Being a Toronto landlord can be lucrative and rewarding, but there’s a great deal that you need to know in order to ensure that your experience is a positive one. Being able to identify some of the most common mistakes made by inexperienced Toronto landlords will help you to avoid those same errors and get the most out of your investment.
1. Not educating yourself on landlord-tenant laws and regulations
The first thing to do when becoming a landlord is to educate yourself on relevant laws and local regulations governing landlord and tenant activities. Read and understand the Residential Tenancies Act, read up on materials made available by the Landlord & Tenant Board and the Ontario Landlords Association, speak with other successful landlords in your area, and familiarize yourself with your limitations as a landlord. Knowing what you’re allowed or not allowed to do while a tenant is occupying your property will help you navigate many of the complex issues that can and will arise, and will keep you from unknowingly violating the rights of your tenants and landing yourself in hot water.
2. Not effectively screening tenants
One of the most fatal mistakes a landlord can make is not effectively screening each and every prospective tenant during the application phase, or becoming lax regarding the process. Screening each and every tenant helps landlords to make better educated decisions about who will be living in their property, and gives you an excellent opportunity to look for potential red flags that could give you a hard time down the line. Every tenant application needs to be handled with the same process, and should involve asking legal questions and obtaining permission to run a credit check. Not properly screening a tenant increases your chances of having to evict a tenant somewhere down the line.
3. Not enforcing the terms of your lease
Enforcing the terms explicitly outlined in your lease is important, and has been made even easier with the implementation of the Residential Tenancy Agreement. Holding your tenants to the terms outlined in your lease is incredibly important, especially when it comes to things related to term lengths, rent collection, and utilities included with rent or expected to be provided by the tenant. When tenants realize that you’re lax in regards to enforcing the terms of your lease, tenants will begin to take advantage of that fact by doing things like missing rent payments and breaking established property rules.
4. Not dealing with maintenance issues promptly
One of your principal responsibilities as a landlord is to deal with maintenance issues that arise during your tenant’s stay in your property, including issues related to plumbing, heating, electric, and general damages sustained during their stay. By contracting out these maintenance problems to an industry professional or by dealing with them yourself if it falls into your expertise, you’re investing in a long-term solution for that utility or damage. It’s important to deal with these problems promptly and directly, and to ensure that you’re charging enough rent to cover the cost of these inevitable repairs.
5. Treating your landlord duties like a hobby
Finally, one of the biggest mistakes made by far too many landlords is treating landlord responsibilities like they’re a hobby rather than as a full-fledged career. Owning and renting properties is a legitimate business, and should be operated like one as well – collecting rents, communicating with tenants, solving maintenance issues, and ensuring that operations are running smoothly take time, and should be treated the same you would treat your day job. In order for you to turn a profit as a landlord, you’ll need to take your responsibilities seriously.
Landlords who don’t have the time or patience to take on the many duties required of landlords can turn to professional property management teams like the one at Highgate Property Investments. Our team of property management experts are highly experienced in areas like tenant screening and communication, have access to the best maintenance teams, and are always on call to put out proverbial fires so that you can focus on the things that matter most in your life.
For more information about the property management and realty services offered by the experienced team at Highgate Properties, contact us today.