Being a landlord is highly rewarding. Not only can you benefit financially, you’ll build the confidence that comes with being a business owner. Getting to know the ins and outs of maintaining a property comes with its fair share of challenges. The good news is, we’ve got a few tips to make sure you’re ready for whatever comes your way.
1 How to tackle late rent payments.
- Follow up promptly. Speak to your tenant in a calm and professional manner. Agree on a date they’ll get the payment to you. Send an email about the discussion, so it’s documented.
- Avoid cash payments. Cash means you have no paper trail to track the transaction. Tenants could leave less money than required, then dispute the amount.
- Collect rent in a single payment. If multiple tenants share your property, save yourself the hassle of numerous payments and points of contact. Require tenants to provide you with one monthly payment.
2 How to minimise high turnover rates.
- Be proactive, not reactive. Eliminate problems before they appear. Be approachable – tenants will feel more comfortable to tell you about things such as simple maintenance fixes.
- Rent is set fairly. High rent means you’ll make more money, but it’s hardly worth it if your rental stays vacant. Good tenants research the market costs, so stay competitive.
- Prioritize maintenance. When doing a repair, ask if there are any other repairs that could be dealt with at the same time. A tenant might see a clogged gutter as something too minor to call about, but dealing with it before it becomes an issue can save you a lot of money and grief later on.
3 How to research your responsibilities:
- Learn about your rights – and your tenants. The Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation website has guidelines for tenancy laws in each province. You could also join a landlord association to learn from experienced landlords.
- Be aware of hazards. Make sure your tenant isn’t exposed to a safety or maintenance risk that’s in your control to prevent. If your tenant is harmed due to negligence, you could find yourself in court facing a hefty lawsuit.
4 How to respond to maintenance requests (including emergencies).
- Educate your tenant. Let them know what they should maintain and when to call you. For example, tenants could replace their lightbulbs, but must report it if electrical, heating and gas appliances need repair.
- Recognize an emergency. If an issue involves gas, electricity or water, people can get hurt. Prioritize calls where there’s a chance of danger.
- Have a contingency plan. If you live far away, or midnight maintenance isn’t your thing, make sure you have a list of trusted vendors who can help you out in sticky situations.
5 How to insure your investment.
- Get landlord insurance. It’s super important to purchase landlord insurance, as home insurance is only sufficient if you’re also living in the home. Landlord insurance will cover damage to your property, along with your liability (for example, if you’re liable for your tenant’s injuries on the property).
- Understand how you’re covered. Read up on your insurance policy to know exactly what you’re covered for. Depending on your insurer, you may also be covered for loss of rental income. This means if your place isn’t able to be live in after an insured loss, you won’t be out of pocket for lost rent.
- Require tenant insurance. It’s a win-win. Your tenant’s belongings are protected and so are you. If they’re responsible for damage to your place, your tenant would be financially covered should you need to file a claim against them.