There is no restriction on foreigners when it comes to renting property in South Africa. It is, in essence, not the concern of the owner if you’re a resident or a non-resident, only that you have a good credit rating. This can be proven with three months of bank statements, if you’ve held a local account that long, or a letter from your employer, along with a copy of your work contract. (The objective is to illustrate that you have sufficient income to pay your deposit and afford to pay your rent on time thereafter, so any official documentation to that effect will do).
Note also that all tax issues are the landlord’s concern, and not yours.
The rental process is simple – find a rental property on offer, express your interest, and sign a lease, which usually runs from a minimum period of six months or one year. If there is a rental company involved (which with apartments for rent is relatively unusual), the agent will take a minimum 2 percent cut of the landlord’s take, with no charge to the renter.
The lease should specify how utilities, such as water and electricity, are to be paid. If there’s an option to renew, the lease will also state this. The lease generally also requires that you pay a deposit, which could range between one to three months rent.
Terminating the Lease
If you violate the length of stay agreed in the lease by leaving early or refusing to leave, you may have your deposit confiscated, or a quantity of the deposit equivalent to the landlord’s financial loss taken from it. Consequently, if you can find another tenant to move in as you move out, you won’t be penalized.
Your deposit may also be confiscated if you leave the place damaged or in disrepair. Again, the amount taken will normally be equivalent to however much it costs the landlord to repair the damage. It’s typical of landlords to over-quote for repairs, so having the damage repaired yourself will normally equate to large savings on your part.
South African leases do not generally contain a diplomatic clause, though lease terms are always up for negotiation. If you wish to terminate your rental agreement, you’ll normally be required to pay rent for one calendar month after you’ve notified the landlord. Some commercial leases contain a relocation clause, but this is never the case for residential properties.
Below are current prices of rental properties, three rentals from four different areas to indicate how pricing varies according to areas, premises and facilities.
Nonetheless, rental prices can go out of date very quickly. The following are some of the best websites to find current rental listings. Listings are often informal and don’t require you to do business through an agent. (And, really, there’s no particular reason to recommend going through an agent, from the renter’s perspective).
- http://www.iolproperty.co.za – This is an excellent site for recent rental listings. Just enter the first few letters of any suburb and select your desired suburb from the drop-down list as it appears. Also be sure to select the ‘Only apartments posted in the last 90 days’ option.
- http://www.sarental.co.za – Another good listing site. Search rentals by property category, price and area.
- http://www.gumtree.co.za – This is a free local advertising site, similar to craigslist, which has a rental listing section. Be sure to check the time of posting, as old listings are often not deleted.
- R8500: Spacious, sunny two bedrooms, one bathroom apartment, fully furnished, in a security complex with lock-up garage. Amazing ocean views.
- R12500: Apartment with two bedrooms, two bathrooms and spectacular sea views. Lock up garage, parking bay, Jacuzzi and communal pool.
- R20000: Furnished three bedroom, two bathroom house with secure parking, fully equipped kitchen and open plan dining room leading to pool.
- R45000: Immaculate one bedroom one bathroom apartment with enclosed garden and garage. Spacious with tiled floors. Includes fridge and washing machine.
- R11000: Partially furnished two bedroom, two bathroom cottage with parking bay, lock up garage and tranquil garden area.
- R16500: Classic Victorian-style house. Three bedrooms, two bathrooms (master bedroom is en suite), dining room, living room, kitchen with scullery and laundry room. Private courtyard with small garden and one off-street parking bay.
- R3350: Spacious ground-floor bachelor pad, secure building. Fitted kitchen with fridge and stove.
- R6500: Unfurnished two bedroom, two bathroom apartment in security complex. Lounge leads to open balcony with sea and mountain views. Built-in cupboards, parking bay
- R25000: Furnished three bedroom, two bathroom apartment on Beach Road. Classic, quaint architecture and furnishings. Stunning sea views and open double-balcony.
City Bowl District
- R5500: Stylish, furnished bachelor pad with secure parking and 24 hour security. Gym and roof-deck pool area with incredible views of the city. Centrally located.
- R12000: 1 bedroom, 2 bathroom executive apartment with secure parking. Washing machine, drier, refrigerator, dishwasher, heated towel rails and floor, fully air conditioned.
- R17500: Two bedroom, two bathroom, fully furnished designer apartment. Own roof garden with sauna, Jacuzzi, braai facilities and views of the city. 2 secure parking bays, round the clock security.