Renting out a garden cottage on your property can be a tempting idea for many homeowners. It offers the chance to earn extra income and make use of unused space. However, like any decision, it comes with both advantages and disadvantages. Here’s a closer look at what you need to consider before becoming a landlord on your own property.


Benefits of Renting Out a Garden Cottage

Extra Income: With high interest rates, the additional income from renting out a part of your property can make it easier to afford home loan repayments.

Utilising Unused Space: Renting out a garden cottage helps you make the most of your property.

Enhanced Security: Having someone else living on your property can deter burglars, especially if you frequently travel or leave the property unoccupied for extended periods.


Drawbacks to Consider

Privacy Concerns: Sharing your property means sacrificing some privacy. Using the same garden space can be challenging, especially if the tenant is intrusive or disruptive. Adding fences and shrubbery can help create greater separation.

Dealing with Problematic Tenants: Issues like late rent payments, property damage, or conflicts over late-night parties can strain your relationship with the tenant. Working with a rental agent can help manage these situations, as they can mediate between you and the tenant.

Maintenance and Repairs: Regular maintenance and inspections are crucial. A big repair bill can quickly erode profit margins, so being proactive is essential.


Tips for Prospective Tenants

Maintain a Good Credit Record: Ensure your credit record is in good shape and demonstrate a history of on-time payments. Landlords want reliable tenants who pay rent promptly.

Prepare References and Documentation: Provide good references from previous landlords and have all necessary paperwork ready, including previous addresses, bank details, ID, employer information, and recent payslips.

Have Funds Ready: Be prepared to pay a deposit, usually equivalent to a month’s rent, and any additional fees for utilities. Delays in securing these funds can result in losing out on rental opportunities.

Be Flexible: While knowing your must-haves and deal-breakers is important, being flexible on other criteria can help you make quick decisions when needed.


Rising Municipal Charges

In some municipalities, inflated service costs with poor service delivery can make renting and ownership unaffordable. For example, the City of Johannesburg charges a blanket sewer tariff of R600, which can be a significant percentage of total rental costs for lower-income tenants. Landlords and agents need to strategize how to handle these costs, as they can impact tenants’ ability to pay rent and landlords’ profit margins.


Final Thoughts

Renting out a garden cottage can be a lucrative venture, but it comes with its challenges. Homeowners must weigh the pros and cons carefully and consider the lifestyle changes it might bring. Consulting with a rental agent can provide valuable advice and guidance.


For landlords and agents, staying informed about market trends and understanding the local area are crucial. Regular maintenance, ongoing inspections, and a proactive approach to tenant relations are key to a successful rental experience.