As a landlord you are surely looking for every possible way to protect your investment property, even if it is just from damage by your tenant.This is where a deposit comes in handy.
Most landlords require a minimum of 1 months rent as deposit, but alot of people are now charging 1.5 or even 2 months rent as deposit.This is up to you and can come in handy if the tenant leaves suddenly without notice, having some cash to cover a month or two of not having a tenant is really good.
What is not good is to allow your new tenant to pay the deposit off over a period of time. Everyone knows that they will have to pay at least 2 months rent before they move in. The reason paying off a deposit is a bad idea is that it could indicate that the prospective tenant may eventually have trouble paying the rent, which is always bad for you as a landlord. This is no time to be soft, you need to protect your investment especially these days when it is so hard to evict an an unreliable tenant. Be sure you have a tenant that can pay.
What you also should do is keep your deposit up to date just as you would the rent. If you have a tenant that has been living there for five years who now pays rent of R5000 per month the deposit they paid may only be R2500, because they paid the deposit when the rent was only R2500. As we all know in there is a huge difference between what paint costs now and what it cost five years ago.
When you increase the rent annually and you intend updating your deposit to such a great an extent be courteous and give your tenant fair warning. What is most advisable is to update it in small increments annually so that neither you nor the tenant get a great big shock some years down the line.
Compare the initial deposit the tenant paid to the amount of rent they are paying now and it may be an eyeopener. Always ask for a deposit and make sure it is up to date.