Jun 12 17

Finding The “Long Term” Tenant

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Obtaining a long-term tenant is landlords’ dream – especially if you find that perfect tenant who is quiet, clean, pays rent on time, and respects your property as if it were their own. So how do you make that dream a reality? Read on as we provide tips that can help you find and retain a great long-term tenant.

Ask for References

Ask for previous landlord references and follow up. The previous landlords will be able to tell you if the tenant had paid their rent on time, taken care of the property, and respected their neighbours – all important pieces of information. If you are speaking to the tenant’s current landlord, look out for red flags that indicate that they may just be giving a glowing reference in order to help get the problem tenant out of their property. To solve this, try to speak with a previous landlord as well.

Talk to Friends

Your peers won’t steer you wrong when it comes to recommending tenants. Ask around in your friend groups for prospective renters they know and trust. Also ask for recommendations of people they may have rented to in the past and who they can vouch for.

Perform a Credit Check

A credit check is crucial to ensure the applicants have a good credit rating, which indicates they have the means and responsibility to fulfil their financial obligations. Just make sure that you follow your local laws when it comes to asking for personal information.

Keep the Property Maintained

Once you have a quality tenant, you’ll want to find ways to retain them for years to come. One way to keep tenants happy is to ensure your place is well maintained. No one likes to live in a run down and unkempt place. Do routine check-ups and address any maintenance items as quickly as possible.

Respect Boundaries

Showing up uninvited without the required 24-hours notice or complaining to your tenant about small unimportant issues will have them running for the hills. Show your tenant the same amount of respect as you would also like to receive. And if you accidentally cross the line, make sure to apologize and make well by continuing to respect their space.

Build a Relationship

Give your tenants plenty of space, but also try to build a rapport with them. It’s possible to engage in small acts of kindness without overdoing it or coming on too strong. Personal touches like sending holiday cards, or greeting them when you cross paths can help your tenant feel more welcome and comfortable.

Finding a long-term tenant can be challenging but not as difficult as you think. Once you find that perfect tenant you can easily keep them content by having a welcoming and safe environment for them to live in. Looking for more tips on finding, and keeping, the right tenant? Contact Simplified Rentals today! Our Toronto property management team is here to help with everything you need.

Mar 13 17

How a Property Management Team Can Help a Landlord

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Being a landlord comes with many responsibilities and challenges that are often overlooked. You need to look after tenants’ needs, arrange work orders, collect and process rent, and also deal with arrears and complaints, to name a few. These tasks can really use up a lot of time and energy. And taking care of everything while balancing your personal life can become extremely overwhelming. That’s where a property management team can really help.

Let’s look at some of the tasks and functions a property management company can help tackle for a landlord.

On-Site Assistance

Not all landlords stay on-site at the property they take care of. Some will need to travel between several properties, while others may be situated in an entirely different city or country. A property management team can help take care of the hard to manage day-to-day tasks and functions, while reporting directly into the landlord as required. This can free up travel time for the landlord as well as ensure all issues are addressed quickly and effectively, which is otherwise hard to do from afar.

Full-Service Maintenance

You can count on a property management team to easily take care of all the work orders and maintenance that the property requires. Property managers will have deep knowledge and experience working in the industry and your market, and will have a list of preferred vendors and a sizeable network to contact – something most landlords will not have at their disposal.

Hands-On Management

As a landlord, you may only be interested in growing your business, investing in new properties, and focusing on the business structure as opposed to the hands-on management of the property.  Hiring a management team can help you do what it is you do best – focus on growing your business while they take care of the rent collection, capital expenditures, leasing, and other intensive management duties.

Hiring a property management team to help can be the right decision for a landlord that needs dedicated and hands-on expertise. Whether you are an off-site landlord, portfolio manager, or are just looking for some more free time, you can get all the peace of mind you need by sourcing a professional company to help.

Simplified Rentals specializes in property management services for rental properties and condominium corporations. Get in touch to learn more and discover if our services are the right fit.

Jan 16 17

How to Get the Best Tenant – and Keep Them!

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How to get the best tenant.

When you become a landlord, it doesn’t take long to realize how a great tenant can really help make your life and job much easier. Having a good tenant means less work, less time, and less aggravation for you. But the problem is finding those tenants and holding on to them. If you’re perplexed about where to find the good ones and how to keep them, here are some tips on the best practices that can help you during your search.

