Applicants to rent a home come under intense scrutiny from letting agents before they can enter into a lease. If you are considering entering into a new rental agreement, make sure that you have all your affairs in order so that you stand the best chance of being granted tenancy.
According to Joe Alves, a professional practitioner in real estate with Just Property, your clean credit record is your greatest asset in applying to rent a home.
“Every South African is entitled to a free copy of their credit record once a year from each of the four credit bureaus, so apply to TransUnion, Compuscan, Experian or XDS to find out whether there are any judgements against you, so that you can appeal or pay back any overdue debts,” he recommends.
You will also be asked to provide a copy of your ID, your tax reference number, employment details, three months’ payslips, three months’ bank statements (or six months’ payslips if self-employed), the contact details of a previous or current landlord (if you have previously rented), and the contact details of a family reference and a non-family reference.
The agent will contact the previous landlord to check that you were a decent tenant.
“We also conduct an affordability assessment to make sure that you can afford the property you are interested in renting,” says Jeffrey Aaron, an agent with Just Property. “The rule of thumb is that you should earn a net income of three times more than the monthly rental costs – but we will also take into consideration your other financial commitments.”
If you are aware that you might have some kind of problem with your credit record, it is best to be upfront about it with your letting agent. “If you can show that you are in the process of settling bad debts and your earnings are at an acceptable level, we may still consider your application,” says Aaron. “However, you may be asked to provide an additional deposit or to find someone to sign surety for you, or another tenant to co-sign with you.”
In addition to the paperwork, the impression that you make will count in your favour, so make a point of presenting yourself positively.
“Be as transparent as possible with your agent, discussing any potential problem areas and offering reassurances about how you are dealing with them,” says Alves. “It is also helpful to be presentable – you don’t have to dress like you’re going for a job interview, but it helps if you are well-groomed and tidy. You don’t get a second chance to make a good first impression.”
To check your credit rating or for more information on Just Property please visit www.just.property or call (081) 355 6700