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13 steps for credit-impaired tenants

Still struggling to pay off your debt? We’ve got you covered when attempting to sign a lease.

  1. Have a credit-worthy member of your family or friend sign or co-sign the lease with you or on your behalf.
  2. Arrange for a debit order to pay your rent, in other words some automatic process by which you pay your rent.
  3. Pay rental upfront, for example, three months, if you have the money to do so.
  4. Provide additional security, for example, in the form of your car if it has no finance obligations on it. Here you can sign the car transfer papers held by the landlord’s attorney in trust.
  5. See if you can rent a home on a short-term basis where the home has been for sale on the market over a long period of time. This option may suit the owner while he waits for a successful sale to take place.
  6. Pay rent on a month by month basis to establish your good payment record, hopefully leading to signing a longer lease.
  7. Pay a higher rental for shorter periods to establish a good paying record.
  8. Offer to pay a higher rental than the asking rental to get a longer lease.
  9. Share the premises with a house mate who might have a good credit record and can sign the lease.
  10. Look for a property that is not located in a popular area or is in need of renovation.
  11. Supply the prospective landlord with letters of recommendation from a previous landlord or employer, or from anyone in good standing who can help.
  12. Avoid managing agents /rental agencies that have to “go by the book” and rather seek out and speak directly to landlords who are empathetic to your current plight and feel that they can trust you to pay the rent.
  13. As a last resort, have your employer sign a garnishee order to the landlord/rental agency.


While HomeTimes can’t guarantee that these tips will secure you a lease, they will hopefully assist you and improve your chances of obtaining a lease if you are credit-impaired.


Alison Goldberg is the former property editor of Business Day (1985) and the Financial Mail (1991-99). In 1995 she won the Sanlam Financial Journalist of the Year Award. She has edited such titles as National Constructor and The Miner in Australia and has freelanced for The Star, The South African Jewish Report and The Jerusalem Post.

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