Property practitioner due diligence

You need to check credentials before appointing a rental property practitioner. This is why it matters.

When choosing a letting property practitioner to manage your rental property, it is essential that you check their credentials carefully to ensure your asset and funds will be properly managed.

In addition to working in the landlord’s interest to earn maximum returns from a property, property practitioners’ should also help to keep your property properly maintained and your investment safe.


The first question you should ask the prospective agent is whether he has a fidelity fund certificate (FFC) issued by the Property Practitioners Regulatory Authority (PPRA).

Most property buyers and sellers would consider asking their estate agent if they have an FFC. Still, many landlords forget to ask this important question when choosing a rental property practitioner. However, all property professionals are required to be in possession of a fidelity fund certificate to operate legally as an agent. In terms of Section 56 of the Property Professional Act (PPA), property practitioners are not entitled to remuneration or payment unless they possess a valid FFC while marketing or letting a property or carrying out other related tasks.

A fidelity certificate protects the landlord. In the event of negligence or fraud on the part of the rental property practitioner, you will have recourse to claim any damages from the fidelity fund.


There are two types of mandates for rental property practitioners – introduction and management mandates.

Many landlords appoint rental property practitioners’ on introduction contracts. Responsibilities include vetting prospective tenants, drafting a lease and overseeing the signing of the lease. The landlord then carries out the incoming inspection along with the tenants, collects the rental every month, manages the property and checks on the tenants from time to time.

With a management contract, the rental property practitioner also vets prospective tenants and arranges the lease. In addition, the rental property practitioner carries out the initial inspection, collects the rent every month, makes the relevant payments on behalf of the landlord, such as rates and water and arranges maintenance if needed. Property practitioners also conduct periodic inspections of the property and will be present at the outgoing inspection at the end of the lease period.

Before appointing a rental property practitioner, make sure to agree on the exact terms of the mandate contract so that there are no grey areas that could result in conflict at a later stage.


The tenants’ deposit can be held by the landlord or the rental property practitioner – provided it is kept in an interest-bearing account, and the balance can be easily tracked.

If you keep the deposit, you must resist the temptation to spend it, which will create a problem when the time comes to refund the deposit. Likewise, if the agent holds the deposit, you should make sure it is deposited into an appropriate account.

Section 54 of the PPA specifies that every property practitioner must open and keep one or more separate trust accounts. In addition, these accounts must be audited annually, along with the agents’ business accounts. However, the PPA and its regulations also make provision for property practitioners to be exempted from operating their own trust accounts. In particular, Section 23 offers the possibility of exemption from keeping a trust account under certain circumstances – for example, practitioners who use accredited payment processing agents.

Before entrusting a rental property practitioner with tenants’ deposits, find out whether the rental property practitioner will place the funds in a trust account or if he/she uses an accredited payment processing firm such as PayProp or TNP.


One more important expectation from a rental property practitioner is clear and regular communication.

The property practitioner should inform upfront how he/she will communicate with you and how your tenants should communicate with him/her.

Tenants sometimes report maintenance issues to the wrong person, which can cause delays in passing the message on to the relevant person.

The rental property practitioner should send you monthly statements of account. If he does not provide all the facts and figures as needed, you should be asking questions about the finances.

The guidelines listed are sufficient to ensure you find the right rental property practitioner.

Writer : Sarah-Jane Meyer

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