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South Africa - Renting Property

If you are looking for a rental property for a considerable period, it is advisable to rent a holiday apartment for a week or two to allow yourself time to look around for a long-term rental. In addition, avoid renting property sight unseen.

You can find properties for rent in South African newspapers and magazines. You may also find one by contacting real estate agents, who usually have the best information about the properties that are available for short or long-term rental in their neighborhoods. In addition, consider searching for properties for rent in South Africa while planning your trip to the country. You may ask your travel agent if they know of any properties for rent in the country.

Rental Housing Act

Once you find the rental property you want, you will be required to make an offer in writing. An estate agent will usually draw up a lease for you to sign asking you for credit references or proof of income if they are handling the transaction. The Rental Housing Act provides a template lease contract that you can use to draft your own lease contract, or you can seek an attorney to draft a lease contract on your behalf if you are not buying property through an agent. A rental lease contract must have all the features provided by the Rental Housing Act including:

• The name and address of the property owner
• The name and address of the tenant
• The property's address
• The cost of rent as well as any escalation or increases in rent over a period of time
• Additional costs that the tenant is going to pay
• The period within which rent must be paid
• The required amount of any deposit
• The lease period
• The obligations and responsibilities of both the property owner and the tenant
• A list of the existing defect within the properties

Tenants are required to abide by house rules at all times. In addition, a receipt must be issued to the tenant by the property owner once payments for rent have been made by the tenant. The property owner must keep the deposit in an interest-bearing bank account and the tenant has a right to receive a written statement of the interest earned whenever they demand it.

The tenant and the property owner must inspect the property and compile a list of all structural defects before the tenant moves in, and all the findings must be attached to the lease. In addition, the property owner and the tenant must inspect the property again at the end of the tenancy to assess whether there was any damage done to the property during the tenant’s stay. If the property was not damaged, the property owner must reimburse the tenant's deposit and interest within a week. However, if there are any damages on the property, the owner can pay for repairs using the tenant’s deposit before refunding the balance and interest within 14 days.

Long and Short-Term Rentals

The quality of a property, its age, and the facilities provided determine the rental costs. The major factor that determines rent in South Africa is the location of the property. Some property owners prefer to lease out their properties to expats because they usually charge them higher rates. Therefore, research rental costs of properties in various neighborhoods to avoid being exploited by property owners.

Short-Term Rentals

There are many self-catering accommodations for short-term periods in South Africa, especially in the coastal areas of the country. There are thousands of villas, bungalows, chalets, mobile homes and even castles to choose from. These homes are not easy to find during the peak tourist season, especially during summer. However, some people with holiday homes prefer to let out their properties when they are not using them.

Most self-catering accommodations are self-contained apartments or small cottages with:

• A large living-room/kitchen with an open fire or stove
• One to two rooms that accommodate two to four
• A living room sofa/bed
• A toilet
• A bathroom

If you are planning to rent during the winter check whether the house has some sort of heating, preferably central heating. Make sure that the short-term rental you decide to rent has all the features you need.

Charges for short-term rentals are usually set on a weekly basis from one Saturday to the next and differ widely according to the amount of beds in the rental apartment, standard, facilities provided, and location. For example, a two-bedroom house or apartment in an average neighborhood may cost R1,600 (€160) per week to rent. However, It may cost up to seven times as much during the high season for a similar property in a popular area like Camp’s Bay.

Other housing alternatives

Living in a hotel is the most practical form of accommodation for short-term stays, especially if you do not want to buy additional items that you need for accommodation during your stay. Hotel rates in South Africa are determined by individual establishments, the location, and time of the year. However, the rates may be negotiated if you plan to stay for a considerable period.

A three-star hotel room may cost around R330 (€34) and double rooms may go for R410 (€42) per night in most rural towns. In major cities, the cost is at least twice as much. Some people live permanently in cheap hotels. Luxury hotels in South Africa charge the similar rates as those in New York, London, and other expensive cities.

Motels that offer bed and breakfast are also available. They charge about R140/€15 per night. You may choose to stay in a hostel or residence similar to a hotel but contains self-catering apartments or studios.

Home Exchange

Exchanging your home abroad with one in South Africa for a certain period is an alternative to renting. If you use an agent, you may save yourself the expense of long-term rental costs. This will allow you to experience comfortable home living in South Africa at a fraction of the cost.

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