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.
There’s a big difference between selling a property and putting it up for rent, and the major distinction can be seen in the way sellers and landlords treat their properties. While rental properties might seem like smaller investments in many ways, that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t get the same TLC that’s granted to properties for sale. Taking the time and making an effort to make your rental property stand out from the crowd will make it possible for you to find long-term tenants who will treat your investment right.
Would You Want to Live Here?
As a landlord, it’s difficult to invest hard-earned money in upgrading a property and going beyond basic maintenance necessities if you are worried that the tenants will undo your efforts through wear and tear. Yet rental properties that are properly maintained are much more likely to receive appropriate care from tenants. What’s more, a rental that looks and feels more livable and appealing with command higher rents and draw in long-term, stable tenants. Keep maintenance to a high standard and ask yourself “what would I want if I lived here?” when planning renovations and upgrades.
Pay Attention to Important Areas
Potential tenants care more about the layout, size, and feel of the kitchen and bathroom more than any other room. Providing a clean, clutter-free, and properly maintained kitchen and bathroom area will have potential tenants more interested in what you’re offering. Simple, budget-friendly upgrades like changing out hardware or adding a new backsplash can make all the difference in the world.
Show the Space in the Condition You Want it Kept
Ensuring your property is in good, attractive condition when showing it to potential tenants is extremely important for a couple reasons. First, it increases the likelihood that the tenant will want the place, and maximizes the amount they are willing to pay. And second, it makes it clear that you expect them to keep the property in similar condition. You don’t want to set the bar low and make it seem as though a dirty or damaged apartment is acceptable. So make sure the unit is clean, uncluttered and in a proper state of repair when performing showings.
It is crucial for property owners to perform routine property maintenance. Make sure you address the different problems and functional issues that arise before, during, and after a tenant’s stay to ensure the property is kept in great shape throughout its lifespan and the tenant remains comfortable and happy. Leaving small issues to compound and worsen will cause much bigger problems in the future, and might even cause your rental to become unworthy of a tenant.
A property management company can help your building stand out from the crowd and market the property for rent to attract desirable tenants. From managing maintenance and repair tasks, to creating unique advertisements and conducting viewings, Simplified Rentals handles it all.
Your luggage and itinerary aren’t the only things that need to be prepped before that summer getaway. Leaving your Toronto rental apartment unoccupied even just for a few days requires preparation and planning to ensure that everything is safe and secure while no one’s there to oversee things. Make sure your apartment is ready to soldier through those days without you as you go on your summer road trip by following these simple tips.
Mail and Newspaper
For longer vacations, it would be wise to keep your newspapers and mail from stacking up outside your house. Arrange for it to be held off for a while or ask a trustworthy neighbour to collect it for you.
If you expect to receive bills while you’re away, it would be wise to pay them off beforehand so you don’t come home to disconnected internet, cable, water, or electricity services. You can pay most bills electronically from all over the world now, but who wants to be thinking about the water bill while on a beach vacation?
The last thing you want is the sour stench of rotting food taking over your space. Finish up perishables or throw them away to keep your fridge and kitchen clean and safe while you’re away.
Don’t leave any trash that could potentially attract and house insects, rodents, and other pests while you’re gone. Get rid of all the garbage and recycle what needs to be recycled. You may also get a friendly neighbour to bring your compost, recycling, or garbage bins to the curb so your old refuse is gone when you return.
Dirty dishes left in the sink could become a breeding ground for harmful bacteria and germs. Wash your dishes before you go and store them in a dry place.
Unplug everything that can be unplugged and if you can, turn off electricity for a while to prevent any accidents. Not only will you avoid the risk of a power surge or short circuit, you’ll keep your hydro bill in check while you’re away.
Unoccupied apartments are a very tempting target for robbers and thieves. Set your lights on a timer to simulate the impression of a dweller.
Turn down your air conditioning and heater, unless you have pets that need them to be kept at their usual settings. A temperature around 78°F (25°C) is perfectly fine.
Give your plants enough water before you leave, and if you can, arrange for someone to water them for you during your vacation.
Lock all doors and windows that won’t be used by sitters and entrusted neighbours to ensure the safety of your belongings and valuables.
Before you go, tell a trustworthy neighbour that you’re going to leave for a few days and make sure you leave your contact details with them in case anything happens to your place.
From the entire Simplified Rentals team, we wish you a safe and happy summer!