Frequently Asked Questions
How does it work?
Here we provide a brief overview of how RentMaster works. The Getting Started section has all the details and links to the required documents.
To start, the property owner completes the Rental Mandate form that appoints RentMaster to manage the rental collection process.
If you already have an existing tenant, we will review the current contracts, security deposit and payment history and start the conversion process in preparation for the next month-end.
If not we will work closely with you or your agent to ensure that a suitable tenant is selected to rent your property. A prospective tenant completes a Rental Application form and must pass our affordability test, which means his monthly income must be at least three times the rent. We work with reputable credit bureaus to check that he has a good credit record. Based on the tenant’s risk profile, we will let you know what the requirements are for the security deposit.
The tenant and property owner then complete and sign the Lease Agreement which includes the inspection report. The tenant also signs a Debit Order Authorisation.
From this point on the owner only needs to take care of arranging any maintenance and repairs as required.
On the first working day of the month RentMaster pays the rent into your bank account and the tenant pays us. If he fails to pay, it is our problem to collect the arrears. If non-payment continues, we carry all the costs and the responsibility of the eviction, although this is hardly ever necessary. During this time RentMaster continues to pay you the rent on time.
Download the RentMaster Brochure or go the Getting Started section below to sign up.
How do I get started? (Process and Forms)
RentMaster’s streamlined process and plain English forms and agreements will get you going in no time. Signing up is as easy as 1-2-3:
- You need to complete a Rental Collection Mandate to appoint us to collect the rent on your behalf.
- You also need to provide us with a copy of your ID and a utility bill for FICA purposes (all this red-tape drives us crazy as well).
- The details of the terms and conditions of our agreement with you are contained in the RentMaster Guarantee Agreement. Have a good look and let us know if there is anything in here that you need clarity on.
As easy as that. Now to sign up the tenant. Completed applications must be sent by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or using the Online Application facility on the website.
You can either do his yourself with our assistance, or ask an estate agent to find you a tenant and complete the steps below. Don’t worry if this sounds very complicated, our friendly staff will guide you all the way.
The process works as follows:
- If you have an existing tenant, the next step will depend on whether there is already a problem with rent in arrears and various other factors we will discuss with you before agreeing on the way forward. Unfortunately each situation is unique and needs to be assessed on is own merits.
- If not, we will provide you with the necessary forms and agreements for you to get your new tenant to complete.
- It works like this:
- The tenant needs to complete a RentMaster Rental Application Form which must be returned to us together with copies of 3 months’ payslips and bank statements, and a copy of their ID document. If they are self-employed, we ask for confirmation from their accounting officer of their earnings.
- Please send all application forms together with the supporting documents referred to above to email@example.com to ensure prompt attention.
- We check above and made sure that the tenant can afford the rent – we work on an industry standard benchmark of 33% of net take-home salary (i.e. after deductions). So if you want to charge R5,000 a month rent, then the tenant needs to earn at least R15,000. Where there are two (or more) tenants, we will combine their earnings as long as they are both signatories to the lease agreement.
- We then obtain a comprehensive credit profile from various industry databases including the Tenant profile Network for each of the tenants. There is a once-off cost of R105.00 for each tenant for this service which you are allowed to recover from the tenant.
- At this stage we will let you know what the required security deposit is based on the credit profile, employment reference and affordability checks. It is typically one to two months of the rental amount.
- Almost there! Now the contracts, this is crucial so stay with us. You need to complete an inspection report, sign the RentMaster Lease Agreement and get the tenant to sign a Debit Order Authority. NB! It is very important that you do not sign the lease agreement or hand over the keys to the tenant until all the profiling steps have been concluded and a deposit amount has been communicated to you.
- You and the tenant need to do an inspection together. This is to ensure that there are no disputes at the end about damages caused by the tenant that you are entitled to deduct the cost of repairs of from the security deposit. We provide you with a template of the inspection report with the lease agreement document above.
- Take the time to work through the lease agreement with the tenant making sure they understand and that you are in agreement. Both of you need to sign the last page and have it properly witnessed. Each of the pages need to be initialed by all the signatories and the witnesses.
- Please make sure the tenant has properly signed the debit order agreement and filled in all the details.
Get this lot back to us and sit back and relax.
From here on we take care of it.
What makes us different?
