Rental market: It’s a great time to be a (good) tenant
If you’re a tenant in SA with a steady income and a good credit and payment record, this is probably one of the best times in the past 20 years to be looking for new accommodation, or to be negotiating a better rental – thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The lockdown imposed to try to curb the spread of the virus meant that Airbnb owners could not fill their units, so many of these have now become available in the long-term rental market. In addition, many existing tenants have moved or are moving out of rental homes they can no longer afford, and vacancies are set to rise even further once landlords are able to evict those tenants who have not been paying rent since the start of lockdown in March.
In other words there is a big surplus of homes to let relative to the number of tenants who can qualify to rent them, and if you are one of those tenants, you can pretty much take your pick at the moment. Rental agents and landlords will welcome you and, even if they won’t drop the rent, many are already offering other incentives such as early occupation, assistance with moving costs and three-part payment of the damage deposit.
The latest available residential rental statistics from the TPN Group and PayProp show the extent of the devastation that has taken place in this sector due to the hard lockdown in the second quarter of this year.
The national average rental growth rate has fallen from an already-low 3,2% in the first quarter to just 1,6% and in some provinces the average monthly rentals are now actually lower than they were a year ago, according to PayProp.
The current average rentals per province are R9022 in the Western Cape; R8344 in Gauteng; R8061 in the Northern Cape; R8037 in KwaZulu-Natal; R7463 in Mpumalanga; R6962 in Limpopo; R6455 in the Free State; R6052 in the Eastern Cape and R5235 in North West.
Meanwhile TPN reports that the national average vacancy estimate has already risen from 7,47% in the first quarter to 11,39% now – and as noted this is set to increase once landlords are legally allowed to evict defaulting tenants, which they will be able to do once the country moves to Alert Level 1.
Currently about 27% of tenants are in arrears (compared to about 19% at the start of the year) and PayProp has calculated that the average amount owing is 106% of their monthly rent. Meanwhile, says TPN, only 58% of tenants are currently paying their rent in full and on time, with another 18% making late payments.
So it is no surprise that landlords and their agents are all on the lookout for good tenants with sound financials, clean credit records and a history of paying on time and looking after the properties they rent.
There is clearly plenty for such tenants to choose from, but we would seriously advise you only to rent through a really reputable agency, because there are many unscrupulous people just waiting to scam you out of your deposit and more.
Working with one of our professional rental agents, for example, you can be sure that you will have access to the best properties available to meet your needs, and no hassles when it comes to occupation or getting your deposit returned at the end of your lease. It will be safely kept in an audited trust account.
Your lease will also be fully compliant with the Consumer Protection Act and all the other legislation that applies to rental property, and we will ensure that you know what the Conduct Rules are before you move into a sectional title complex or a gated estate.
In addition, we work hard to maintain a good relationship between landlord and tenant for the duration of the lease and make use of the most advanced property management systems to track inspections and the resolution of any maintenance issues as well as rental payments. And this kind of commitment makes all the difference between a really great rental experience and a bad one.