What services can a landlord and a tenant expect from a rental agent?
In the current market, it is evident that consumers are preferring renting a property to purchasing one. This places a large responsibility on the shoulders of real estate agents to assist this potential client market.
There are mainly four functions that agents can and should fulfil: determining the market price of a property, advertising, checking legal requirements and drafting a lease agreement.
The real estate agent should firstly assist the owner/landlord in determining a market price, thereby determining the rental amount. In doing this, the agent will consider the property itself, the location or area, and any other property which is also for rent in the neighbourhood, as this will determine the supply of rental properties. The more properties available in the area, the lower the expected rental amount will be.
When the property has been listed on the agent’s roll and the appropriate documentation has been signed, the real estate agent will advertise the property to find a suitable tenant. The rental agent has the responsibility to do ITC checks, reference checks and make sure that all FIA (Financial Intelligence Act 13 of 2012) requirements are met. The rental agent should assist and advise both landlord and tenant. Details to cover are: the deposit payment, first month rental payment, any administrative fee, and the stamp duty payable. If possible, the real estate agent should also schedule an introductory meeting between the landlord and the tenant before signing the lease agreement.
It is further important for a real estate agent to have contact with a lawyer where a lease agreement should be drafted that will be able to assist and protect both landlord and tenant. The real estate agent should further assist and discuss with both landlord and tenant issues such as last day of monthly rental payments, notice period, whether pets are allowed and further legal steps that may be taken, due to breach of contract.
The agent will usually request a fee equivalent to one month’s rent and may also optionally ask an additional percentage of the monthly rent, if the real estate agent is assisting in administering the property.
Both tenants and landlords should ensure that they cover the above points and issues with the real estate agent. If the agent is not in the position to answer these questions to either party’s satisfaction, it would be better to use the services of another real estate agent. In addition, as discussed in the previous article, always request to see the Namibian Estate Agents Board (NEAB) verification of the agent, which can be showed by providing a NEAB card.