RentMaster is the only rental guarantee solution that pays you up front with no forms to fill in if your tenant does not pay. So if you rely on the rental income to pay the bond and other costs associated with the property, you can rest assured that you will be able to meet your commitments.
Other rental income protection schemes require you to submit a claim form for assessment. You will only get paid if and when the claim is approved, and this can take some time.
RentMaster is a complete rental collection solution that actively takes care of all the daily and monthly activities required to ensure you have the peace of mind. This makes is fundamentally different to competing offerings where you have to do all the work and put up with listening to the reasons why the rent wasn’t paid.
How much does it cost?
RentMaster costs 4.6% of the monthly rental plus R60 administration fee (incl. VAT).
So if your rent is R5000 per month, RentMaster rental collection service will cost you R290 per month.
What about damages and the security deposit?
RentMaster is registered with the Estate Agency Affairs Board and holds the necessary Fidelity Certificate to keep the tenants security deposit in trust as required by the Rental Housing Act. The amount required for the deposit is based on the risk profile of the prospective tenant and is typically equal to one to two months rent.
The Act prescribes that the deposit may be used to fix damage to the property caused by the tenant during his stay. It can also be used to cover any other amounts due that are covered by the lease agreement, eg. rentals in arrears.
It is very important that a proper inspection is held at inception and again at the end of the lease period. Based on the signed inspection reports and copies of invoices that substantiate the repairs required, RentMaster reimburse the owner the costs relating to repairs first, then repay any rental arrears and finally pay back the rest to the tenant with interest.
What if I already have a problem tenant?
We will assist you with the process of normalising the situation. The following steps are required:
- Prepare an accurate and up-to-date statement of the rental account. Make sure you show all amounts due and all payments received, and that it covers the full period from first non-payment. You can use this template. [Pro-forma Statement]
- Register with TPN at www.tpn.co.za and follow the steps to issue the tenant with a final letter of demand by registered mail. Download a copy of the letter generated at the same time, and send it to the tenant by email with the statement of accounts attached. Make note in the email that this letter has been sent by registered mail as well.
- If after 20 working days (normally 30 consecutive days) the tenant has not paid in full, send the tenant the TPN Letter of Termination requesting them to vacate the premises.
- You may want to consider giving them some additional time to find alternative accommodation, especially if there is hardship outside of their control (eg. loss of employment, small children or elderly or infirm occupants in the residence).
- If they do not vacate, you have no other option but to appoint an attorney to obtain an eviction order on your behalf. Make sure there are no counter-claims the tenant can use to defend the action (eg. maintenance issues that was not properly attended to).
- Once the agreement has been terminated, do not send the tenant any communication demanding rent or enter into any repayment negotiations. This may establish a new tacit rental agreement and you will have to start all over again. Note that you retain full rights to continue recovering any amounts due to you, including damages relating to loss of income due to illegal occupation after the termination date (don’t call it rent though!), legal fees and the sheriff’s costs.
- You may also use the tenant’s deposit held to compensate you for these losses.
- Through all this stay calm, keep it factual and don’t even think about changing locks or having the electricity disconnected as tactics to force the tenant out of your house. This is illegal – search “Spoliation” and avoid an expensive mistake.
We will gladly assist you during this process, but you have to be realistic in your expectations. There is no quick fix in matters like this, but it is also not an impossible challenge if you follow the basic steps outlined above.
What about other payments like electricity and water?
RentMaster will collect and guarantee the amount you agree on with the tenant and then record in the lease agreement. We will also make the payment, and any other payments you’d like us to, on your behalf as part of the monthly payment run. You provide us with a schedule of how you would like the rental income disbursed, we make the necessary payments (including our fee) and then pay the balance into your bank account. We can also deal with once-off sundries if you notify us in time (by the 25th of the month).
Should you wish us to collect sundry items, such as water, electricity, sewerage, parking, etc, please note that RentMaster require a utilities deposit equal to the estimated amount of the sundry collection.
Can you find me a tenant?
We do not find tenants, nor do we show tenants premises or do inspections. We focus on providing the best rental collection service in South Africa at less than half the price that the typical property manager will charge you.
We will however assist you all the way to ensure that the prospective tenants are suitable and properly signed up.
We recommend listing your property on TPN Rentbay and other online property marketplaces.