Although tenants and landlords approach rentals from opposite perspectives, they have one thing in common: they want everything to go smoothly. But as anyone with experience as a tenant or landlord knows, that doesn’t always happen, not even when both parties are acting in good faith.
And of course, there have been cases in which tenants and landlords have ended up in situations in which one party or the other simply isn’t playing fair.
Worst case scenarios for landlords
One could easily fill a page on this topic, but common problems include:
· Tenants who neglect or damage your property
· Non-payment of rent or late payments
· Constant complaints about the tenant from neighbours
· Struggling to get tenants to leave once their lease expires
Worst case scenarios for tenants
It’s not only landlords that have bad experiences. Tenants have their share of woes:
· They find pre-existing damage on moving in and are held responsible
· Landlords fail to take responsibility for standard repairs or are slow to react
· There is no lease agreement and tenants don’t know where they stand
· When they move out, the deposit is withheld without explanation
Unfortunately, worst-case-scenarios for landlords or tenants occur more often than one might think. They inevitably result in disputes, bad feeling and more unpleasantness than anybody wants to live with. The real root cause lies in the conflicting interests of landlord and tenant.
Different perspectives and conflicting interests
The landlord, quite correctly sees the property as belonging to them. It’s a big asset, and although they might want to make some money by renting their lovely Mauritius home out, they can’t help feeling protective. At the same time, the less the landlord actually has to do to keep the place profitably rented out, the happier he or she will be.
The tenant, on the other hand, has bought the right to live in a rented house. Tenants don’t like to feel that they are being interfered with and they want to make themselves at home. At the same time, the house isn’t theirs so when the geyser pops a seam or an electric circuit goes on the fritz, they want to report it and leave the rest up to landlord.
Preventing disputes is better than resolving them
Nobody wants to have a conflict situation, but misunderstandings can all too easily arise. Quite often, these stem from things that weren’t discussed or agreed on before the tenant moved in.
For example, the tenant has a dog. The landlord doesn’t want dogs on his property. The issue only comes to light once Rover and his owner have made themselves at home. The result? A heated dispute between tenant and landlord.
1. The lease agreement is more important than most people realize
Landlords often think they can save time and money by ‘borrowing’ a generic lease agreement they found elsewhere. They don’t consider whether they have any specific requirements and check if these are catered for, and they don’t even know if it’s a legal document that would stand up to scrutiny.
Tenants can be just as careless. How many times have you signed a legal agreement without reading through it, asking any questions and checking all the clauses? A lease is a very important contract. It determines what your obligations will be and what you should and shouldn’t do while you are living in your rented home.
ALWAYS have a strong lease agreement: Don’t think you can dispense with a lease agreement just because you are renting from or renting to someone you know well – a friend or family member. The closer the connection, the more heated and hurtful any dispute will be.
A good lease agreement that both parties understand fully is the best way to avoid disputes.
2. Property inspection before and after occupation is a must
The handover between tenant and landlord is a step that cannot be omitted. The property has to be thoroughly checked for any existing damage before the tenant moves in. Landlords can’t hold tenants liable for existing damage.
Of course, the process has to be repeated when the tenant moves out, so that the landlord can be assured that he is getting the property back in good order.
Either the landlord or a property agent and the tenant have to be present at these inspections. Unfortunately, not everyone knows what to look for, and damages can be overlooked. An experienced property agent can overcome this common problem, so consider using an agent to avoid disputes about damages – which brings us to point 3.
3. An experienced agent is the best bet
One of the advantages of choosing an experienced agent is that he or she is a professional. Rental is a professional transaction, and a good agent keeps it that way. He or she will know both the tenant and the landlord’s concerns and will be able to pre-empt any issues.
Landlords need agents because home owners are often not available to do property inspections, aren’t sure how to screen potential tenants to ensure trustworthiness, don’t know how to set up a lease agreement or know how to deal with ‘tenant trouble’. They also don’t like getting calls at two in the morning because a water pipe has burst or the electricity has gone off.
Tenants need agents because they’ll have the benefit of local knowledge when house hunting. If they want to rent a house in Mauritius that fits certain criteria, a property agent will find the right home for them more quickly than they ever would. They’ll know exactly where they stand before they enter a rental agreement, will always have someone to turn to when there are problems or issues, and they can be sure of professional treatment when they move out.
Rentals don’t have to be stressful!
Nobody should ever end up in a situation in which tenant and landlord are at loggerheads – as long as both the tenant’s and the landlord’s rights and concerns are taken into account from the word ‘go’. There isn’t a tenant or landlord alive who actually wants to be involved in an unpleasant conflict, and by exercising due diligence, keeping rental transactions professional and stress-free becomes easy.