Some Advice For Landlords in Zimbabwe

 

Leasing out property in any country can be a difficult process, but in Zimbabwe I believe it is much more risky as we do not have an effective credit bureau for background checks and our court system is slow in evicting errant tenants.

 

In the past 12 months several companies have sprung up claiming to offer a credit rating scheme. I have signed up to one of these companies, but as it is still in the infancy stage, I have not found it very useful in doing background checks on my potential tenants. Background checks on tenants are essential in order to establish whether such tenants can pay the rent each month. It is also important to know the character of the person to ascertain whether they are the type of person who will look after your asset. At present there is no real solution to the lack of an effective credit rating system. One must rely on the testimony of the references provided by the potential tenant. These references can be very misleading at times.

 

Property can easily be damaged when leased to careless tenants. I have found in some cases that the money, which the landlord has earned during the course of a lease contract, does not cover the cost of damages caused by careless tenants. In order to help prevent such occurrences, it is essential to do regular checks on one’s property. Your estate agent should be doing this quarterly for you. If they are not, then you need to consider finding a more effective “hands on” agent. If you are managing the property yourself, it is essential to arrange scheduled inspection times.

 

All snags at the property should be dealt with immediately to prevent them from escalating and leaving you seriously out of pocket. It is important to realize as a landlord that although you may need the income from your rental properties to survive, not all the money earned from such rentals should be consumed by you for living expenses. It is a good idea to put aside a percentage of the rental each month. This money can then be used to deal with any snags that occur at the property. If you do not do this, you may find that you are not in a position to make the necessary repairs on your investment properties. The longer that problems remain the more likely they are to cause bigger more costly issues down the line.

 

I often find that landlords are more interested in getting the most money for their property and pay very little or no attention to the type of tenant they allow to lease their property. In my experience, I find that asking a lower rental and vetting the tenant properly results in more money in the landlord’s pocket in the long run. Good tenants do basic maintenance and have a sense of pride in their home. Good tenants are hard to find and should be prized above receiving high rentals.

 

To recap then, the following points are essential for landlords to remember:

·       Do thorough background checks on your potential tenants

·       Do regular inspections of your property or have your agent do this

·       Keep aside a percentage of rental received each month for emergency repairs to your property

·       Remember a caring tenant who pays a lower rental is far better than a rich, careless tenant