Tips for First Time Landlords in Edmonton

Tips for First Time Landlords in Edmonton

So you managed to buy your very own investment property, and now you’re ready to reap the results of your investment. Real estate rental is the obvious way to go. 

Though this might be an overwhelming experience, especially for first-time landlords. Here at Best in Edmonton, we’re always trying to help simplify things for our readers. 

We’ve prepared a list of tips and tricks, as well as a checklist you can refer to in case you are having troubles with starting out. 

Financial Considerations 

Financial Considerations

We’ve often heard of people becoming landlords and not being aware of the expenses associated with it. To help you get a clearer picture of things, we’re putting down some of the most common landlord expenses you’ll have to deal with. 

  • Mortgage – If you got your property on mortgage, it is highly encouraged to put this into account. Sometimes, the rental value of the property does not cover the mortgage and you’ll have to spend out of your pocket. 
  • Taxes – Property tax, income tax – there is so much that goes into investing in real estate. We recommend consulting with a tax consultant to help you figure out the best way to minimize your taxes, while paying them correctly. 
  • Advertising Fees – To get the word of your property being on rental, there are usually advertising costs that go with it. This can come in the form of newspaper ads, social media ads, or even a real estate agent’s fees. 
  • Insurance – The laws of Alberta don’t require tenants to have renters insurance. Because of this, most landlords often pay for insurance for the house themselves. 
  • Renovations – Due to wear and tear, there will always be something or the other that will need repair or maintenance around the house. It is important to always be ready for any surprise renovations. 
  • Professional Fees – If you have a house going on rent, expect to be seeing your real estate lawyer and accountant on a regular basis. It is important to keep in mind that legal and accounting fees are part and parcel of this. 

Finding a Tenant 

Finding a Tenant

Finding a tenant is obviously an important part on your way to becoming a landlord. There are 2 ways to go about this:

First, would be listing your property online.

Most tenants these days search the web if they’re looking to rent. There are many websites where you can list your property to make it easily available on the web. 

The key to a successful online listing is to make sure that you have all the details – price, lot size, floor area, amenities etc. The more informative the listing, the better. 

You’ll also want to make sure that you have photos of the house on your listing. While everyone has a smart phone these days, a professional photographer might help capture angles of the house perfectly. 

The second way to go about it is the traditional way. A real estate agent or a real estate brokerage can help you pair your house to the right tenant. 

The advantage of hiring someone to lease out your house is that they take the stress of viewings and coordination off of you. This of course comes with a fee or commission. 

Tenant Screening

Tenant Screening

Now that you have a tenant, the next thing you need to do is make sure you screen your tenant and do a thorough background check. 

We’re sure you’ve read or heard of those nightmare tenant tales. To avoid that, we      recommend screening potential tenants in accordance with the Human Rights Legislation of Alberta. 

No, you don’t need to hire a private investigator to do that, it’s actually a very straightforward process. If you’re working with an agent, then there are high chances that they do this for you. 

Otherwise, you may schedule a sit-down coffee with your future tenant and ask them questions. If you don’t know where to begin, then here are a few suggestions: 

  • When do you plan to move in? 
  • Can I take a look at your credit report or can I know your source of income? 
  • Do you have a budget in mind for the rent? 
  • Do you own any pets?
  • How many people are going to be staying in the house? 
  • Can I ask for a reference from your previous landlord?

Lease Agreement 

Lease Agreement

You have a house, you have a tenant and now you’re ready to sign a lease. While there are a lot of agreement templates available online, we recommend running your agreement through a real estate lawyer.

The agreement is made to protect both you and your tenant, so while a contract may seem fine to you, a lawyer would always be able to see through the loopholes in it. 

A security deposit, rental fee due dates, duration of the agreement, policy for repairs and renovations- these are all minor details that HAVE to be listed down in your contract. 

Property Inspections 

Property Inspections

Before moving in, your tenant may request for a property inspection. They may hire a property inspector at their own cost. 

This is a way to protect both of you, to avoid potential disputes in the future. This is to make sure that you receive the house in the same condition you gave it in, when the lease is due. 

This is also a way for your tenant to make sure that the house they are moving into is in accordance with safety standards. This is also to see if there are structural issues in the property that they would like you to fix before they move in. 

Property Preparation 

Property Preparation

The last step before handing over the property to your tenant is to have it prepared. 

Under the public health laws, landlords have a responsibility to ensure that their space is sanitary and safe to live in. The golden rule is always to hand over the property in the same condition that you expect it back in. 

Here are a few ways you can have your property ready for your new tenant: 

  • Make sure to address any termite or pest problems in your property. 
  • Have professional cleaners clean not just the house but even the curtains, upholstery, and windows.
  • Repair or replace any damaged appliances. It doesn’t have to be a brand new, second hand appliances are fine as long as it’s functioning and safe to use. 
  • Apply a fresh coat of paint if necessary. Some tenants may also request to paint the walls with a different color, but regardless, it is recommended to have it freshly painted. 

Handover

Handover
Rent Hand Real Estate Keys Sale Give Receive Key

Finally! The day of the handover has come. 

You’re ready to hand over your keys and entrust your property to a new set of hands. We recommend labelling the keys with their exact function, and making a record of the keys you’ve given to your tenant. 

Extend a warm welcome to your new tenant by walking through the house with them one more time. This is done to make sure that there are no nooks and crannies missed during the cleaning and preparation of the unit. 

For safety reasons, it is important to show your new tenant where the fire extinguisher is kept and orient them about any security systems or burglar alarms you might have installed at home. 

Lastly, leave them with a list of preferred contacts that they might need incase of an emergency. A plumber, a handyman, a locksmith or even the contact of your nearest fire department – you will be thankful when your tenant is able to address an emergency right away instead of screaming in the face of a disaster. 

– – – – – – – 

Simply put, being a first time landlord can be an overwhelming experience. Follow our guide to becoming a responsible landlord and investor. 

If you feel like all of this is too much work, you can always count on a property manager to take on the job for you.