With property scams on the rise in the Moot, a security firm has offered some tips to keep owners and tenants safe.
Kilnerpark Security spokesperson Ancelize van der Kooi said several offences had been reported of residents being scammed when leasing or renting property.
“It cannot be emphasised enough that people should be very careful,” she said.
“It is known that the scam artist will take the photos of a property online and create a profile with their details or the potential tenant might be viewing the property to commit a crime.”
Van der Kooi advised people to always meet the owner, agent or tenant in person.
“When choosing a tenant, agent or owner a contract should be in place to cover and provide for all parties involved.”
The contract should comply with the rental housing act 50 of 1999.
Van der Kooi said residents should always make sure that the letting agent belongs to a recognised professional body.
“Anyone could set themselves up as a letting agent, even someone who has been banned from practising as an estate agent,” she said.
“Many rogue agents may display the logos of these organisations on their websites, or even claim to be members when they are not. You can check whether they really are a member of the relevant organisation’s website.
“Also, make sure the agent is registered and recognised at the estate agency affairs board (EAAB).
“Always make sure that your payments are protected and make sure that the account you use for payments is registered to the legit agency used,” Van der Kooi said.
“Do not make any payments into the personal account of any letting agent. After every payment, you must safeguard the proof of payment.”
Think twice before handing over a deposit to “guarantee” a property.
“Scamming agents have been known to take payments from potential tenants to guarantee that the property is theirs, but then keep it on the market so they can collect similar payments from others,” she said.
“The only time you pay the deposit is when you are sure about the agent, the bank account details and all of your paperwork has been finalised.”
Van der Kooi said that residents should be familiar with the estate agents affairs act 1976 (act no 112 of 1976).
A deposit and any interest thereon should be dealt with in accordance with the provisions of this act.
Look out for hidden charges and do not be pressured into paying any extra fees.
“Alarm bells should be ringing if the agent asks you for an additional holding charge on top of the deposit, charges you to view a property or tries to charge you for cleaning or decorating the property before you move in,” she said.
Van der Kooi said residents should look for testimonials.
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