable tenant.

4. Look after the property

Great tenants keep the property in good condition, and always ask permission before making changes such as painting or knocking nails into walls.

Every good tenant will also restore what has been changed to its original condition when vacating the property.

Communicate regarding problems such as water leaks, trees/plants that are damaging the building or fence, etc.

Let us know before a small issue becomes a huge problem, arranging access as required for the landlord or agent. I define a great tenant as one who looks after the property as if it is their own.

Good tenants keep the property clean inside and out, and happily see to general day-to-day maintenance and small repairs themselves. When big repairs are required, they are also understanding and allow the landlord reasonable time to carry out the repairs.

5. Be a good neighbour

Good tenants are assets in their community. They do not cause a disturbance and are considerate of their neighbours. As such they are in a position to try to solve problems with neighbours rather than contacting the agent (such as when a neighbour is noisy).

Good tenants are scrupulous about conforming to any body corporate rules.

6. Ask for help

Sometimes events occur that are beyond your control. Retrenchment or loss of earnings is devastating, but don’t try to hide it from your agent.

If you’re a star tenant, we can often work together to try and find a solution. If your circumstances change and you cannot fulfil the terms of the lease, don’t wait. You need to inform your landlord or agent as soon as possible.

7. Credit check

A good credit record is obviously the most important characteristic agents and landlords look for in a tenant.