Expats looking to rent long-term accommodations in Cape Town and other South African cities will find the process much like that in most other countries. Still, to avoid unethical rental agents and other problems, it pays to pay attention before signing on any dotted lines. Become familiar with rental regulations and tenants rights and get everything in writing. This article will raise awareness and help expats be more comfortable renting in South Africa.

To Rent or To Buy?

Renting homes in larger cities like Cape Town and Johannesburg can be expensive. The rand has dropped in value recently making it cheaper than ever for foreign currency purchasers to buy property. Some expats may find that makes more sense. However, they should be aware of additional property transaction costs. Expats planning shorter term stays should also consider that a capital gains tax of over 30 percent will apply when its time to sell the property. It will be harder to recuperate costs with a short term investment. In any case, it makes sense to rent first and test out the various neighborhoods before committing to buying.

Cape Town Property Types

It’s important to note that SA estate agents use terminology to describe properties that may be different than a foreigner is used to. Become familiar with the following terms:

A bachelor flat is typically a one-bedroom flat with a combination living/dining area and a kitchen and bathroom. A flat has more living space has from one to three bedrooms. Townhouses are usually in complexes of up to 30 units. A semi has one floor while a duplex is a two-floor property. There may be a joint fee to pay towards the properties upkeep which may be high. Cluster homes are also usually in complexes with shared amenities like pools and clubhouses. Renters may have a garden to maintain whereas townhouse gardens are usually maintained by the complex. Cottages are on the grounds of larger homes and away from the main house. Detached houses are the standard family-size, and most are single stories.

Finding Cape Town Rental Properties

All major SA newspapers list available rentals. They can also be found by using specific expat papers and with Expatica’s rental accommodation search. While it is possible to rent privately, most lettings are done through real estate agents. This can give renters less hassle and more peace of mind since these agents must be registered with the Estate Agency Affairs Board.

About Ephraim Vashovsky