Renting your investment property for the first-time? It pays to be prepared.
Being a landlord is not always easy—it involves time (tenant search), money (maintenance + repairs), and plenty of patience. The good news? You can benefit from lessons learned from a veteran property manager.
Birds Nest Properties’ CEO and managing broker Jonathan Low has a 20-year+ history taking care of residential rental properties. Below, he shares the eight tips every new landlord should know to secure a positive—and profitable—experience.
1. Attract quality tenants with a well-maintained property
“A good landlord attracts good tenants,” says Jonathan. As a landlord you’re responsible for wear-and-tear repairs in-between tenancies. This means routine maintenance projects like grout cleaning, leaky faucet fixes, and roof repairs. Keeping your property in top condition will make it stand out for quality candidates.
2. Take a long-term view to renovations
Sometimes a handful of upgrades are all that’s needed to boost the value of your investment—and a rent rate that offsets renovation costs over time. “This is especially true with updated kitchen appliances and countertops, and a new in-suite laundry washer/dryer,” adds Jonathan.
3. Make things easy to understand
A written tenancy agreement helps both parties understand their roles and responsibilities—and is a requirement of the BC Residential Tenancy Act. “Having things in writing makes things so much easier,” says Jonathan referring to the lease, which outlines rent rate and renewal terms, pet restrictions (if any), and, in the case of duplex/single-family homes, who is responsible for exterior maintenance, like yard work.
4. Do your homework (check references)
A reference check will help you determine if a prospective tenant is reliable—and save you headaches later on. “For a thorough screening, ask for references from a past landlord and from an employer,” says Jonathan. “Can the previous landlord confirm regular rent payments? Can the employer verify their salary?”
5. Require tenant insurance
Tenants should secure their own protection, in the event of accidents, disasters, or break-ins. “Tenant insurance is fairly inexpensive and covers piece of mind—along with contents, liability, and additional living expenses resulting from an insurance claim,” says Jonathan.
6. Don’t forget landlord insurance
“Adequate landlord insurance coverage is more important than ever since water damage deductibles for strata buildings have skyrocketed in recent years—some as much as 20x times,” Jonathan says. Check to see that your landlord insurance policy covers the strata insurance policy deductibles, and includes sufficient limits for liability and loss of rental income.
7. Know the rules
Keep up-to-date on the laws that rule tenancies. Adds Jonathan, “This is an ongoing education—there’s always something: from the relatively new empty homes and vacancy tax declarations, to changes to the Residential Tenancy Act that affect rent rate.” An understanding of the rules—and landlord and tenant rights, like landlord’s right to entry, inspections, and security deposits—helps make for a smooth tenancy.
8. Consider hiring a property manager
Property managers are there to service the owners’ needs—be it finding a tenant, solving for repairs, or handling a dispute. “They really do see it all,” says Jonathan, referring to people and property challenges. “In most cases, they develop strong relationships with their placed tenants over time to ensure both tenants and owners are happy. And they have a network of trusted trades to deal with repairs.
“It can be a time-saver (and stress-reliever) to hire someone to take on your property.”
Birds Nest Properties is a boutique property management company that times the time to understand what matters most to owners and tenants.
Thinking about renting out your property? We’re here to help.
Call us at 604.260.9955 today.