Guest writer Tyler Walbourne, REC Canada’s Head of Concierge Services
Getting the right tenant can be an intimidating process, but if you come at it with a game plan it will generate so much more ease. Knowing the areas of focus will save you a significant amount of time and stress. The goal is to find someone you’re comfortable with that will ideally treat your place as you would.
Deciding Rental Value
Rental values differ with the location and the style of home you are offering. The start of your tenant search begins with understanding what the value of your home is. Look at previously leased ads that are similar to what your property offers, this should include: the number of bedrooms, kitchen appliances, parking spaces, and size of the backyard.
Once you find a few comparable units, that will give you a range of what you should be listing the property for.
If you’re unsure on the price, contact a real estate agent for that particular area, you can find someone that would be more than happy to assist you.
Now that we have a price range we then start creating the advertisement.
The rental listing should be marketed to as many relevant websites as possible. We recommend using at Facebook Marketplace, Kijiji, and Viewit.ca. Ensure that you include your email address on the ad.
The wording for the advertisement should be short and concise. Let the prospective tenants know what’s included in the home. Make sure to include features that will attract the average applicant.
An effective example:
This Stunning Newly Renovated Apartment Offers Downtown Living At Its Best. Little Italy Is One Of Toronto’s Most Sought After Areas. This One Bedroom 2 Bathroom All Brand New Appliances, An Ensuite Washroom And A Large Walk Out Deck With Installed Gas Line Perfect For Those Warm Summer Afternoons. TTC Is Located 1 Minute Walk Down The Street, With College Street Offering Some Of The Best Restaurants, Pubs And Nightlife.
What is included: Built-In Dishwasher, Fridge, Stove, Washer And Dryer, Gas Line On Patio For BBQ Set Up. Parking Included
Include a credit report, employment letter, and proof of payment to all rental applications.
Photos of a clean, presentable home are a necessity. This is what initially catches the eye of potential buyers. If your listing has no pictures, you can typically expect fewer appointments will be booked. Make sure to take the images during the day and open up all curtains to allow sunlight to enter the house.
Include photos of the front of the house, kitchen (with all appliances visible), all bedrooms, bathroom, and backyard space.
Showing The Home To Prospective Tenants
Now that your ad is up and running, the next step is showing the home to tenants.
Before you let anyone into the home, make sure all lights are on and all bedroom doors are open. Do not have any valuables or mess lying around. When you first meet the applicants, shake their hands and invite them into the unit. Try to make them as comfortable and relaxed as possible.
Do not guide them through the house. Instead, have them walk around on their own and stay close to the living/kitchen area. Let them approach you. Answer any questions they have and hand them a rental application on their way out.
Follow up with the showing after 24 hours to get their feedback on the home.
Do Your Due Diligence
The next step is to have the rental application and all essential documents completed. These documents are credit reports, proof of employment, and proof of income. Now we screen the prospective tenant. This should be executed with care and full concentration.
You must look at their employment income. Does it cover rent, groceries, living expenses? If the answer is no, then this home is not the right fit for them.
If the answer is yes, it is time to call their references. Previous landlords, employers and miscellaneous contacts provided on the rental application. You want to make sure they have stable employment and their character aligns with what you are looking for in a tenant.
Example questions include:
How long have they been employed with the company?
Do you see any change in their income and location in the near future?
Have they ever missed a rent payment?
Would you rent to this prospective tenant again?
One last recommendation is to Google the prospective tenant’s name to see if anything negative could dissuade you from allowing them to live in your property.
Drawing Up The Lease
We now have a qualified tenant who would like to rent your home. The Province of Ontario has a mandatory lease agreement that must be completed for every new applicant.
Make sure to complete all highlighted fields. It answers questions regarding damages, who to contact when an issue arises, how the rental installments can be paid and everything else to keep you comfortable.
You may want to include a schedule B to the lease if special circumstances arise; like if the tenant is paying a portion of the monthly hydro/gas bills.
The prospective tenants are now moving into the home. Make sure to stop by and say hello on the day. Consider dropping off a bottle of wine congratulating them on the unit. Remember, the tenant is helping you pay off one of the biggest investments you will ever make. Treat them with respect and kindness.