Finding a good and reliable tenant for your rental or investment property in the Greater Toronto Area isn’t always easy. It can be a time-consuming task, but there are several things you can do to help you find the perfect tenant. The most important thing to start with is making yourself familiar with the local laws regarding rentals, especially with rules concerning making a decision based on gender, race, religion, family status and disabilities. It won’t surprise anyone to read that some tenants simply fail to pay the rent and others may damage your property. There’s no guarantee you’re going to find a solid tenant but it’s well worth taking the time and effort to try and find one.
Meet in person
It’s not a good idea to attempt to rent your property out over the phone or via the internet. Make it mandatory to meet the prospective renters in person and go through the home and property with them. Ask them to bring any references they may have such as their employer and previous landlords if they’ve rented before and follow up by contacting these people. Prepare a list of questions you’d like to ask, such as confirming with past landlords if the applicants paid their rent on time and if they took good care of the property. Verify their income with a pay stub from their place of employment. A good measure for landlords is for their tenant’s income to equal three times the amount of rent.
Perform background checks
If possible, perform a background, previous eviction, credit and criminal check on the applicants and don’t be afraid to speak with their former neighbours. The last thing you want to do is involve yourself with all the bureaucracy and red tape of trying to evict somebody down the road due to failure to pay rent or for causing property damage. Renting a home is a business decision so try not to get involved with the tenants personally.
Ask for assistance finding tenants
If you don’t feel comfortable renting their property to tenants they don’t know, then ask friends, family members and colleagues if they know of anybody who’s looking to rent a home. You may end up with several excellent tenant references this way.
List your rental expectations
When renting your home, list all of your expectations in a rental or lease document and have the tenants sign it. The list could include items such as no smoking, no pets, a minimum rental term, insurance requirements, late fees, damage deposit, and total number of occupants. Keep your emotions out of this process and make the criteria the same for every potential tenant.
Being a landlord and renting a home means you’ll need to build a relationship with your tenant that’s based on mutual respect. While you expect the rent to be paid on time and the property to be taken care of you also have obligations. These include keeping the home in good working order with regular repairs and maintenance etc.
The screening process for potential tenants needs to be quite thorough but there’s really no fool-proof method. When it comes to potential bad tenants though, you may want to be wary of applicants who have a history of frequently changing jobs and/or addresses. A lot of decisions are made on instinct and while some tenants appear to be an excellent choice on paper, you need to do your due diligence to check their rental and income history. Doing the work before a tenant signs a lease can means the difference between a tenant who is a lot of work and a tenant who you want to keep for years to come.