Questions to Ask Tenants When Renting to Them

questions to ask rent applicants
questions to ask rent applicants

Screening new tenants can be daunting. It’s sometimes difficult to know what kind of person is applying to rent a property.  

At Singlekey, we help landlords deal with common anxieties every day. So if you don’t know where to start, we’ve compiled a list of basic questions and information needed to get the ball rolling.

The Top 7 Topics to Ask Rental Applicants When Interviewing Them

1) CAN YOU PLEASE PROVIDE SOME PERSONAL INFORMATION?

Name, birthdate and current address are key. You’ll need these if you are doing a credit check. You may also want to ask for a social insurance number, however, the applicant is not legally required to provide this. The credit check can be completed without it, as long as you have the birthdate.

2) CAN YOU LIST YOUR PREVIOUS LANDLORD REFERENCE AND DETAILS?

It’s important to speak with prior landlords to find out how the applicant was as a tenant. Did they look after the property? Did they pay the rent on time? Why did they leave? Was there any noise or other problems? How was the cleanliness of the home? And for the final question: Would they rent to them again? 

Previous landlords sometimes are not very forthcoming, but if you ask them this last question it will tell you a lot. If the applicant has had multiple landlords over the past few years, it’s a good idea to look at a minimum of the previous five (5) years’ history.

3) WHAT ARE YOUR EMPLOYMENT DETAILS AND REFERENCES?

Confirming employment is critical. How long the applicant has worked there, how much they earn and any personal details you can collect about the person will help in the decision-making process. 

Verifying an applicant’s ability to pay the rent is vital so ask for pay stubs, or a copy of the last income tax statement. If they are moving to the area to start a new job, ask for a copy of the employment letter or contract.

4) CAN I SEE SOME IDENTIFICATION?

While this is a small step in the process, it’s absolutely necessary. A landlord must confirm the person is who they claim to be. If a copy of their driver’s license is taken with the application, it must be destroyed once the application is processed as landlords are not permitted to keep it on file. 

The key is to avoid having someone with a fake identity on a Tenancy Agreement which leaves the landlord with no recourse if the tenant skips out on rent or causes a lot of damage.

5) WHY ARE YOU MOVING?

Maybe they want to be closer to work or family, or they have outgrown their current home (or want to downsize). But watch for red flags such as having issues with other tenants or the landlord.

rental applicant questions

6) MIND SHARING SOME FINANCIAL INFORMATION?

A lot of these details will come up on the credit report, but asking about things such as bankruptcies, earnings, debt load and other financial obligations gives the landlord an idea of how much money is going out each month above and beyond the rent.

Rent is often the first thing the tenant doesn’t pay if they are experiencing financial hardship.

7) I JUST NEED A LITTLE MORE GENERAL INFO, IF THAT’S OKAY?

As the application progresses, find out if they have a car or require parking and how many people will live in the home. 

If there will be more than one adult living in the home it’s a good idea to process an application on each adult and ensure they are all listed on the Tenancy Agreement. Do they smoke or have pets? If yes, then the tenant should be advised of the landlord’s smoking and pet policies for the property. Asking about any criminal history should be handled delicately and with professionalism.

Don’t Forget to Check Secondary Resources

Aside from all of the above questions and information a landlord may look for, there are also other resources to allow landlord’s to review the suitability of an applicant. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other public records all provide insight into the type of applicant being considered.  

Reviewing tenant applications is complex and can be time consuming. Decisions should be made based on the information obtained and from the landlord’s perception of who would be best suited to the home. 

That said, caution should be used to ensure each application receives fair consideration and the decision is not based on any discriminatory criteria under Human Rights legislation. These include race, color, sexual orientation, marital status, disability and many more. 

Make sure to check with the provincial authority governing the community where the home is located for full details.

Take the Stress Out of Renting, Try Singlekey

No matter how many questions you ask, there’s always the risk of missing important information that could sway your decision. To assist in the screening process, Singlekey offers services tailored to each landlord’s needs. 

Contact us for more information today.

Long Term vs. Short Term Rental: What’s Right for You?

short-term-vs-long-term-rental
short-term-vs-long-term-rental

Before you put your rental property on the market, you’ll need to decide whether you want to offer long-term or short-term rentals. To make the best decision, it’s important to not only know the difference between the two but to also realize the benefits and drawbacks of each. 

In our guide to long-term and short-term rentals, we’ll go over some of the key things landlords should consider so you can make the best choice for your property. Let’s get started.

The Pros and Cons of Short-Term vs Long-Term Rentals

What’s the Difference Between Long-Term and Short-Term Rentals?

A short-term rental is often defined as one that lasts less than 31 consecutive days. Sometimes it can last a bit longer. Short-term rentals can also be referred to as vacation rentals. That’s because many people own homes they rent out exclusively to vacationers depending on their location.

Long-term rentals are usually considered anything that lasts longer than six months. Common types of long-term rentals are apartment and house leases. Business and industrial properties are also typically long-term.

Other options can include an Airbnb-style rental. This can be done either for the short-term or long-term. Typically, these are not vacation-style rentals. They come in handy in situations when someone is in town for an extended period of time. For example, a sub-contractor on a 3-month contract may prefer Airbnb because it’s easy to send the bill to their client.

If you can’t decide whether short-term or long-term rentals are the best match for you, consider some of the advantages and disadvantages of short-term rentals below.

Short-Term Rental Pros

1) You can earn more money.

If your short-term rental property is a vacation home there is a greater potential to make more money, especially if people are renting for a week or two at a time. If your property is in a popular tourist spot, your income potential can be very high during the summer months. 

You also have the option of changing the rental amount depending on the rental week. Many property owners do this when they know there is a time of the year that is popular.

short-term-rental-pros

2) You can also use the property.

