by Admin Staff
on Tuesday, July 13th, 2021 at 2:33pm.
You've got an income property! Congrats! You've signed the papers, made the fixes, and are now looking for the right people to rent to. How do you find great tenants for your rental property? It's not an easy process, but there are a few things you can learn in order to avoid those horrible renting situations:
1. Understand Saskatchewan's Laws About Landlords And Tenants
Your due diligence is to research and understand provincial and federal law regarding rental properties, landlords and tenants. Since provincial law is heavily modeled under federal law, the majority of the information will be much the same. However, make sure you read thoroughly in case anything differs. Our province's website has sectioned info on Landlords and Rental Properties that you can easily navigate through. It's important to note that in Canada, our housing rights outline what constitutes illegal discrimination against qualified tenants. For example, a landlord can base their decision to rent to someone on their credit or criminal history, but not on their race, religion, national origin, gender, age, familial status or disabilities.
2. Clean Your House
Before you advertise your home as "ready and available," clean your home. This includes making small repairs, too! Unlike buying a home, those looking to rent usually need to move in quickly, or at least within a couple of months. There is the potential of someone who responds to your ad within only hours of you posting it. A maintained, move-in ready house is an attractive lure for renters. It also shows that you, as a landlord, are caring. While you're worried about finding good renters, renters are worried about finding a good landlord! This tip can help good people find each other.
3. Know Where And What To Advertise
These days, you know online advertising is huge. However, lots of other people do too - including scammers. Renters are hesitant about cruising free websites for house listings these days. There's been plenty of times where the poster has inaccurate photos, fake contact information and questionable house details. They wait for a potential tenant's cheque to clear, and they make off with it. When the renter tries to track them down, that online ad is gone, or the contact information has been changed. Position yourself away from that crowd.
If you're going to post an online ad, choose websites that charge sellers to post their ads. Yes, you have to pay, but it secures you as an honest poster with a real listing. Make sure your photos are clear, you include the basic details and more advanced details (like a fireplace or central A/C), the neighbourhood the home is located in, and the rent amount. If you decide you want to take advantage of the free sites, make sure your ad is without spelling errors and written in concise English. Scammers are known for their hasty, poorly written ads. If your spelling isn't great, or your English sentences aren't up to par, consider using proofreading tools/sites, or asking a friend to proofread.
Take out a classified ad in your local newspaper. It's an oldie, but tried and true. Newspapers often have their issues online in addition to print, so you have more exposure opportunities. Even if your college-adjacent home isn't appealing to Grandma, she may have a grandson looking for housing in that area. If she sees it in the paper, you know she'll let him know.
Put up a flyer on the community bulletin board. In Yorkton, there's more than a few places to put up information for free. There's a bulletin board at the Gallagher Centre, the entrance of Yorkton This Week, and even bulletin boards in a few businesses (usually where people wait for food).
Speaking of businesses, you can reach out to the HR section of local businesses to put up your flyer in the employee lunchroom, or even new employee welcome kits.
Everybody's gotta eat! Ask grocery stores if they'll put your flyer up in the entry-way or exit.
Harness the social power of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat to benefit you for once. Post the message up and ask for shares, re-tweets, re-posts and directed DMs.
Try word of mouth. A referral from family and friends is powerful!
Using a combination of these options ensures you put your place in front of people from all walks of life, as well as providing optimal exposure for the money value you put in.
4. Utilize a Rental Application
No matter who your advertisements attract, screen them all the same (even those that came from a family member). A rental application doesn't have to be lengthy, it just needs to collect some information about the applicant and any co-applicant(s) so that you can perform a background check. If you don't want to be so formal, hand out a small card that requests only a couple of things from your potential renters. Having a clearer picture of your renter's financial background is a legal screening tool that helps you weed out the serious from the silly.
5. Avoid Interviews, But Meet The Person(s)
While it seems like common sense to have a face-to-face interaction with the people who could be renting from you in the near future, avoid interviews. This is an ambiguous screening tool that could open you up for different kinds of fair housing lawsuits. The way a person dresses, talks and/or acts doesn't necessarily tell you with absolute certainty how they'll uphold a lease agreement. Instead, meet with them informally to give them more details about the house while you walk through it together. This should happen after they clear your background checks, so you can all meet each other under relaxed conditions. You gain a better sense of the person (or people) this way, free from tense social norms and negative bias. You can go over what you expect from them, and what they expect of you.
6. Create A Written Lease Agreement
Even the best tenants deserve a written lease agreement. A detailed lease agreement clearly spells out the terms and conditions of living in your property. This includes basics who will be living there, when the rent is due, what maintainence is required of whom, and so on. It should also include advanced details like the penalties for late rent, pet mishaps/damage, and basis for eviction. This agreement also provides something physical to reference back to, in case anything happens.
One Last Thing
One thing we see often are people that get rejected because they have pets. Some of the best renters are those who have pets. This is because they are good pet owners. They have spent their time teaching obedience, rewarding good behaviour and correcting bad behaviour. We know that pets and damages by pets can cause some large bills, but to generalize all pets and pet owners as messy and unfit can keep you away from terrific renters. Just like all bachelors are not party animals, and all families with kids are not loud, all pet owners are not bad. Sure, some could be, but not all of them. Don't lose out on a great renter because of a stigma!