Managing risks of having tenants

Taking extra time to do the necessary background checks before renting out your property or cottage may seem like a time consuming exercise but could make all the difference to your home security.


A recent incident in Gallo manor where a rented cottage was being used for drug trafficking unbeknown to the owner, has once again highlighted the importance of thorough reference checking.

On the 24 November, a police officer stationed at Langlaagte Police station received a tip off from a police informant that a drug syndicate was operating from a property on Glenville Crescent. The police officer and informant went to the property in question and were able to witness the exchange in progress. Unfortunately the Police Officer was shot and wounded by one of the other suspects while attempting to handcuff one of the perpetrators. He was transported to hospital and is stable. One of the suspects was arrested but unfortunately the suspect who fired the shot, is still at large.

Aslam Munsur Community Development manager for Fidelity ADT offers the following advice:

  • The first step is to start with a criminal record check which can be obtained through the SAPS, with the potential tenant.


  • Ask for references and do a comprehensive reference check with previous Landlords. Their answers will give you a good idea of the person’s track record. Alternatively, work through a professional rental agency that will do these checks for you.
  • Any good agency will ensure the candidates have been thoroughly screened, evaluated and assessed and their backgrounds checked.


  • Once you have made your decision you need to ensure that anyone living on your property understands your security protocols. They must know how to activate the alarm and to call for help in case of an emergency. Explain to them how they need to deal with an alarm activation, what to do when the security company calls and when an officer responds and ensure their details are communicated to your security company as an additional contact.


  • If you suspect a tenant of dubious activities, report this to the authorities as soon as possible. Do not attempt to manage this yourself as these syndicates can be dangerous.