Self-Management Versus Rental Management Company in South Africa

You’re the proud new owner of an apartment, townhouse, or freestanding house, and you’re ready to start earning rental income. One of the questions on your mind is likely whether it’s best to manage the building yourself or to hire a rental management company.



What Does Building Management Entail?


Maintenance


Apart from emergency repairs, such as geysers or drains overflowing, it’s essential to have a seasonal maintenance schedule to attend to gutters, roof leak prevention and other upkeep chores, such as gardening and general upkeep of the grounds.


Vacancies


As soon as a vacancy arises or you receive notice from a tenant moving out, you’ll need to act fast to find the next tenant. Consider that this process involves advertising, meeting interested parties, probably showing them the unit, and all related administration such as application forms and tenant screening.


Relationships


Tenants respond well to a landlord who checks in with them regularly to discuss their needs and address complaints, which you must attempt to rectify. Remember that you’ll also receive calls to sort out various issues throughout the month – some serious and others relatively ‘benign’.


Collecting Rent


Rent is the reason you’re leasing the space in the first place, but it can become a problem when tenants have excuses about non-payment on the due date. You’ll have to discuss the reasons for the non-payment and decide how to manage the situation.


Legal Matters


The building manager’s job is to ensure that lease agreements are honoured, and tenants uphold all house rules.


Benefits of Property Management Companies


Firms of this nature understand rental law and fully appreciate landlord and tenant rights. They move in the industry circles, have their finger on the pulse of developments, and offer experience in dealing with complaints. The legal protection this grants you, the landlord, is invaluable since your management firm always knows about the latest legal requirements.


Companies that sell their services to manage your building and take care of your tenants have the necessary infrastructure for credit checks and have processes in place to deal with tenant management and screening.


Costs


When deciding whether to employ a property management company or not, you’d be wise to contemplate the costs. Companies usually charge 8-10 % of monthly rental plus VAT. For instance, if the rent is R5,000 per month, you would pay between R400 and R500 per month for management services. We’d advise you to weigh up what your time is worth.


For example, the cost may seem high with a low-maintenance tenant who never complains and pays their rent on time. However, with tenants who don’t honour the lease agreement, call to complain several times a week and require hours of your time – delegating the work to a management company is the obvious choice.


Ultimately, self-management could work well if a trusted lawyer creates a solid lease agreement and you live in the area. On the other hand, partnering with a company has definite advantages if you live elsewhere and feel that your time is worth more than the cost of a property management company.