Who’s naughty/nice – landlords can do themselves a favour by following a due diligence checklist. Here are 7 items to check off your naughty/nice list.
Pre-screening tenants saves both you and your potential tenants time and aggravation. Simply by asking a few key questions, you can determine whether or not the caller is qualified to rent your property.
Compiling your questions in advance prepares you for the pre-screening and showing. Here are tips on what questions to ask during the tenant pre-screening and screening.
When it comes to tenant applications, tenants appreciate knowing your rental application process.
If tenants do not want to provide landlord, work references, or permission to run a credit check, then neither of you are wasting your time scheduling a showing.
Did you know housing falls under the protected grounds under the Alberta Human Rights Act? Landlords need to be careful of the wording of their ads and what they ask during the pre-screening questions and showings so that they are not excluding anyone. The protected grounds include; race, colour, ancestry, place of origin, religious beliefs, gender, gender expression, physical disability, mental disability, age, marital status, family status, source of income (you can ask for proof of income on a rental application but you can’t ask if they have a job), or sexual orientation. For a full explanation, click here.
Verbal agreements are binding, but if you ever have to go to court, they are difficult to prove. It’s good business practice to get into the habit of backing up everything in writing including; the credit check authorization, your application to rent, move-in/move-out inspection reports, lease addendum, pet agreement, move out fee scheduling, move-out cleaning expectations, and property maintenance inspection reports.
· The Credit Check Authorization
Before running a credit check, make it routine to ask tenants to sign/date a permission to authorize a credit check form.
· The Application
A well-worded residential tenant application provides critical information that helps determine the potential tenant’s suitability. Too many inexperienced landlords believe they can judge a book by its cover. Don’t make the mistake of relying solely on your gut instinct. Professional tenants know how to pull on your heartstrings – always ask for proof! There are many places you can find comprehensive tenant applications. Here are some:
· The Move-in/Move-out Inspection Form
The move-in/move-out inspection form protects both you and your tenants by identifying the condition of the property/contents at the time the tenants moved in/moved out. Pictures and videos are also excellent proof of condition.
· The Lease Addendum
Whatever changes made to the lease, such as adding a roommate or a pet, can be documented with an addendum signed/dated by both you and the tenant.
· Pet Agreement
Pet agreements show tenants that their furry family members are also required to follow the house rules. Pet agreements/leases are legal in Alberta and typically include breed, name, weight, license number of allowable pets, fees, and terms/conditions.
· Move-out Cleaning Expectations
A move-out cleaning checklist that tenants can sign/date itemizes the cleaning expectations for every room and item, which helps to eliminate misunderstandings of who is responsible for what.
· Move-out Fees Schedule
Everything in your rental property has a price and will cost to repair or replace. Tenants appreciate seeing the detailed costs for the replacement of household items and hourly contractor rates in advance. Including a space for tenants to sign and date eliminates any confusion about pricing and provides proof they read and agreed to the fee schedule.
· Property Maintenance Inspection Report
Most property insurance companies require landlords to conduct maintenance inspections regularly throughout the lease. Letting tenants know in advance that you conduct property maintenance inspections gives them peace of mind from knowing you are keeping on top of maintenance. Inspections also allow you to touch base with your tenants, see how they’re taking care of your property, and help build a positive relationship.
Do you have specific requirements for gardening, snow shoveling, changing the furnace filters etc. that you’d like your tenants to do? Communicating these expectations verbally/in writing is an excellent way to ensure they know what, how, and when you’d like things done.
Tenants/renters insurance protects landlords and tenants against losses to the tenant’s personal property while providing them with liability coverage. It’s a great due-dilgence item to put on your landlord checklist.
Rental insurance is popular in the USA, and it’s now catching on in Canada. It protects the landlord if the tenant does not pay their rent. Tenantcube offers renters insurance to eliminate some of the risks.
Last on your due diligence checklist – have you notified your condo board if you are converting your condo to a rental property? Condo boards have a set of criteria for converting primary residences, which includes forms and fees; they also may not allow over a certain percentage of condos to be occupied by renters.
If you are converting your home to a rental property, have you notified your insurance company you’re converting your condo/home into a rental property? Not all insurance companies are willing to cover rental properties, and you may need to switch insurance companies to find one that does.
How many items did you check off your due diligence checklist? You win a place in the nice landlord category if you got them all.
What are your favourite due diligence tools? I’d love to hear about them; [email protected]
To take advantage of helpful tips, tools, and educational resources for DIY landlords, sign up for a membership for Landlord Fundamentals 101. To save even more time and money, combine Landlord Fundamentals 101 with one-on-one coaching to qualify for the Canada Alberta Job Grant.
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