We’ve all been there — you meet someone who does a less-than-stellar job, and you think, “I could do this better than you.” If you’ve ever rented a home, it’s likely you’ve thought that once or twice about your own landlord. But is it really that simple? If you think so and are ready to become a landlord or property manager, take a moment and read ahead first. Know what you’re getting into before you take the plunge.
Your Day Doesn’t End At 5 PM
If you think you get to shut your office down at 5 pm every day, think again. Are you ready to answer a tenant’s call at 2 am when an emergency occurs? You’d better be. Even routine property checks can come with surprise delays. You may have blocked off ten minutes out of your schedule to do a quick inspection, but that may turn into a two-hour delay if you find an issue that needs immediate attention. Your job as a landlord or property manager means you’re the first call they make when issues arise. You need to be ready to take that call — 24/7.
Speaking of Routine Checks…
It’s in your best interest to check up on your property on a regular basis. We don’t mean every day, week or even month, and we certainly don’t mean surprise spot checks. Your lease should have wording that allows you to come and inspect your rental home every 3-6 months. Many first-time landlords think that once your home has been rented out, your job is done. Not so. After walking through the property with your tenant and documenting its condition during their move-in, you should be going in periodically to check on the rental. It might seem like a lot of work, but it’s worth it. Why? This is your asset, an investment you’ve made for your future, you need to protect it.
How Well Do You Know the Law?
This is an important one for obvious reasons. It might seem like because you own a property, you have every right to set down your own set of rules. Tread carefully, though! It’s important you know what you’re allowed to impose on tenants and what breaks the tenancy law in BC. Not sure where to start? One of our favourite resources in the province is the Landlord BC website. Owners and managers of rental housing in BC can find lots of information that can help you be the best landlord you can be.
Screen, Screen, Screen
This task can’t be overstated as a first-time landlord. There’s a reason most property management companies use tenant applications — they screen possible tenants. It’s easy to fall prey to sob stories and skip background checks because they’re tedious or can be expensive. Do. Not. Do. This. Aside from the risk of leasing to a professional tenant, you may end up doubling your workload, at least, if you end up with an unreliable tenant. They could trash your property or stop paying rent or a variety of other worst-case scenarios you don’t want to deal with. As long as you adhere to the Personal Information Protection Act for Tenants & Landlords, it’s within your rights to do a background check on potential tenants. Don’t think you need to do this alone, either. There are a number of companies that can do fast, accurate and fair checks for you. There’s no need to take on that hassle yourself, but someone needs to do it so your investment is protected.
Becoming a landlord is no easy task. These are four important points, amongst many others, that you should consider before managing your or someone else’s rental property. If you’re ready to wear the many hats a landlord needs to wear, we applaud you! However, if you want to get the professionals on your side, contact us today. We’ve got over 120 years of superior property management experience under our belt. We know how to protect your property and the financial return that’s derived from it.