How and Where to Look for Tenants
There are two ways to look for tenants: on your own, or with the help of a real estate agent.
On Your Own
Many Landlords have successfully found tenants on Craigslist and Kijiji, though be prepared for a random selection of prospective tenants. If an 'overseas tenant' offers to take your apartment without seeing it, be cautious - there are many sophisticated scams operating on Craigslist. As with most things in life, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.
Viewit.ca is another great advertising site for landlords. For $55 a month, your property will be showcased online to prospective tenants.
Hire a Realtor
You can always work with a licensed realtor to help you find a tenant. Many real estate agents offer leasing services that include pricing, advertising, showing, screening, negotiating, and paperwork (the total cost is usually one month's rent, half of which is typically offered to the agent who brings a buyer). If you dont have the time or skills to find a great tenant, consider hiring a professional.
Will You be Needing a Property Manager?
Realtor's jobs are typically over once the closing date and occupancy date arrives. Thereafter you can hire a property management company or self manage. Thereafter, you can hire a perperty management company or self manage. Discuss the options with your realtor. Property Managers' typical fees start at 10% of the annual rent.
The lease is the document that summarizes your relationship with the tenant - howmuch rent they'll pay, the dates of the lease, rules regarding pets and smoking, what happens at the end of the lease, and more.
Leases are typically for 12 months and after that, unless a new lease is signed, tenants are automatically considered to be 'month-to-month', meaning that they don't generally need to commit to another 12 month lease.
Month-to month tenants are required to give 60 days noticed before moving out, counting from the first of the coming month. For example if they give noticed June 24th, then they can move out on Augest 31st.
As your realtor, we will insert special clauses into the lease to address basic rules in hopes of prividing clear guidlines of what is expected between the landlord and the tenant.
Your Rights and Obligations as a Landlord
Ontario tenants have many rights. Among the important ones are the following:
Landlords can't evict a tenant for having a pet, but we can help screen tenants with pets in advance if there is an issue such as allergies. If you own a condo, the condominium rules take precedence over the Residential Tenancies Act, so if the condo doesn't allow pets, you may be able to evict.
In Ontarios, rent increases are controlled by the government. Generally speaking, landlords can increase the rent once every 12 months by up to a maximum equal to the Consumer Price Index or CPI for that year.
Right to Access Property
Generally, landlords have the right to enter an apartment to repair and mainain it with 24 hours notice or in the case of an emergency. You also have the right to show the unit to prospective tenants and buyers with appropriate notice.
If You Want to Move Back in
You may NOT move back into your condo or apartment during the term of the lease. If the tenant is on a month-to-month lease, you may provide 60 days notice in writing, counting from the 1st of the coming month, in order to occupy the unit. You or a family member must be the person occupying the unit, you cannot simply give notice to the tenant in order to allow another tenant to move in. Not that as of September 2017, an owner wishing to occupy their unit must:
- Compensate the tenant with one month's rent or offer them another acceptable unit
- Occupy the unt for at least one year
- If the landlord advertises the unit for rent or sale, re-rent, demolish, or convert the unit within 12 months of the tenant vacating, the landlord is subject to a fine up to $25,000.00
If You Want to Sell
If you have a valid written lease, you may NOT evict the tenant in order to sell the prperty. The lease simply transfers to the new owner at the current rate and terms. If you have a 'month-to-month' tenant, you may give the usual 60 days written notice to the tenant, on behalf of the new buyer, assuming the new buyer is moving in themselves. When a tenanted unit is sold to a new buyer and the existing ower gives noticed to the teant on the new owner's behalf, sompensation is not required.
Finding the Tenant You Want
One of the most important parts of finding a good tenant is screening. Maske sure to request the following:
- First an last month's rent, ideally as a certified cheque or bank draft
- A current credit check
- Confirmation of employment letter
Discuss the possibilities of a prospective candidate coming from abroad. There is an influx of 'New to Canada' rental applications. Many will not have Canadian credit or established employment. Discuss with your realtor the options of handling these types of applications as in Toronto you may find this is the majority of tenants looking in your area.
There are several forms we recommend, although not all are mandatory.
- Offer to Lease Agreement - This document will outline the basics of a lease plus additional clauses such as no smoking, utility responsibility, care for the property.
- Full Rental Application - Please ensure rental applications are completed in full including two personal references in case of emergencies. No short cuts here. Obtain copies of employment letters, paystubs, and credit checks which should accompany the application.
- Background Checks - In addition to the above, we suggest viewing any social media sites, confirm employment letters and any references. Never take anything for granted; Take extra steps before releasing your keys to a new tenant.
- Mandatory Ontario Lease Agreement - Basic overview of the Tenants Rights and contact information for the landlord.
- Photos of the Property - Obtain photos of the property prior to the tenant moving in to show proof of condition. While not all landlords provide this extra step we have found it extremely useful.
- Inspection Report - At the key exchange, it is recommended the landlord meet with the new tenant and do a walk through of the property. Show the tenant important features of the home such as water shut off and security systems. Point out any damage upfront, such as existing scratches on the floors. It confirms the condition of the property on move in day.
We reccomend having your property cleaned professionally and inserting a detailed clause in your lease outling to your tenant that you expect the return of your property in the same condition it was given, with considerations for normal wear and tear.
- Condominiums - Please introduce your tenant to management in condo buildings and provide a copy of the lease agreement. Management is your extra eye on your unit in case of noise or damage. Ensure management also has your current contact telephone number and email in case of emergencies.
These few extra steps at the beginning of the lease will help ensure smooth sailing.