With a short-term rental, especially one that is a vacation home, there is the option for personal use. That means when you want to go on holiday or spend the weekend with the family, just reserve that block of time for yourself.

3) You can limit some of the renting risks.

Being a landlord is a big commitment. The responsibility comes with potential risks, such as tenants who don’t pay or time or damage your property. With a short-term rental, the commitment isn’t ongoing, so it’s a lot easier to manage.

Short-Term Rental Cons

1) Your income can fluctuate.

With a short-term rental there is a chance that you may have blocks of time with no rental income. Some property owners don’t mind taking this chance, while others don’t like the risk.

2) You’ll spend more on cleaning costs.

With a higher turnover rate, especially with a vacation property, you can expect more cleaning costs. Every time a tenant moves out you’ll need to have the home deep cleaned. Even with a contract, this can get pricey.

short-term-rental-cons

3) You may need to hire a Property Manager.

Because the property is rented to different tenants so frequently, the appliances, sinks, and toilets need to be checked routinely. No one is going to want to rent a home with a broken refrigerator or one that has plumbing problems. 

Some landlords choose to hire a property manager for their short-term rentals. That way, they don’t feel as though taking care of their property is another job. You have to weigh whether the cost is worth the convenience.

Long-Term Rental Pros

1. You’ll earn steady income.

When you have a property rented for a longer time, you know you’ll have a reliable source of income. This can help you be more financially secure and plan for your next investment.

2) You might see fewer maintenance fees.

Because the turnover rate is not as frequent, you should have fewer maintenance fees. You won’t have to pay a cleaning company to come in as frequently because you’ll have the same tenants for a longer amount of time.

Long-Term Rental Cons

1) You can’t raise rental prices once in contract.

When you offer a long-term rental, you need to keep the price consistent for the length of the lease. While this offers reliable income, you lose the chance to increase it for any reason until your agreement is over.

2) You will have the tenants for longer periods of time.

If you have problem tenants, you may be forced to look into eviction. No one wants to do this because it can be costly and lengthy. To find out just how costly, try our eviction calculator.  

To avoid troublesome tenants, SingleKey offers a thorough yet easy to read Credit and Background Check. Our screening report gives you the information you need to feel comfortable with who is living in your rental property.

Key Takeaways

Short-Term Rental Pros

      • Potential for big financial gains
      • You can use the property as well
      • Limit some risks of renting

Long-Term Rental Pros

    • Earn steady income
    • Fewer maintenance fees
      •  

Short-Term Rental Cons

      • Income can fluctuate month to month
      • Higher cleaning costs
      • May need to higher property manager

Long-Term Rental Cons

    • Rental rates are locked in
    • Harder to evict bad tenants

Long-Term vs Short-Term Rental: How to Decide

There’s no easy answer to choosing the type of rental property that’s best for you. Both long term and short term have their benefits and drawbacks. So it’s worth taking some time to consider where your property is located and how much time investment you’re willing to put into maintenance, cleaning, and tenant interactions. 

Whether for three months or three years, one thing is for certain: the right tenant can make all the difference. A thorough background check can help you find applicants that are perfect for your property. Book a call to learn more about SingleKey’s tenant credit report for landlords.

What Should Landlords Look for in A Tenant Credit Report?

how to read a credit report for landlords

Being a landlord in today’s rental market requires diligence and experience. To avoid leasing their units to risky tenants, most landlords rely on tenant credit checks — it’s a foundational part of the tenant screening process. While these checks are very insightful, even seasoned landlords can overlook important information.

SingleKey offers a great way for landlords to screen tenants via our Tenant Credit & Background Check. We have helped landlords across Canada screen and verify thousands of prospective tenants, providing them with insights to help them make renting risk-free and hassle-free. To help landlords learn how to read the SingleKey tenant screening report, we’ll review the top 5 tenant credit check metrics.

how to read a credit report for landlords

Don’t forget to check out our sample tenant credit check report. We’ll be using it as a reference throughout this article.

How to Read a Credit Report for Landlords: 5 Key Tips

  1. Learn the Difference Between Poor, Good, and Great Credit Scores

The first risk indicator landlords typically review is the credit score. SingleKey uses an Equifax ER 2.0 score to create an accurate picture of the tenant’s financial health. A credit score is a useful metric encompassing the entire spectrum of a prospective tenant’s financial standing, including: 

      • Payment Behavior
      • Debt 
      • Income
      • Outstanding Debt
      • Late Payments

The average Canadian has a credit score of 630. So tenants with a score ranging from 600 to 700 are considered to have an average score. When reviewing rental applicants with a score below 600, landlords may want to look more carefully. A credit score below 500 is likely due to poor payment behaviour or a recent bankruptcy, indicating the riskiest applicants. 

tenant credit report for landlords

While a low credit score doesn’t mean that a tenant will be delinquent on rent, we can safely make the assumption that a tenant who doesn’t pay their bills on time is more likely to not pay their rent on time.

  1. Identify the Types of Debt the Tenant Owes

Another key piece of information on our tenant credit reports is debt. While large amounts of any debt aren’t a great sign, it’s important to understand that not all debt is created equally.

High-Interest Debt

landlord-tenant-credit-checks

Credit cards and risky loan options, such as payday loans, are high-risk debt because of their higher interest rates. Also, payday loans are often the last resort for borrowers and can indicate the tenant may be going through financial hardship.

Low-Interest Debt

On the other hand, debt categories like mortgages and HELOCs (Home Equity Lines of Credit) are significantly less risky because of the lower interest rates and the asset securing the loan. Also, individuals can rent out their property to cover the mortgage payment. 