Target the Tenant You Want

If you want a quiet, professional tenant with a stable income, your best bet is to go right for the source. For instance if your apartment is located near the Discovery District, use those sorts of keywords in your ad: “Conveniently located near Toronto General Hospital, perfect for residents, nurses, and hospital support staff.” Likewise if you have an apartment, condo, or rental home near a campus that would be perfect for visiting professors or graduate students, use this terminology in your listing.

Make Sure Your Apartment Looks Great

Before advertising and showing off your apartment, make sure that it is in great shape. Any repairs or painting that needs touch ups are important to finish. If you have photos of a rough, unattractive looking space, chances are that you’re not going to attract the best kind of tenants, or alternatively, you could attract no one at all. Make sure it’s clean, that everything is fresh and fixed, and that the photos are bright and taken from angles that capture the space in its best light.

Screen Potential Tenants

This is a normal practice that just about every landlord does to ensure that their prospective tenant can afford to pay rent and has a history as a pleasant, stable tenant. Run a credit check, request income verification, and call references. One question that will tell you everything you need to know from a past landlord: “Would you rent to this tenant again?”

Be Open Minded

It’s natural for many of us to conjure up images of what the ideal tenant will look like. But of course, that isn’t always how they turn out. Do not judge people solely by appearance or occupation. All that matters is that your tenant is clean, pays their rent on time and is respectful of your property and other tenants.

Be a Good Landlord

Once you have found that dream tenant, it’s important to do your part as a landlord if you want them to stay long-term. That means keeping on top of any problems and repairs and being responsive to tenant inquiries.

Use these best practices when searching for your next tenant. With the proper steps you can find and keep that perfect tenant, which can make your job a whole lot easier. A property management company can help with all steps of the process, from interviewing tenants and performing routine maintenance to upgrading the property to increase rental value.

Jan 9 17

How to Be a Successful First-Time Landlord

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How to Be a Successful First-Time Landlord

If you’re considering renting out a portion of your property or purchasing a home as an investment property, it’s important to realize just how much responsibility is involved in becoming a landlord. It can be a great way to bring in some extra income, but it can also become a stressful endeavour to take on without any prior knowledge on what exactly to expect.

Before you take on that role, consider these factors first so you can avoid common mistakes and reap the benefits instead.

Learn About the Legal Factors

There can be many laws, regulations, and Bylaws that dictate your rights and responsibilities as a landlord. This is the most crucial point in succeeding with this type of venture. You need to learn what the legal implications and Bylaws are for your particular set-up. Factors of particular concern should highlight the length of tenancy, security deposits, pets, damages and the rights that both you and the tenant are entitled to. These rules are ever-changing, so you need to stay up to date. Late last year, Toronto City Council approved a new set of rules to protect tenants in apartment buildings from bad landlords. These rules will come into effect in the summer of 2017.

Be Particular and Thorough When Screening Potential Tenants

Choosing the right tenant can make all the difference. Of course, knowing which one is the best choice can be difficult to decide at face value. Don’t take the screening process lightly – especially if the space you are renting out happens to be a part of your own home. Be thorough with checking references, income, and credit history.

Treat this as a Business

Far too many landlords treat this role as merely a hobby that provides some extra income. Whether it’s an additional means of income, or something you solely depend on, you must learn to treat this operation as a business. Being a landlord is not as simple as cashing a rental cheque each month. In order to be successful, it is imperative to maintain your property according to legal standards, respond promptly to any complaints, and thoroughly understand your level of responsibility that’s required. Preventative maintenance and proactive management will always save you time, money, and stress over last minute fixes and Christmas Day calls to unclog a toilet.

Hire Property Management to Assist

Sometimes, we love the idea of taking on a new venture solo. But when the reality sinks in, we realize that it’s not always as great as we envisioned. That’s where a property management company can help. They can take care of everything, including advertising, maintenance, and even evictions. If you love the idea of being a landlord but don’t want to deal with the day-to-day operation, a property management company can take over the duties and responsibility for you.

With the proper knowledge, preparation, and mindset for taking on the responsibilities as a landlord, it can be a great way to bring in some extra income. However, if those duties and responsibilities become overbearing, understand that you can hire a property manager to take on that extra work so you can reap the rewards with none of the stress.

Dec 12 16

5 Tips for a Rental Ad That Gets the Right Tenant

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5 tips for a rental ad that gets the right tenants.

Finding that perfect tenant can sometimes feel like finding a diamond in the rough. We all know someone with a horror story or two of a rental situation gone wrong. So needless to say, we’d rather avoid any situation that might resemble any those. Reducing that risk all comes down to a few important factors when placing up your rental ad, as well as during the screening process.

Use these five tips when creating your rental ad to help you steer clear of any nightmare potentials and land you that perfect tenant.

