Simple steps to help you secure the perfect rental home

How to secure the perfect rental home

The South African residential rental market has been a tenants’ market for some time. Despite this, market research indicates that there are a great number of tenants looking for somewhere to live who struggle to find the right vacancy for their needs. Ben Shaw, CEO of digital long-term letting platform HouseME, provides would-be tenants with tips to empower themselves in order to improve their chances of finding – and keeping – their perfect pad.

First things first 

To give yourself the best shot at renting your dream home, be sure to:

1. Take advantage of the convenience of online platforms 

Use platforms such as Property24 and Gumtree to look for your ideal home. Sign up to receive alerts when properties are listed in your desired areas and price range so that you are among the first to know.

2. Respond timeously

Get in touch with the advertiser as soon as possible to let them know you’re interested in renting their property.

3. Prepare required documents in advance

These typically include your ID document; the previous three months’ bank statements; a mandate to run a credit check; your previous rental history; details of employment; and current payslip. In Shaw’s opinion, these processes are best done through a trusted intermediary to prevent identity theft – which is a big value add to using a platform like HouseME rather than naked classifieds. It also prevents scams as no deposits will be lost if you are dealing with a trustworthy counter-party.

4. Carefully consider your ability to pay the required deposit

Apply only for properties for which you are confident that you will be able to raise the full deposit within three to five days of application. Or consider using Deposit FREE, which is available on any rental across the country (simply notify the landlord that you wish to rent using HouseME and they’ll do the rest).

5. Maintain a good relationship with previous landlords

This helps position your application favourably to the current landlord who will check – and expect the same.

6. Use digital application processes 

Not only are they secure, they also save time when you want to reapply or seek another property.

Zone in on your dream home

When figuring out where you’ll be happiest renting and what factors are non-negotiable, consider:

 1. What your primary requirements are 

Such as pet friendliness, fibre internet, a pool and/or garden, a view, security, privacy versus a shared space, central versus country vibe. Shaw says that tenants are currently in a position of power, given the general oversupply of property in the market. However, negotiating on price can be less valuable than negotiating for the installation of particular services that you require.

2. Easy access to commuter routes and/or public transport. 

According to HouseME, data continues to indicate that mobility is highly-prized, which means that centrally located apartments within lifestyle areas are often the most popular properties to rent.

3. Make sure that you’re seeking rentals within your price range. 

For most tenants, paying more than 30% of income is unwise. It puts you under pressure and will likely result in a far less enjoyable rental experience, if you’re finding yourself counting down to payday each month.

Shaw adds that great landlords are taking advantage of the high vacancies to renovate portions of their property – so keep an eye out for recently improved units.

The legal stuff

What about rental agreements? 

1. How does a tenant protect their rights? 

Shaw advises working with a renting specialist. Companies like HouseME provide all legal documents up-front so that all parties are kept up-to-date and are never surprised later on in the process.

2. Consider credit ratings 

Every landlord wants a reliable tenant who pays on time, so how can tenants improve their credit rating? Technology assists tenants keep track of their various expenses and obligations: Debit orders help you stay on top of payments, while financial management apps and tools help you track your payment obligations and thus control your budget, and platforms such as HouseME usually provide both.

Visit for more information and advice about finding and securing the home of your dreams.