Student debt and car payments are forms of debt that aren’t as risky as credit cards or payday loan debt. What is important here is whether the applicant has been able to make regular payments.

  1. Tally Up the Total Monthly Debt Payments

Credit reports outline the number of regular payments that a person has to pay towards items such as an auto loan, credit card, or cell phone. It is important to review these monthly payments because they show the portion of the applicant’s income going towards recurring expenses and bills.

For example, in SingleKey’s sample credit report, the “Payment Term Amount” shows how much money is to be paid, while the “Narrative” explains the frequency of payments.

tenant monthly debt payments

To give you a real-world example, if the applicant’s pre-tax income is $3000 per month but they have to pay $1000 towards their credit card and car loan payments every month, this doesn’t leave much behind to cover rent and living expenses.

  1. Calculate the Rent-to-Income Ratio

It’s important to know if the tenant can actually afford the expense of renting a unit. A landlord should consider how the tenant’s monthly income compares to how much they will have to pay for monthly rent. To simplify the process, SingleKey’s tenant credit report calculates the rent-to-income ratio so you won’t have to worry about it.

Looking at the tenant’s rent-to-income ratio gives you a good sense of affordability. If they make $3000 per month, but are applying for a unit where the rent is $2000 per month — that’s a red flag.  

We also suggest going one step further and using the (rent + debt payments) to income ratio. With this formula, both their monthly debt payments and their rent are used to get a better grasp on how much they can really afford. 

Our data shows affordability is one of the top predictors of tenant rent default. If a tenant is spending more than 50% of their income on rent, there won’t be much left to save for a rainy day. In this scenario,unexpected expenses or job loss would cause the tenant to stop paying rent.

  1. Focus on Collections and Bankruptcies

Collection items and bankruptcy demonstrate financial responsibility, and remain on a credit report for 6 years and have a significant impact on credit scores. Collections and bankruptcy can happen, but it’s important to ask the right questions when you see them on a tenant’s credit report.

1. What was the amount owing?

The amount owing is an important factor in determining how detrimental the outstanding payment is to the applicant.

2. How old is the default?

In cases where a bankruptcy occurred 5 years ago, that is not nearly as important as when the bankruptcy is fresh. The older the bankruptcy, the less financial strain the applicant is under. 

3. What type of debt was it?

If a collections item is for a payday loan, that is much more worrisome than if it was an outstanding phone bill.

Collection items and bankruptcy demonstrate financial responsibility, and remain on a credit report for 6 years and have a significant impact on credit scores. Collections and bankruptcy can happen, but it’s important to ask the right questions when you see them on a tenant’s credit report.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

The 5 Things Landlords Should Look Out for on a Tenant Credit Check

  1. Credit Score
  2. Amount of Debt and Type of Debt
  3. Monthly Debt Payments
  4. Rent-to-Income Ratio
  5. Collections and Bankruptcy

Find the Right Applicant with Single Key’s Tenant Credit Report

Being smart with your tenant screening process keeps your renting risk-free. A good tenant will not only have a stable income, but they’ll have a reassuring financial history. Keeping in mind the 5 key risk indicators in this guide will help you get the most out of your tenant credit report and raise any red flags that you should be aware of. 

If you are looking for the best tool to screen your tenants, consider the SingleKey Tenant Credit and Background Check report. The five metrics we just reviewed are at the top of every report. 

Don’t forget that we also offer a free tenant review call to help walk you through the tenant report results, so book a call with us any time.

Best Rental Websites to list your property in Canada

best-rental-websites-canada
best-rental-websites-canada

Nowadays, most tenants are looking online for rental options. It’s fast, easy to compare listings, and, in light of the current pandemic, socially-distant. As a landlord, it is easy to be overwhelmed by the sheer amount of choices you have when it comes to posting a property listing. 

Here, we’ve compiled a list of the best rental websites in Canada, each with their pros and cons, to ensure that you are getting the best exposure to your listings. 

1. Craigslist

Craigslist receives a huge amount of traffic, with a monthly 17.86 million Canadian visits in September 2020. Posting ads is straightforward with no sign-up or fee required, and you are allowed up to 24 images. Prospective tenants can contact you through email and other contact information you add to the listing. Each ad expires within 45 days, or 7 if the listing is in a larger city. 

However, the dated appearance of the website may dissuade potential landlords and renters alike. With a large base of legacy users, the website still resembles those from the early 2000s, and may not provide the most user-friendly experience. From a tenant perspective, the search and filter functions are unintuitive, which may make it difficult for them to find available listings. At the same time, ad layouts are very disorganized and the listing details are difficult to read. 

craiglist-best-rental-websites-canada-toronto

Since you can post listings without making an account, there is almost no vetting of the listings, resulting in many fake rental property ads on the website. Similarly, many landlords find that the tenant quality from Craigslist is not the best and certain inquiries they receive are not serious. 

Recommended for

DIY Small Landlords

Pros
    • No sign-up required.
    • No fees needed for basic post.
Cons
    • Traffic is split between rental ads and other categories.
    • Since it is easy to post ads, occasional scams can occur. 
    • Tenant inquiries are not always serious.

2. Kijiji

Most Canadian landlords are familiar with Kijiji, which averaged 3.4 million rental site visitors in September. In fact, it is the 14th most visited website in Canada! 

After signing up, Kijiji offers three different tiers when it comes to posting a listing.

    1. Free: You can post a basic ad with 10 pictures. You can only have two basic ads running at the same time, so to post a new ad, an older one must be taken down. Note that you will have to keep reposting the ad to keep it on top, or pay additional money to boost it.
    2. $130.95/month: You can post an ad with 20 pictures and an urgent flag. The ad is automatically bumped up every 7 days.
    3. $392.95/month: In addition to the previous perks, your ad also becomes a top ad on the website, and you can add a website link to the listing.

