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The security features you should look out for before signing the lease

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Statistics show that South Africans are among the most security conscious home buyers in the world, with the security features of a property being a major consideration in the property buying decision.

Notwithstanding the fact that tenants have comparatively less say over the security features of the home they rent it is definitely not a consideration low on the list of priorities when searching for a property. It is because of this, says Adrian Goslett, regional director and CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa, that tenants should ask the right questions before signing the lease, or risk getting stuck with a property with less than ideal security.

“Landlords have a responsibility to ensure that the property is in good condition and well-maintained with reasonable security precautions such as door and window locks,” adds Goslett. “Landlords are, however, not required to provide any additional security.”

Before signing the lease agreement it is a good idea to check with the landlord what the feeling would be on installing additional security features at your own cost, an especially generous, some could even argue reasonable, landlord might even offer to pay a portion of the cost as the upgrades will increase the value of the home and future potential rental income.


The real impact of crime on property buying and rental trends


Before even reaching this point of negotiation with your prospective landlord you will do well to create security criteria for yourself based on the type of property you want. Just deciding that you want to rent a sectional title property is not enough – these properties are not untouched by criminal activity. “Find out about the security features of the complex as a whole,” advises Goslett. “Consider things such as access control, security guards on site or patrols, cameras or surveillance of some kind, all which will vastly increase the security of the development.”

Rental property security cheat sheetChecking someone out first

It is not a given that a rental property in a complex or estate will offer more security than a free-standing home. When viewing the property, before making any decisions, these are the basics you should be looking out for.

  • Find out whether the access codes and door locks will be changed once the current tenant has moved out of the rental property.
  • Make a definitive point of checking out the lighting surrounding the property. Dark areas make it easier for intruders to approach and gain access unnoticed.

Top tip: Outdoor floodlights can mitigate the risk to some degree, and motion-sensor models are a value-for-money, effective option. The exterior is not the only place that requires good lighting; a lighting timer for inside the home can create the illusion of someone being home even when you are travelling.

  • Look out for the location of the parking area/garage relative to the point of access to the property. Check whether the area is well-lit and if there is a safe, secure place to park your car.
  • Finally it is also important to check whether there are fire extinguishers and where the fire escape stairs and exits are.

Don’t compromise on your list of security criteria; feeling safe is an important part of feeling at home.

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