That time of year is coming up when you and everyone you know who owns revenue property is looking to rent out one of their apartments and damn is it ever frustrating to choose the wrong tenants! We are in somewhat of a favourable market for landlords as occupancy is relatively high on the island and surrounding areas and the pickings are slim for tenants on the hunt! This is great news right?…. not always. Don’t catch yourself renting out to the wrong type of tenant as that will make for the hardest twelve months of your life. The last thing you want to do with your time is chase late payments and deal with problematic tenants.
Here is a list of what you can do/ask for and why you should be doing so:
1. Credit and Criminal verifications – Quite obvious yes, but we sometimes end up meeting people who we may know through friends, or do not want to miss a month of rent, but skipping out on this imperative step can be the difference between making or breaking your next year! The best part, it is low cost and made available quite rapidly from certain companies (oligny thibodeau)
2. Ask for References – Yes, I just told you to do a credit check which is definitely the best option, but why not ask the potential tenant for a reference from two of their past landlords or a current employer? If you know your tenant is usually late for work 3x a month, it might give you a clear indication on how often he would be late on rent, am I right?
3. Ask them why they want to rent this unit – Yes, it may sound strange, and it may be obvious (I have nowhere else to live) but It is important to know why someone wants to live in this part of town, the difference can be everything! If they want to get closer to work, rather than because it’s down the street from their favourite Saturday night bar makes a huge difference. In asking the right questions, you will definitely get to know who your potential tenant is.
4. Ask Everyone to come prepared – In your advertisement, take the time to ask them to come with a credit bureau report, credit verification/criminal check and two references. See how many people show up with the information at hand.. Maybe you’d be surprised, but those who are very serious and really want your unit will make an extra effort to make sure they put their best foot forward.
At the end of the day, being a landlord comes with the obligation to learn how to read characters and know how to choose which battles you want to fight. The important part is to make sure you do not discriminate, and that you find a tenant that you feel comfortable with and that has a great background.
Best of luck to all my fellow landlords!