You can also pay to put your ad in Kijiji’s homepage gallery or highlight it to maximize the number of people viewing your listing. Ads generally expire after 60 days. 

kijiji-best-rental-listing-websites-canada-bc

Kijiji has a simple layout, making it easy to list properties. You can even list virtual viewing options, such as virtual tours or video chats, and see how many people have viewed your listing. 

However, the website offers limited search and filter options, so renters may have a hard time finding an appropriate listing. Contact is done through Kijiji’s inbox, which can get messy if you have many listings. Unfortunately, like Craigslist, Kijiji’s minimal vetting comes at the expense of fake listings and inquiries about properties that are not always serious. So it is important to be aware of scams and follow best practices

Recommended for

DIY Small Landlords

Pros
    • Different tiers and upgrades are available to customize your ad.
    • High website traffic means you are getting your ad in front of as many eyes as possible.
Cons
    • Contact is done through Kijiji’s inbox which can be difficult to organize.
    • The free tier limits you to 2 active ads at a time.

3. Facebook Marketplace

With over 25 million Facebook users in Canada, Facebook Marketplace has become another classic place to list rentals. As long as you have a Facebook account, you can post as many free ads as you would like, with up to 50 photos and no expiry date (be sure to renew them so they appear at the top of the listings though!). The interface is easy to use and offers a dynamic preview that changes as you fill out information for your ad. You can also leverage Facebook’s wide network to cross-post your ad onto your Facebook Timeline, Newsfeed and different Facebook groups. 

Prospective tenants can easily message you through Facebook’s platform, and all messages go into a separate folder from your personal Messenger chats. It even links each message to its corresponding listing and sets reminders! Facebook also gives you a sense of security as you can see each tenant’s profile as a real person. You can also change the status of your listing from Available to Pending or Sold.

facebook-marketplace-best-rental-sites-property-ads-canada-alberta

For tenants, there is a map view that helps them locate potential listings, although there is limited filtering based on listing details. Facebook also automatically provides nearby transportation and walking scores for each listing. Unfortunately, many realtors chose to post fake listings onto Facebook Marketplace in an attempt to get more clients. 

Recommended for

Individual Landlords & Realtors

Pros
    • Dynamic preview that changes as you edit your ad.
    • Ads do not expire.
    • Messenger organizes your messages and allows you to view tenants’ profiles.
Cons
    • High volume of fake listings by realtors.
    • Limited filtering options for tenants.

4. Padmapper

Unlike the previous sites, Padmapper is focused only on housing. By signing up for Padmapper, you can show your ad to over 385.9K monthly viewers for free. Each ad allows you to post over 20 images and ads do not appear to expire.

Unfortunately, the platform is not very user friendly for tenants and landlords alike. As a landlord, you can post a listing only if you download the mobile app. There is no way to do this on a desktop. Contacting tenants is also done through the website’s messaging system.

For tenants, they are able to use a computer to look at listings and filter rentals by price, location, and utilities. There is also a map feature that allows them to explore listings by proximity. However, there seems to be a lot of bugs with the mobile app such as being forced to log in multiple times for the app to function properly. 

Recommended for

Landlords, Realtors, Property Managers

Pros
    • Simple to use without complicated add-ons.
    • Tenants can easily filter and search for listings on desktop.
Cons
    • Cannot post a listing on desktop.
    • Mobile app is often difficult to use because of glitches.

5. Realtor.ca

Another option besides posting your own listing online is to hire a professional. Realtor.ca helps connect you with realtors in your area, who know how to best market your property to find a tenant. Though it varies from agent to agent, most realtors are paid 1-month’s rent commission if the unit is successfully rented.

realtor-best-rental-websites-canada-list-property-ad-tenants

The advantage of using a realtor is that they will:

    • Take photos and list your property on MLS
    • Hold the viewings on your behalf
    • Screen the applicants and ensure you get a quality tenant
    • Set up your lease agreement with the new tenant

If you are willing to pay the commission, this is the easiest and safest way to rent your property. 

Recommended for

Large Landlords and Property Managers

Pros
    • Get professional advice on how to best advertise your listing.
    • A turn-key solution for the full rental process.
    • In general, you can expect higher quality tenants.
Cons
    • Most expensive option.
    • Depending on how many clients the agent has and the situation surrounding their properties, you may not be first on their priority list. 

6. Viewit.ca

At $54.95/month, Viewit allows you to post to their 245.1K monthly viewers. No account is necessary and you can post up to 10 photos per listing. Each listing expires after 1 month and is only published after their team approves of it. This way, you can rest easy knowing no one will be reusing your listing information as part of a scam.

viewit-best-websites-to-list-your-property-for-rent-canada

On the flip side, any edits, changes, or cancellations you would like to make to your listing requires contacting their team. Their turnaround time is within a business day but some landlords may prefer other websites that give them total control over adding and deleting posts.

Viewit also has additional paid upgrades to enhance your ad and even offers to send professional photographers if you want.  

Tenants can utilize their map view to see nearby listings or use the search and filter functions to narrow it down based on utilities. They can message landlords through Viewit directly.

Recommended for

Property Managers

Pros
    • Vetted postings to ensure that the listing information you provide will not be used to scam others.
Cons
    • Any changes you wish to make require contacting their staff, which takes editing and posting permissions out of your hands.

7. Rentals.ca

A relatively new website, Rentals.ca averages around 600K monthly views and is still growing. They also have a mobile app. Posting requires signing up for an account and you can select if you want your ad to expire in 15 or 30 days. There are three different ad tiers to choose from. 

