Renting Should Be a Win-Win Situation. Ontario Landlords Want to Rent to Good Tenants and Ontario Tenants Want To Find Good Landlords and Great Rental Properties. We Want To Help Make It Happen
With property prices increasing in Ontario over the past few years and rents rising, rental properties (and the landlords and investors who own them) have been in the news a lot recently.
We have also had the new Rental Fairness Act which makes changes to the Residential Tenancies Act.
Many small landlords were expecting some important changes to balance the playing field. By adding urgently needed protections for small landlords it would keep a lot of good people in the rental industry and encourage more investment, more rentals, and more affordable options for tenants.
Bad Landlord Alert…or not
While the media seems to focus on the “bad landlords out there” the reality is these are rare cases and not representative of the larger Ontario rental market.
There are a lot of great people who are landlords (or want to invest in residential properties) and we need to make sure there is a fair regulatory environment to protect them. These landlords are huge corporations with unlimited resources.
In reality many landlords are teachers, fire fighters, nurses, doctors, electricians, plumbers, contractors and people working hard for some cash flow and their retirement.
Changes need to be made to protect small landlords
We need to discuss important issues such as allowing damage deposits and pet deposits. We need a healthy debate on allowing a fixed term lease to really mean the lease actually ends unless renewed by the landlord and the tenant.
It’s important for all stake-holders to make changes in how we can quickly evict tenants who don’t pay or abuse other tenants or their landlord.
Many Ontario Landlords area also greatly concerned about the legalization of marijuana and how this will impact rental properties. Many landlords are gravely concerned this will lead to many tenant vs. tenant challenges.
The Rental Fairness Act Isn’t Very Fair
Instead of dealing with important issues, there were policy changes such as expanding rent control and making it even harder and more expensive for family landlords to get control of their property for their own use. There were also punishing new rules for those who include utilities in the rent.
Alberta landlords are working hard to let the general public know how hard they work and how much they care and it’s time we did the same in Ontario.
Good Landlords Want Good Tenants…And Good Tenants Want To Find Great Landlords and Great Properties
Experienced and successful small Ontario landlords know we are running a business and our tenants are our “clients.”
As we usually own only one or two rental properties we usually do our own tenant screening. This means we are personally involved in the rental process.
Successful small residential landlords also know the key to a profitable rental business means we have to first attract some of the great tenants out there to rent from us, and then we need to work hard to ensure they love renting from us and want to stay. It’s hard work and it’s not easy.
Secrets and Tips From Successful Landlords
We asked our most successful members to share some tips to help other small landlords and investors on how to avoid problems and create a win-win situation between the landlord and your tenants.
(a) Screen your Tenants Yourself
With the excellent tools available landlords can take their business “into their own hands” and make sure they know who they are renting to. Make sure you know the rules and laws.
For example: Getting a real estate agent friend to run credit checks for you can be illegal and cost your real estate friend their license with Equifax. If you are running credit checks make sure they are legal.
(b) This Is A Hands On Business
Get to know your tenants and get to know your rental property. Make sure you make the place safe and comfortable.
One of our Ottawa landlords wrote: create a rental property that you would want to live in.
(c) Treat Your Tenants With Respect And Appreciate Them
You provide a terrific, safe, fairly priced rental property to your tenants. You are a service-oriented landlord and that means when things need fixing or issues arise, you make it a priority and get things fixed fast. When you fix these issues you cooperate with your tenant to make sure both sides are satisfied with the solution.
(d) Many Ontario Landlords Were Tenants Not So Long Ago
One OLA member wrote on the Ontario landlords forum:
“I rented for years when I was in university. My first year was in residence and after dealing with the meal plan and a small room I couldn’t wait to get out and rent a property with my friends.”
“Looking back the experience renting a house wasn’t the best. The landlord would didn’t ever make repairs. When the basement flooded we were told just to ‘not go down there’ and the stove only had 2 burners that worked (and the oven was so weak it took what seemed like hours to cook french fries.)”
“Now I’m planning to buy an income property near a university. Maintenance and dealing fast with any issues will be a priority. But what else can we do to stand out from the crowd and offer a terrific housing experience for student renters?”
(e) What Would Lead You To Stay At A Rental For A Longer Period of Time?
Many landlords feel stressed out when looking for new tenants. While there are a lot of great tenants out there, there are also people who know how to play the system and can lead to a lot of financial and emotional stress.
What are Tenants Looking For When Choosing a Rental Property and a Landlord?
Our members usually own one or maybe two properties. They aren’t large, huge corporations that don’t care about individual tenants and don’t care about vacancies.
Ontario Landlords Want To Hear From Ontario Tenants
The media keeps talking about “super high rents” and “bad landlords.” They fail to differentiate between large corporate landlords and small landlords who are simply trying to run a rental business.
Here are some questions from small landlords to help us improve how we run our rental businesses:
1. What Do Tenants Want In a Landlord?
2. What Type Of Features Are You Looking For In a Rental Property?
3. What is the Best Way To Advertise To Attract Good Tenants?
4. How Can Service-Oriented, Professional Small Landlords Show You Their Professionalism?
We Welcome Tenant Comments on Ontario Rental Industry
Are you a tenant now? Are you looking to rent? Let us know your experience and your feelings.
Landlords and tenants can share your thoughts and opinions by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org
(Please note you will not receive a reply upon emailing us)
Tell us what is happening and we’ll share it with landlords to help improve the Ontario rental industry!
While recent rules seem create a narrative of “landlords vs. tenants” the reality is good landlords want good tenants and good tenants are looking for professional landlords and great rental properties. Let’s work together to make this happen!