The eight year old rental division of the Rawson Property Group’s Somerset West franchise, based in Helderberg, has grown by 32% per annum and, in anticipation of growth, has now doubled its staff. Run by Lizette Keyser, the division now manages some 300 properties.
Asked to what he attributes the rapid rise of this division and what lessons other rental agencies can learn from it, Johann van der Merwe, franchisee for the Rawson Property Group’s Somerset West franchise, said that his team had learned through hard experience to reduce late or non-paying tenants to an absolute minimum. On average, he said, his rental division is now operating with only 3 to 6% late payments and less than 1% non-payments in any given month.
“The crucial lesson any rental team has to learn,” said van der Merwe, “is that it is essential to monitor and vet potential tenants’ previous records, especially as regards credit defaults, employment and behaviour in previous rental contracts. We do this so thoroughly that up to 70% of potential tenants are not accepted.”
An innovation about to be introduced by his team to the Helderberg rental market, said van der Merwe, is an insurance policy, in terms of which the insurance company, if the tenant defaults, refunds the landlord for up to three months unpaid rent and covers the cost of eviction.
Although policies of this kind are fairly widely used, said van der Merwe, the policy negotiated by his franchise has certain, very definite, advantages and it is quite possible that within the next year he will be able to offer it to other rental franchises within the Rawson Property Group.
In view of the way his property rental division has grown, said van der Merwe, it should be quite possible to double up the portfolio (to 600 units) within two years and this is the target that the team has set for themselves.