    1. Free: no special perks on listing.
    2. Promoted: for $24/15 days or $49/30 days your listing gets increased priority on map/list, synced with Facebook Marketplace and mobile app notifications.
    3. Featured: for $124/15 days or $249/30 days, in addition to features in previous tiers, you also get top listings and priority, “Featured” tag, and highlighted on the map.
rentals-best-sites-for-rental-property-ads-listings-canada

For each listing, a floorplan and at least 2 images are required. The website allows you to keep track of your listings, their status, and even save drafts. Tenants can contact you through the website or the phone number you add to the listing. Rentals.ca requires each listing to be approved by their team, so the website contains very few fake listings. Most listings on website are for apartments/condos.

For tenants, the website provides good search and filter options, including a map view that shows nearby listings. Each listing also comes generated with a neighbourhood and transportation information. 

Recommended for

Property Managers and Individual Landlords

Pros
    • Website is easy to navigate and use.
    • Postings are vetted, which means very little scam listings.
Cons
    • Website and company are relatively new, so there is not as much experience and reviews on it.
    • Mostly targets larger cities and apartments or condos.

The Final Verdict: The Best Rental Sites in Canada

CraiglistKijijiFacebook MarketplacePadmapperRealtorViewitRentals.ca
Monthly Traffic (Sept 2020) 17.86M 3.4M 25M 385.9K 15.68M 245.1K 600K
Account Required
Listing User Experience - Very dated website
- Mostly used by legacy users
- Simple interface: easy to list a property
- You have to keep reposting the listing so it shows up at the top or pay to boost it
- Listing status helpful
- No need to boost listings
-Communications with renters is easy, and it's nice to see their profile, to make sure you were speaking with a real person
- Very confusing and complicated interface
- Only allows posting on mobile app, no desktop access for listing
- Good experience for tenants
- Agents will post listing for you
- Limited control control since all edits, deletions, etc has to be approved by their team - Allows you to keep track of your listing status and save drafts
Renter User Experience No real search or filter functionality Renters have a hard time to filter and limited search capability Easy for both tenants and landlords Many glitches when searching for listings and makes you log in multiple times. Polished and professional look and feel. Lots of listings to choose from. Tenants can use map view to see nearby listings or filter to narrow down the listings based on utilities. - Provides good search and filter options
- Including a map view of nearby listings.
Communication Tenants can only message landlord. Very limited. Just message landlord. All messages are in an inbox, which is not very organized. The marketplace app separates messages from your personal ones. Ties it to the listing and sets reminders. Very basic. Realtor's contact info is included in each listing. Easy to get in touch. Send email through Viewit directly or call on provided number. Tenants can contact you through the website or the phone number you add.
Fees No - Basic : free
-More visibility: $130.95/month
- Most visibility: $392.95/month
No No - Fees vary for posting unit
- Most realtors charge 1 month's rent
- $54.95
- Additional costs optional
No
# of Pictures 24 10 ( Free) 50 3 (Recommended) N/A 10 2 (Minimum)
Ad Expiry 45 or 7 days 60 days (Fees may apply to extend) No No N/A 1 Month N/A
Fake Listing Many fake listings Many fake listings Many realtors with fake listings to get business Many fake listings None. Listings vetted by realtor. None. Listings vetted. Very few fake listings.
Pros Can list virutal tour options - Interactive ad maker.
- Cross-post ad to Newsfeed, Timeline and Groups
Shows a mapview of rentals A turn-key solution for the full rental process. - No fake listings
- Offers professional photographer
- Popular with large property manager
- Shows a mapview of rentals.
- Provides neighbourhood and transportation information
Cons - Low vetting.
- traffic is shared with other categories.
- Low vetting
- 2 ad limit for free account.
- Low vetting - Mobile only - Most expensive option, costing 1 month's rent. Must contact their team for changes. New website so not enough reviews on it.
Best For Small Landlords Small Landlords Individual Landlords + Realtors Large landlords, realtors, property managers Realtors Property Managers Property managers, Individual landlords

Best Rental Websites in Canada by Province

Besides the top Canada-wide rental sites we featured above, each province has specific rental websites that are popular in the region. We highlight some of the best ones below. 

British Columbia

RentBoard

120K visitors per month

RentBoard has an ad credit system where you buy a certain number of credits, for example 30 days, and can either use it all up for 1 ad that is listed for 30 days, post 2 ads for 15 days each, or 30 different ads for 1 day each. If you take an ad down early your unused credit is saved for the next time you decide to post.

Point2Homes

280K visitors per month

Signing up for an account on Point2Homes requires approval from their team and prices vary by region. This site is mostly used by real estate agents, property managers, and brokerages.

Alberta

Rentfaster

385K visitors per month

Rentfaster lets you list an ad for $35 until it is rented out for a maximum of 6 months. Some limitations apply as outlined on their website. Once your unit is rented out, you can deactivate the ad and reactivate it for $30 at a later date.

RENTcafe

150K visitors per month

RENTcafe is very popular with tenants, but signing up to post your listing is a multi-step process. It involves registering with its affiliate company Yardi to use their property management software. It is recommended for property managers.

Immediate Rent

2K visitors per month

Immediate Rent is one of the newest entrants in this space and they doing things differently – they are the first rental portal allowing payments in over 100 crypto-currencies. As a landlord, you can advertise your property for free. No Listing Fees. No Monthly Fees, No Platform Fees.

Ontario

Torontorentals.com

85K visitors per month

TorontoRentals is now part of Rentals.ca, so listings on TorontoRentals will also appear on Rentals.ca and vice versa.

Condos.ca

600K visitors per month

Condos.ca has a large database of users looking to rent or buy condos. The site will put you in contact with a realtor/condo professional to help you list your property.

Quebec

Louer.com

70K visitors per month

Louer specializes in rental units in Quebec and also has a French version of their website. It allows you to post listings for free, but your account must be approved before you can use it.