Use Good Quality Photos

When advertising your apartment, having good quality photos will influence the first impressions about your rental space. If the photos are poor quality and not very good, they can automatically deter potential tenants from applying. When you use good photos you can attract more interest, while setting a respectable and professional impression.

Be Accurate and Up Front

Being a good landlord means being professional, courteous, and also up front about any issues. When it comes to screening, it’s always best to be honest with potential tenants. If there isn’t parking, say so. If the nearest subway stop is 10 km away, don’t say it’s near transit. By being honest right from the get-go with your potential tenants, you won’t waste your time (or theirs) showing the apartment to people who aren’t a good fit. There is someone out there who bikes to work or works from home so transit is not an issue. Appeal to that person, don’t fudge the truth to appeal to someone else.

If these issues are fixable, take care of them before putting up the listing to attract the right tenant and maximize the rental value of the unit.  

Use Professional Language

Always use a professional tone and language when creating the write-up for your advertisement. Avoid using any slang, or delving into any unnecessary details about your life, home, or situation. Anything that’s doesn’t involve direct details about the rental property – leave it out of the ad. In addition to using quality photos, using professional language will increase your chances of attracting professional and respectable tenants.

Many apartment hunters search by keywords, so if your apartment is buzzworthy, use the right vocabulary. Spotlight the great features of your rental, like washer/dryer in unit, spacious, 5-minute walk to U of T, updated kitchen, parking included, den etc.

Be Very Clear About Your Expectations

When you create your ad, be very clear about what you expect from a tenant. Whether it’s no smoking, no pets, or if you’re only looking for a single occupant, whatever it is, be clear about your requirements and expectations. Once again, don’t waste your time or theirs, and you’ll find the right tenant.

Treat it as a Business

Treat this as you would a business and always remember to maintain a professional attitude towards this role. If you treat your tenants with a level of professionalism and respect, the chances are much greater that they will treat your property with the same level of respect as well.

Need a little help searching for the right tenant? Just give Simplified Rentals a call. As a leading property management company in Toronto, we take care of everything so you can focus on the short- and long-term return of your real estate investment, not the day-to-day stresses.

Dec 5 16

4 Tips for Your First Apartment

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4 Tips for your first appartment

When you’ve moved on to your third or fourth apartment, there are inevitable lessons that you’ve learned along the way – many of which you wish you could have known right from the start. And thanks to the Information Age, we can share some of that insight for others so they can prep themselves in ways we often never could.

So before you make that first big move into your new apartment, here are four tips to keep in mind.

Be Utility-Conscious

Living at home, it’s easy to leave the lights on for hours, leave the TV turned on, or keep the water running extra long for a nice hot shower. When you live on your own and keep up the same habits, you might get a big shock when the utility bills come in. You don’t have to change your lifestyle completely, but be conscious about small energy saving and water conservation efforts that you can make. Turn the lights off when you leave the room, don’t let water run while brushing your teeth, and set the A/C or heater to run less during the day when you’re not home.

Expect Noise

Unfortunately, you can’t choose who your neighbours will be. And in many cases, when moving into your very first apartment complex, you should expect to experience noise. If it gets to a point where it’s impeding on your life, politely approach them and have a conversation to ask them to lower the level. If all else fails, utilize the magic of white noise to help absorb some of that sound so you can at least get a good night’s sleep.

Try and Talk to Previous Tenants

This isn’t always possible, but if you have an opportunity to speak with any previous tenants, it can be a huge help for knowing what to expect. When you first move in, it can take a while to really understand and experience any little (or big) kinks that the apartment may have. So whether it’s getting an insider tip about how to open that closet door that gets jammed, or learning about the best neighbourhood pizza place, having a conversation with previous tenants can prepare you for potential situations that may arise.

Get to Know the Neighbourhood

To avoid simply falling into a routine that involves you going from your apartment, straight to work and then back, take the time and effort to embrace your new neighbourhood and explore what it has to offer. One of the best parts about moving into your own apartment for the first time is being able to embrace that new feeling of discovering what’s around you.

Moving into your first apartment can be one of the most exhilarating moments where you get to embrace life independently for the first time. So make sure it remains a positive experience by following these four tips first.

Nov 9 16

Starting Out as a Landlord

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When you’ve bought your first investment property, there are some important factors to know before jumping into the rental game. It’s not just a matter of sticking up a For Rent sign and handing over the keys to a seemingly decent tenant. Finding tenants, managing rent collection, and handling maintenance can easily become a daunting experience. Armed with the right information, however, being a landlord is a great way to make extra income and provide a more secure future for your family. Before you jump head first into being a landlord, here’s what to know beforehand.

