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I would do anything for passive income, but I won't do THAT!

Mzondi and Alice found the perfect buy to let, corner unit easy access to schools, shops and the highway. The sprawling garden dotted with magnificent trees ensured they were never without tenants.

Over the years, complacency kicks in and they become very casual about managing the unit, after all, it kind of managed itself.

Until Cristin comes along…her recent divorce made her a single Mom to 4 year old Juliette. Cristin begs Alice to let her move in despite her lack of credit record and young age.

“Just give me a chance!” she pleads.

Next thing you know, Cristin is signing rental contracts, paying deposits and moving in. All goes swimmingly well – for the first week.

4am on a Wednesday morning, Cristin sends a WhatsApp to Alice:

“Alice, the power is off and I have an important meeting starting at 7am. I demand that you switch it back on by then”

Hilarious right? If ANY of us had power over Eskom, we’d be billionaires!

Next up, a vicious storm sweeps through the suburb and destroys the car port, on 16 December.

“Alice, I demand that the carport be fixed immediately! My new car insurance DEMANDS that my car be kept under cover.”

.All fine and well, but have you tried to get anything done over December in South Africa lately?

The final straw was a bee infestation. Under the bath in Cristin’s unit. Obviously!

Charming beekeeper Grant comes along and removes the bees, but in doing so, inadvertently damages the outlet pipe to the bath. A few days later, Josie arrives home at 7pm to find maggots setting up camp on her bathroom floor. Ewwwww! Who knew bees and maggots are often found together?

“Alice, you better tell me what to do with these maggots right now. This is a dangerous health hazard and I demand you sort it out immediately.”

…Well, now is not an option but Fred, the local handyman, will be there at 8am to make it work.

“That’s simply not good enough Alice, I can’t tolerate this anymore! I will be leaving at the end of February!”

…May I remind you there is a signed lease that runs until end September?

My lawyer will discuss that with you!

…No need to get nasty, find someone to take over your lease and it’s all good. After all, YOU signed the lease.

A couple of days later, Alice finds a strongly worded legal letter in her inbox. Sigh…

The letter painfully reminds Alice that:

  • No entry inspection was done

  • No list of defects was signed off

  • No interest-bearing account was used to save the tenant’s deposit

If this were to go to court, Alice is likely to lose purely based on those technicalities. Judges frown upon landlords who do not stick closely to the rule of law when renting out property.

And just like that, Cristin wiggles out of not only the remainder of her lease agreement, but ALSO her rental deposit, plus interest of course.

…Cristin turned out to be a real life Cruella, Alice thinks woefully as she downs her red wine while reaching for the last malted puff chocolate.

Tough lesson to learn – and a good reminder that YOU, as an educated property investor, will do anything for passive income, but you won’t do THAT!






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