Duproprio.ca

1.2M visitors per month

Duproprio is the largest real estate website in Quebec for buy & sell as well as rentals. They offer three tiers for ads: free, $49.95/3 months, or $199.95/3 months. Each tier offers a different number of photos you can include and the number of weeks the listing is featured.

Finding great tenants for your rental property in Canada is one of the hardest things about being a landlord. It is a lot easier when you know where to list your ads. Using a trustworthy website with a lot of traffic is always a good first step. 

If you are a landlord with house rentals or apartments for rent looking for tenants, SingleKey can help make your renting process easier, faster and safer. With our Tenant Credit Check in Canada you can screen your potential applicants in less than 5 minutes to find the perfect renters for your property.

SingleKey collaborates with Queens MBAs to Launch in the US

consulting with singlekey
consulting with singlekey

As students of the Smith School of Business Accelerated MBA program at Queens University, we were tasked with finding an interesting growing organization that we could engage with on a consulting project to help us apply what we were learning in our program. 

 Aptly named Toronto A, our consulting team of 8 motivated professionals were eager to bring our A-game, academic tools, management skills and prior work experience to help an organization solve challenging and equally intriguing strategic issues.  The Covid-19 pandemic has shown us that being prepared for the unexpected is critical, which is why deciding to work with our new client SingleKey was easy. They are an organization that helps residential landlords secure that much needed peace of mind.

Queens University & Singlekey Help Canadian Landlords

In the Spring we quickly realized that our consulting engagement will have to be virtual, but luckily with the aid of technology and the effortless diplomacy of SingleKey staff, led by Viler Lika, we quickly pivoted to videoconferencing. 

What struck us immediately when working with the SingleKey team is the deep commitment and passion they have for helping landlords feel secure when making tenant decisions.  After gaining an in-depth understanding of the organization, its people, and their strategic plans of moving across the border, we defined our new client’s requirements and scope of our consultancy.

Together we navigated the compliance hurdles that exist when operating in the US and leveraged our MBA education to navigate this powerful learning experience. We all brought unique talents and perspectives to market research and strategy and were given hands-on opportunities to practice our teamwork and leadership skills. 

Some of our work included industry and competitive analysis for the US expansion, search engine optimization, employee sales training and user experience management for their website to make sure it is secure and simple. SingleKey gave us a lot of feedback on our recommendations and incorporated them into their tactics for enhancing the experience that landlords have with processing credit and background checks.  

The next part of our project involved assessing referral program partners. SingleKey gave us a list of providers they were considering for a referral program as well as a set of criteria that was important to them in selecting a provider. The Toronto A team was to conduct more research on each one, complete demos for each company and present a top three to the SingleKey team.

Obtaining the key criteria was helpful in researching potential partners as it allowed us to have a better understanding of what SingleKey was looking for and allow a better assessment of providers through the lens of the SingleKey team. After narrowing down the list to a top three, we presented our findings and collectively decided that the best course of action would be for SingleKey to complete a demo with each of the providers to determine the best fit.

This part of the project made us feel like we were really making an impact by assessing referral partners and determining referral strategies that will help SingleKey reach more landlords across Canada and the US! From the start of our engagement (in May 2020) to the end (in October 2020), SingleKey sales grew over 300%, in part due to the successful US launch. 

Singlekey Helps Landlords Find the Best Tenants in Canada and the USA

As for Toronto A, we couldn’t have asked for a more positive experience consulting SingleKey as we gained firsthand insight into entrepreneurship and a growing business.

Viler let us drive ideas and make decisions while empowering us to steer direction when appropriate.  Each and every one of us are inspired to take on the challenges of more senior management positions in our own careers.  While some of us already have experience selecting tenants, and others are still working towards becoming landlords ourselves, all 8 of us now know where to go for support and advice to make sure we make the best decision.

We are confident that we will hear great things about SingleKey for years to come and are happy to have provided value to such an exciting company.

How Bill 184 Affects Landlords in Ontario

Bill 184 – How it affects landlords in Ontario?

Bill 184 – How it affects landlords in Ontario?

Over the past few weeks, hundreds have taken to the streets of Toronto to protest against a new piece of provincial legislation, called the Protecting Tenants and Strengthening Community Housing Act or Bill 184, that many experts fear will allow landlords to evict tenants with ease and cause “increased homelessness” across Ontario. Also known as the “Mass Eviction Bill” by its opponents, the new amendment to the 2006 Residential Tenancies Act (RTA) has become a hot topic of discussion between tenants and landlords as the real effect of this bill remain in dispute over its lack of clarity.

Here is a summary of the key points that you need to know as a landlord for Bill 184:

  1. Bill 184 now allows landlords to retrospectively seek compensation from tenants who have remained in a unit longer than agreed, even after they have left. 
  2. Tenants who have been paying an improperly increased rent amount are not permitted to make a claim if they have already paid the raised rent price for 12 months. 
  3. Landlords will now receive hefty punishments where they are found to have acted in bad faith with a tenant. 
  4. Landlords will be required to include a sworn affidavit as part of their application to the LTB to terminate a tenancy. 
  5. Landlords can now negotiate repayment plans with the tenant as opposed to using the LTB to do so and can more easily evict a tenant who does not uphold this agreement.

The main opposition to the passing of Bill 184 is the tenant community. Many tenant rights activist groups are of the belief that this bill takes aim at individuals who have suffered heavily from the pandemic, the working class. This new piece of legislation has been perceived as giving landlords the power to pressure tenants to move out of a unit without any oversight by the Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB). Further, tenants are even more concerned that the bill fails to include a way for tenants to legally oppose the eviction. Ultimately, those who oppose the bill, see it as a collection of landlord favouring amendments to the Residential Tenancy Act that look to displace tenants.