Learn About Tenancy Legislation

Learning about your province’s tenancy legislation regarding the requirements and expectations between both landlord and tenant is imperative. This will outline specific rules and regulations, such as security deposits, breaches of lease, owning pets, and grounds for eviction. This is crucial to understand before renting out a property so that you know your rights and responsibilities as a landlord.

Know Privacy Laws

As a landlord, you will have access to confidential information about your tenants, including their social security numbers, credit reports, salary, employment history, and more. You must stay up-to-date on new privacy legislation in Canada to ensure you securely collect and store information about tenants and applicants and do not disclose any personal information without express authorization.

Know Relevant Bylaws

You must ensure that you are complying with provincial and federal bylaws. The status of your property for example, must follow the acceptable stipulations, such as fire codes, zoning and permits. If you plan to add an income suite in your basement, for example, it is not as simple as installing a kitchen and putting up a “for rent” sign. There must be sufficient natural light ratios, noise attenuation, safe egress, a separate entrance, fireproofing, and much more.

Know the Current Market Price

Of course, before placing your rental on the market, it’s important to know what the current price is on the market for other comparable properties based on location, square footage, and features (number of bedrooms/bathrooms etc.). In order to get some bites on your rental, learn what the going rates are to stay on par. You want to maximize rental rates without having the unit linger on the market.

Maintain Records and Inspections of Property

Once you become a landlord, that rental is officially your own business. So it’s important to treat it as one and always keep records of the transactions made between tenants and yourself. In additional, always perform inspections of the apartment before renting, and have tenants sign that inspection form.

Becoming a landlord is a great venture that can provide you with extra income. But it’s a title that comes with a lot of responsibilities as well. So before jumping in, understand exactly what the rights and responsibilities of that title entails.

You don’t have to do it alone. A Toronto property management company can help you with the nitty gritty of being a landlord while you sit back and reap the rewards. It’s property management, simplified.

Oct 17 16

5 Tips to Succeed as a Landlord

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 For many people, the idea of renting out an apartment to tenants is a simple way to gain more income to fund retirement, education, or vacations. That said, being a hands-on landlord is not easy work. From the process of finding good tenants to maintaining the property, collecting rent, handling complaints, and ensuring that everything runs as smoothly and pain-free as possible, it’s almost a full-time job. If you’re thinking of becoming a landlord, or are new to the role, here are five tips to help you succeed:

Tip #1: Treat your Property as a Business

If you want your rental property to provide you with stable income, you must first treat it like an actual business. It may be your basement or a separate property, but once you place it up for rent, it becomes a business – your business.

And like any business, you wouldn’t just jump head first into it without having at least a solid foundation of knowledge on what’s required for both landlord and tenant. So before diving in, get to know the laws, requirements, rights and responsibilities for both parties. Read the Residential Tenancies Act, make sure your rental unit is legal, inform your insurance company that you have a rental unit, and so on. The more you know ahead of time, the more successful your business will be.

Tip #2: Screen Tenants Thoroughly

It can be a challenging feat to find great tenants that can be relied on to pay rent and are mature enough not to cause undue wear and tear on your property. In order to avoid dealing with those headaches and situations, it’s imperative to screen each potential tenant as thoroughly as possible. All prospective tenants should fill out rental application, which you can create yourself or find online. Follow up with previous landlords and ask the right questions, like “would you rent to this tenant again?” Verify employment, ask for income statements, and run a credit check. If you are concerned about smoking or pets, do your due diligence before signing a lease.

It can takes months, or even years to recover from one bad tenant, so it is absolutely imperative to employ a proper screening process.

Tip #3: Be Respectful of your Tenants

Just as you wish your property (and yourself) to be treated with respect, always ensure to treat your tenants with the same decency. That means handling any situations in regard to them or the property, such as broken appliances or a leaky faucet, promptly and professionally. It is your responsibility to establish your reputation as an honest, reliable landlord.

Tip #4: Don’t be Too Nice

Being respectful and kind is important, but so too is the need to draw a line when it comes to discrepancies and knowing when you need to put your foot down.

This falls back to the point of treating your property like a business. When you keep that mentality, you will be better equipped dealing with any situations that require a firm response.

Tip #5: Get Help

Being a landlord can be challenging, exhausting, and even overwhelming at times, depending on the situation and the scale of your rental property. Between the maintenance and repairs alone, sometimes you simply cannot do it all. That’s where a Toronto property management company can help. We step in to help you reap the benefits of being a landlord, without all the hassle that often goes along with it.

