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Private eyes checking out renters 12/03/2009

By Paul Kirk

DEADBEAT tenants and fraudsters who move into posh homes, then refuse to pay rent while slowly wrecking the property they are squatting in have become so great a threat that home owners and bodies corporate in and around Durban have hired private detectives to check out potential tenants.

According to Michelle Deickens of the Tenants Profiling Network - a bureau that keeps records of deadbeat tenants - only 50% of tenants pay up properly when it comes to paying their rent. Most pay late, or only partial rents, while 12% don't pay at all.

Carol Lane-Van Staden of Lane & Associates, a Durban-based private detective agency that specializes in electronic debugging of offices and fighting corporate espionage told The Citizen that her company was increasingly checking out tenants on behalf of bodies corporate and home owners.

"When word spread that we were finding serious problems with potential tenants that had been cleared by estate agents the work snow-balled. People don't want to take risks in this economic climate."

Said Lane-Van Staden: "Once someone moves into a home it is very difficult and very expensive to evict them for non-payment."

"Another concern is that if tenants engage in criminal activity on a property then the state could seize the property."

"It pays to know just who you are dealing with, and only relying on estate agents to check people out is not a good idea," she said.

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