One of the main focus of this bill is to deal with the backlog at the LTB by forcing tenants and landlords to cooperate. Bill 184 does provide some benefit to landlords; however, this is only because residential landlords are among the most vulnerable people affected by the pandemic and many are in need of immediate relief. 

Many landlords have tenants who can no longer make rental payments. In such cases, landlords are forced to carry the expense, resulting in thousands of dollars lost every month.   Ultimately, as a result of the unaffordable expense of affording multiple homes, these landlords are forced to offload real estate they can no longer afford to pay off outstanding mortgage payments. Bill 184 does a decent job of providing minimal liberation by allowing landlords to act more hastily and less bureaucratically. 

Below we have outlined in more detail the changes that can be expected from Bill 184 that most affect landlords: 

More power against over-holding tenants 

Under the current compensation scheme for landlords in the Residential Tenancies Act, landlords have the power to apply to the LTB to seek compensation for rental arrears from are tenants who overhold a unit. Overholding means tenants who have occupied a unit for longer than agreed upon. Landlords can also claim for damage caused to a rental unit where a tenant remains in possession of the rental unit beyond the expiry of the lease. 

Bill 184 expands this same power to allow landlords to make a claim to the LTB even after the tenant has vacated the unit. Provided that the claim is made within 12 months of the date the tenant vacates the unit, landlords can receive full compensation. Bill 184 further proposes that landlords are permitted to apply to the LTB to claim compensation (up to 12 months after the tenant has vacated the unit) from a tenant where the tenant interferes with another tenant’s ability to enjoy their rental unit and from a tenant who has not paid utilities. 

In such cases, what was once intended to be a profitable investment for a landlord, would then have become a financial nightmare. This amendment allows landlords to retrospectively claim for lost rent or unpaid utilities suffered by a landlord including compensation for not being able to have new renters occupy the unit. 

Conclusively, landlords who have lost rental income, utilities payments, or damages from overstaying tenants can now seek compensation even after the tenant has left the unit.  

New Rules for Rent Increase

According to the Residential Tenancy Act, a tenant (past or present) can file an order with the Landlord Tenant Board requiring that a landlord repay a tenant any money the landlord may have collected as a result of an improper rent increase. This means where a landlord increases the rent without serving the appropriate notice of a rent increase or increasing the rent above the appropriate amount set out by the Ontario Ministry of Housing and Municipal Affairs in the respective guidelines. This order must be filed within 12 months of the date of the illegal rent payment. 

Bill 184 adds to the current laws by stating that, where a tenant has already paid the improperly increased rent amount for a minimum of 12 consecutive months, then a tenant cannot seek reimbursement for such an improper rent increase. This new change applies so long as the tenant did not make an application to the LTB challenging the validity of that rental increase within one year from the first charge was made. 

Ultimately, landlords and prospective lenders and purchasers are given peace of mind. Rent payment amounts are no longer subject to challenge by any tenant where they have consistently been paid for a minimum of one year. 

Increased Punishment for Landlords and Corporations 

Under the current state of the law, the Landlord and Tenant Board can conclude that a landlord has acted in “bad faith” when terminating a tenancy. This includes cases where a tenancy is unfairly terminated for a landlord’s personal use, purchaser’s personal use, or for demolition, conversion or substantial renovations to the unit. Under these circumstances, a landlord can be ordered to make payment to the tenant. Pre-Bill 184, landlords could be ordered to compensate a tenant for any portion of increased rent that the former tenant has incurred or will incur from moving into a new unit for a one-year period after vacating the previous rental unit. Landlords could also be forced to pay for reasonable expenses incurred by the tenant including moving and storage. Finally, a landlord can receive an additional administrative fine of up to $35,000.

Bill 184 increases the maximum potential penalty that a landlord can suffer when acts are carried out in bad faith. This is because the bill looks to allow landlords more power to deal with removing a tenant. However, the LTB will now have the discretion to force the landlord to compensate the wronged tenant for a maximum of 12 months’ worth of missed rent where they are found to have acted in “bad faith”. 

In relation to corporations, Bill 184 looks to increase the maximum penalty that can be imposed on corporations that are found liable for breaches under the Residential Tenancies Act. These fines will be increased from a maximum of $100,000 to $250,000. 

Therefore, this increase in punishment that a landlord may suffer serves the needs of tenants as it acts as a deterrent for landlords acting unfairly. Landlords should be cautious as the new regulations subject landlords to paying a much heftier sum than what was previously imposed on landlords. This is in addition to the administrative fine that landlords may be subject to paying. 

Ending a tenancy better come with a good reason

When landlords apply to terminate a tenancy agreement, Bill 184 will require a landlord to attach a sworn affidavit outlining and explaining the reasons in detail for the termination to the LTB. This means declaring reasons for termination including, a landlord wanting to use the unit for personal use, or planned demolition, conversion or renovations to the rental unit. Additionally, the landlord is required to indicate in the affidavit whether he or she has served any notice of termination in respect of the same or another rental unit, within 2 years prior to filing the present application. 

With the new addition to the Residential Tenancies Act 2006, the LTB will be encouraged to take a landlord’s history of serving termination into account when concluding whether or not the landlord has acted in good faith. The amount of previous termination requests filed by a landlord will act as an important indicator as to whether landlords truly have sufficient and substantial reason to end a tenancy. 

The effect of deterring landlords from ending lease agreements and terminating tenancies for disingenuous reasons is to the benefit of tenants. The LTB will now have access to additional evidence to use in favour of tenants. 