If you’re considering becoming a landlord but feel unsure about the work that’s involved, know that you can always ask for help and have a property management team handle all the work for you.

Sep 26 16

Millennials & The Toronto Rental Market

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A millenial woman stands on a train platform in Toronto

In life, nothing stays the same. That couldn’t be more accurate when it comes to millennials and the state of the Toronto rental market. Now more than ever, market analysts are scratching their heads over what to anticipate or expect from this demographic that is edging more into the prime years of moving out and into their own place that they can call home. But as stats and sales have shown, more and more millennials are clearly interesting in forgoing the big lot and backyard for the convenience and location of condos and purpose-built rental apartments.

For those trying to comprehend the trends that are catching the eyes of millennials, here’s what to know:

Lifestyle over Property

As millennials enter the workforce, the importance of location and lifestyle appear to clearly take precedence over property. The condo and rental boom shows that being in close proximity to work, along with having quick and easy access to transit, are top priorities for this generation in their 20s and 30s.

Quality over Quantity

Young buyers entering the market are also keen on the concept of quality over quantity. That means they’re seeking amenities, communities, and even urban villages that they can feel connected to. Being a part of an active, urban community and having the ability to walk to parks, shops, pubs, and restaurants are all important factors that are influencing the current waves in the market. When it comes down to comparisons, the quality of lifestyle clearly takes precedence over the quantity of property (ie: square footage).

Affordability

With the Toronto housing market placed well beyond the realistic reach of most young buyers, and with the realistic alternative for owning a house necessitating a long commute, it’s really no surprise why the rental market is thriving. For many millennials, the affordability factor has as much of an impact on their decision as the convenience factor. With the unpredictability of the workforce these days, combined with the soaring housing market prices, many millennials simply cannot afford the down payment for a home, let alone a hefty mortgage.

Times are changing, and that is clear to see when it comes to the trends of the Toronto rental market. As millennials reach the age of independent living, they are favouring the quality lifestyle, convenience, and affordability factors that condos and rentals can provide. And with the state of the housing market, many experts believe this trend will continue for the foreseeable future. In light of this fact, condo development and purpose-built rental apartment development will continue to thrive.

Aug 29 16

3 Important Exterior Maintenance Tasks for Landlords

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A well-groomed front door of a house

As more baby boomers trade in the maintenance of their house for an all-in-one easy packaged apartment, and as more young professionals fall out of the affordable reach for buying property, rentals and apartments are becoming more favourable than ever. But with that popularity also comes more potential competition. If you’re a landlord, an increase of competition means you’ve got to keep your rental property in tiptop shape. Sure, there are the run-of-the-mill obvious things, like making sure everything works properly, but sometimes you’ve got to look with a fresh set of eyes at the finer details. After all, it’s often these details that can make or break how easily you can get tenants at your desired rental rate.

Here are three exterior maintenance tasks that are important if you want to beat out that competition and get the tenants rolling in.

The Landscape

The first impressions of your property are crucial. And that’s why you need to start at the front of your property before even stepping inside. Your landscape – whether it’s a simple lawn, paved interlock, or garden – is what prospective tenants see first, and therefore, judge first. So depending on the state of it, they’ve already developed either a positive or negative impression before entering the apartment.

So no matter what you have in the front of your home, keep it clean, trimmed, pruned, weeded and shovelled. If it’s a concrete slab, try adding some potted flowers near your entranceway and stairs to give a touch of aesthetic appeal.

The Exterior

For the exterior of your property, porch and front door – if you have peeling paint, or dirt and grim lingering on them, get yourself a good power hose or a few cans of paint. Giving the exterior of your property a thorough wash, or even a few coats of fresh paint to your porch and front door can work absolute wonders for revamping the exterior of your property.

Hide Garbage Bins

If there’s one thing you can do to remove an almost guaranteed negative first impression, it’s removing any garbage bins that are located in the front of your property. Sure, they may be oversized and awkward to really fit anywhere else, but try to keep them to the side and out of view, at least during showings. You may even consider constructing an inexpensive enclosure so that you can keep them hidden. Garbage bins are never an item you want to have laying around for any prospective tenants to get a waft of.

Competition can be fierce for many landlords looking to keep their properties occupied. First impressions are vital for tenants, so follow these tips to get the exterior of your property in tiptop shape to ensure that the first impression is a great one.

If you prefer the hands-off approach, Simplified Rentals can handle it all. As a leading Toronto property management company, we take care of maintenance and other essential tasks to help attract desirable tenants.