A home inspection is vital when it comes to renting out a property.
It ensures that the interests of both the tenants and the landlord are protected.
And sure, it might initially seem like a tedious exercise (especially with everything else that comes with renting property), but failing to do so will leave the landlord with no legal backup should anything be damaged whilst you have tenants living in your yard.
Generally, the landlord or real estate agency will be able to withhold the deposit that was put down before the tenants moved in to mitigate any financial cost of the repairing the damage that was done.
However, if no property inspection was done beforehand, they will not be within their legal rights to do so and will have to pay for the repairs themselves!
South African legislation through the Rental Housing, Unfair Practices Regulations and Consumer Protection Acts state the practices around home inspections and refunding the damages deposit.
The Rental Housing Act states that when a property is rented, it should undergo a documented ingoing and outgoing inspection that should be done by both the landlord and the tenant.
If these two parties are not able to attend, a representative may be sent on behalf of them to participate in the process of the inspection. This is also the Act that stipulates that the damage deposit is paid upfront before any tenants move into the house or unit.
It is not just in the landlord’s best interest to conduct a full-scale inspection of the property! Tenants who have an inspection done cannot be held liable for any damages that may have been caused prior to them moving in.
Of course, there is a long list of things that a tenant would like to do instead of being present during a home inspection, but failure to do so will render them vulnerable to the landlord’s version of what the state of the property is in.
It could lead to ugly disputes and tenants might unfairly lose out on their deposit when they move out.
It is advisable for landlords to do an inspection halfway through the lease agreement period to see what the state of the unit or house is in after the tenants have moved in. This will allow them to intervene if anything has already been broken or damaged.
Midterm inspections pretty much ensure that unpleasant situations are nipped in the bud! Midterm inspections also allow the landlord to monitor their asset as it is being used by the tenant and it allows the tenant to bring up anything that might need to be repaired or fixed by the landlord.
Midterm inspection does not have to be a long and drawn out affair, but it is important that both parties document and record any type of damages that might have been caused to the unit or house or any type of repairs that need to be done.
If property inspections are done in a consistent & conscientious manner, it can protect both parties fairly!
Even though it might seem like a waste of time, there is no amount of time that can ever be enough to protect your rights, your safety or your finances. Regardless whether you’re the tenant or landlord!
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