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South Africa’s first residential Tenant Representative Service launches

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“My landlord is refusing to return my deposit!” “My landlord is withholding my deposit, even though no entry or exit inspection was conducted.” “I’m not comfortable with some of the clauses in my lease, but I HAVE to sign it or I will lose out on the home.”

These are some of the most common concerns expressed by South Africa’s tenants. While tenants are not always in the right, neither are landlords – the problem, however, is that tenants have difficulty in enforcing their rights against landlords who usually hold the power in the negotiations and relationship with their tenants.

This is where Trusted Tenant Services comes in. A South African-first, tenant-centric representative service, launched by veteran property economist, institutional adviser, developer and investor, Neville Berkowitz, who entered the property industry in 1973.

He is also the brainchild behind HomeBid, an agency that launched more than three years ago, and which is now SA’s largest low-commission estate agency.

Mike Mills, an accountant with more than 35 years’ experience in the estate agency and property investment and development fields is the Principal agent of Trusted Tenant Services (Pty) Ltd.

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Berkowitz believes Trusted Tenant Services will come to the aid of high-quality, verified Trusted Tenants, standing in their shoes during lease negotiations, representing them in their dealings with their landlords during their tenancy, as well as in their incoming and outgoing inspections handled by an unbiased and independent third-party home inspection service managed by the ex head of Absa valuations.

“While non-residential corporate tenants have for years enjoyed representation by property experts, in the residential rental marketplace property experts only represent landlords who pay their commission and management fees,” said Berkowitz. “This leaves the tenant defenseless when committing up to 30% of their salary in renting a home.”

Trusted Tenant Services is targeting LSM 8 to 10 residential tenants working for employers in corporate South Africa and the public sector, as well as financially successful self-employed professionals and entrepreneurs with a high net worth.


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Is a verbal lease agreement valid?


“Christmas has come early for Trusted Tenants paying rentals from R8,000/month,” said Berkowitz, noting that for tenants to enjoy representation, they need to pass a verification process. “To become a Trusted Tenant, and thus enjoy full representation – as well as a host of other benefits – tenants need to consent to thorough credit and financial checks and be verified by our qualified and experienced practitioners, some of whom are development economists, accountants and financial planners.”

Once applicants successfully pass the requirements and become Trusted Tenants, they sign a sole mandate to be represented by Trusted Tenant Services. Tenants requiring new rental homes can mandate Trusted Tenant Services to source and secure new rental premises, while existing tenants can mandate Trusted Tenant Services to negotiate lease renewals on their behalf, potentially saving them money by negotiating a lower rental in the current weak economic climate.

“The power of Trusted Tenants lies in the stringent verification they undergo,” said Berkowitz. “Landlords and rental agents can sleep peacefully at night when placing a Trusted Tenant as Trusted Tenant Services is so confident in its verification methods that we will issue participating landlords with a six-month equivalent rental and damages guarantee backed by an insurance policy issued to Trusted Tenant Services from a company within one of South Africa’s largest insurance companies.”

Tenants pay R495 once-off to become Trusted Tenants and, once successfully approved, R150/month for their representation. There are other services offered by Trusted Tenant Services to both Trusted Tenants and their participating landlords, including no deposits to landlords from Trusted Tenants when the landlord accepts Trusted Tenant Services’ insurance company-backed 6-month rental and damage guarantee.

“TrustedTenant will be a game changer in the residential rental marketplace,” says HomeTimes’ David A Steynberg. “Trusted Tenants are very valuable to a residential landlord; not only are they getting properly verified high-quality tenants who will look after their investments for them, but a bankable guarantee from Trusted Tenant Services for the equivalent of 6 months rental for any non-payment of rental and damages caused by the Trusted Tenant.”


For more information, visit TrustedTenant.co.za

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