Do you have what it takes to be a landlord? Although everyone has heard about the horror stories of tenants who wouldn't pay or left the place a mess, the truth is, most renters are actually great people just looking for a nice location to settle in. They will be happy to pay their bills on time and treat your rental unit as if it were their own home. As an investment property owner, establishing a good relationship with them is the most effective means to keep your renters long term and avoid vacancies.
Maintain your property to the same standard you would look for if you were a renter. The general rule of thumb is, nice properties attract nice tenants. People who hold themselves to a high standard expect their living situation to follow suit. If you are getting a home or condo ready for the rental market, ask yourself, "Would I live here?" You can't expect anybody to take pride in your place if it's apparent that you don't do so yourself.
Recognize that your investment property is someone's home. Although a property may just be a part of your portfolio, to your renter, it is their own personal space. Respecting people's privacy is essential. If you need to enter the premise, try to accommodate the occupant's schedule as much as possible. Treat your tenants with respect, and they are likely to reciprocate.
Respond promptly to your tenant's communication. Owning a rental property is not always a walk in the park. Sometimes, appliances break or furnaces shut down. In such instances, and your tenant contacts you, be sure to acknowledge the concerns immediately. You may not have a solution right off the bat, but give an assurance that you are aware of the problem and you are actively working on a fix.
Know the laws. Ontario's Landlord and Tenant Board has very specific laws that apply to both parties. Between their website and help line, it doesn't take long to figure out the proper way to handle a conflict or any other situation involving your lease or tenants. Should the problem escalate into a bigger issue, the Board will want to see that you followed the proper procedures.
Owning a rental property is an excellent way to build equity, but not without challenges. Remember, establish a great relationship with your tenants. This will be the best approach if you want to set yourself up for a profitable and successful experience.