Getting your first investment property and transitioning from being a tenant or an owner to a landlord is an exciting change! However, first-time landlords might find that getting the right tenant and navigating through the rental process can be much more complicated than it first seemed.
Here are some of the tops tips for new landlords to keep in mind when renting out their first property.
Screen Tenants Thoroughly
Screening tenants is probably the most important stage because making the right choice can set you up with a long-lasting and beneficial relationship. Making the wrong choice can lead to problems and unexpected costs. Errors in judgement do happen as human behavior can be challenging to predict — but taking the time to screen prospective tenants is worth its weight in gold!
Assessing whether or not your tenant is able to pay rent in time is a priority and there are legitimate ways to go about this. Asking questions about employment is a good start. Reference letters from previous landlords can also offer quite extensive insights. Finally, checking their credit history can provide a clear picture as to whether or not they can cover the rent.
In addition to financial inquiries, there are other questions landlords should ask to see if the tenant is the right match. These include:
- How long tenants have lived in their previous home
- If they pay their rent on time
- What their reasons are for moving out
- How many people they will be living with
- If the tenants smoke
- If they have pets
Another important inquiry to check is to see if the tenant has received their full security deposit at their previous residence and, if not, what sort of deductions they incurred. A quick online search can also be performed to see if they have had any issues or have left negative reviews because of being evicted, being charged for not cleaning, having outstanding rent, etc. when having moved out from their last residence.
Familiarize and Follow Appropriate Laws and Regulations
The terms of rents are regulated by rental agreements as well as applicable laws, such as the Residential Tenancies Act. These regulations define landlord rights and obligations as to:
- Making necessary repairs and maintenance
- Providing for uninterrupted supply of utilities
- Timely notices
- Rent increases
- Security deposit
Although many of these regulations are common, some of these may vary by province. For example, in Alberta, landlords can use the security deposit to cover the costs of damages or cleaning when tenants move out. This would not be allowed in Ontario.
A licensed property management company will be aware of the local regulations and be able to provide the right expertise and relationships with attorneys to ensure compliance.
Take Advantage of Extra Income Opportunities
As any rented property is an investment, landlords should maximize all of its opportunities. For example, separate storage spaces are great amenities for tenants with bikes/many belongings and should be charged extra. Other opportunities include shed, garage, or parking spaces.
Professional property managers will be knowledgeable of current market conditions and can assist you in maximizing your rental income potential.
Know What Resources Are Available to Landlords
Landlords can get more valuable information and advice when participating in landlord associations available in their province. These non-profit organizations were created with the purpose of educating landlords about their legal rights, providing them with the best strategies and showcasing any available opportunities.
Another option is to hire a professional property manager who will take care of most issues while providing valuable tips to new landlords. Having a real estate professional by your side when renting out for the first time can help you build confidence and experience.
Contact Us Today!
At Emerald Management & Realty Ltd., we have been assisting landlords and providing property management services for several decades. Our professional team works with apartment units, houses, condominium corporations and commercial property.
We are happy to provide you the full gamut of our inclusive services — such as more landlord tips, tenant screening, rental agreements and settling any issues which may arise during the lease. Don’t hesitate to contact us today — we will be happy to bring you the right tenants and peace of mind.