This new amendment coupled with the increased fines means landlords are to be more cautious when ending tenancies. Where ending the tenancy does not align with the affidavit or is found to serve another purpose, landlords will be subject to hefty fines for acting in “bad faith”  

Bypassing the LTB

One of the biggest points of contention between the landlord and tenant communities is the proposed changes to the way landlords can address the issue of tenants not paying rent.  

Currently, disputes between landlords and tenants over rent arrears can only be addressed by the LTB. This has contributed to the extreme backlog of cases in the LTB. Pre- pandemic, eviction hearings and cases in the LTB could take an average of 3 months to be heard. 

Bill 184 aims to provide some relief, or at the very least not make the situation at the LTB worse. It allows disputes over rent between tenants and landlords to be negotiated without LTB intervention. Landlords can bypass the LTB and are encouraged to offer a repayment plan directly to tenants, something that was originally the responsibility of the LTB. For this repayment plan to be in good faith, it should be formulated following some form of discussion and negotiation with the tenant as, in theory, the plan is to the benefit of both parties. Additionally, this new change will allow landlords to claim for lost rent and remove tenants who have been withholding payment retroactively. Where the tenant refuses the repayment plan, or accepts and fails to uphold it, this constitutes sufficient grounds for the landlord to evict the tenant. 

Landlords and tenants are forced to work together to reach a solution where the landlord can expect some percentage of rent to be paid regularly, while also taking into account the difficulties that a tenant may be having to repay the rent. 

The introduction of increased compensation for tenants for evictions done in “bad faith” as discussed above, restrict landlords from imposing unfair repayment plans on tenants. Having to compensate a tenant for up to 12 months’ worth of missed rent in Ontario will cost the average residential landlord substantial financial hardship. Tenants are also given the right to appeal to the LTB where they believe their repayment plan or eviction was handled unfairly. The alternative to Bill 184, which is the current state of affairs, is for landlords to have to continue to shoulder the burden of tenants who continue to not pay rent.  

Conclusively, Bill 184 allows landlords to act with more urgency than being forced to wait in a three-month long line at the LTB. However, this solution does not protect landlords from having to shoulder thousands of dollars’ worth of lost rent as the repayment plan must be given a fair chance to work before steps can be taken to remove the tenant.  

The Current State of Bill 184

What this bill means for tenants and landlords is that, there is to be expected a drastic change to the Residential Tenancies Act that aims to force landlords and tenants to communicate, compromise and work together. 

While this new amendment to the RTA looks to provide relief for the LTB, the truth of the state of affairs at the LTB is that they face backlog and a lack of organisation that this bill fails to address. There are still many steps in between tenants not paying rent and a tenant being evicted including negotiating a payment plan and providing the tenants a chance to pay out on their repayment plan. These new amendments do not protect the average landlord from suffering thousands of dollars, and several months’ worth of missed rent. Additionally, claims for damage (on top of lost rent), brough against a tenant can still be expected to eat up landlord time and money because of the ongoing pandemic. 

As a result of the increased risk that comes with being a renter, many landlords are turning to insurance options such as SingleKey to guarantee rental income and protect landlords from delinquent tenants. The SingleKey Rent Guarantee provides landlords peace of mind knowing that they will are protected against tenants who do not pay the rent and who may damage their property.

Is It Worth It To Offer A Discount On Rent In Order To Secure The Ideal Tenant?

tenant background check and verification services in Canada

As a landlord, you have positioned yourself in a vocation that has enabled you to secure a pretty stable income. Being a property owner certainly has its perks. In order to get the most out of your investment, it should be a top priority for you to find a tenant who is willing to pay top dollar. That’s what makes being a landlord worth your while. Or does it? 

The concept of “worth” needs to be examined a little bit closer here. Is it really worth it to rent your property to an individual simply because he/she is willing to pay higher rent than anyone else? Not necessarily.

Of course, renting your property is a business. 

But there are other things to consider when deciding upon who will live in your apartment, condo or house. Believe it or not, there are some aspects of your job that are more important than money. Before you snicker at that sentence, consider the headaches you may endure at the hands of a tenant who has little to no respect for your property. If a person is willing to outbid other potential renters but isn’t willing to maintain his/her living quarters, you may end up on the losing end of a bad deal.

“Your property may be great, but that doesn’t mean you’re immune to bouts of bad luck with tenants, increased competition, and environmental nuisances like neighbourhood construction projects,” informs Holly Welles on Landlordology.com, “When the cards are stacked against you, a discount can help speed up the tenant search and reduce the negative financial effects of vacancies.”

Trade dollars for convenience.

A good tenant doesn’t lodge numerous complaints, come up with excuses about why his/her rent is always late or mistreat your property. Should such an individual deserve a bit of a discount on his/her rent? Absolutely! Consider the fact that, in the long run, this tenant will likely be saving you money on repairs and maintenance. Not to mention, he/she will spare you from the litany of hardships that could ensue in situations where you consistently have to address issues.

Welles also reminds us of other reasons to consider lowering your rent for certain individuals. “You could also offer discounts in return for more convenience,” she writes, “If a tenant can pay rent each month through automatic electronic payments rather than physical checks, for example, you can offer a rent reduction for making your financial life a little easier.”

Discounted rents are great ways to keep good tenants.

Remember that since a big part of your job is securing good tenants to live in your property, part of your responsibility is to hang on to the good ones you already have. Naturally, people consider moving all the time. If you’ve had tenants living in your property for some time and they are thinking of relocating, a discount may do the trick in having them stay put. 

Your gesture will offer a twofold benefit. 

1) It will ensure your property is inhabited by people you like and trust.

2) It will prevent you from having to go on the hunt for new tenants

Studies have confirmed that discounted rents make for great incentives for renters. 

On SoftwareAdvice.com, Taylor Short reveals the findings of one such study. Software Advice Inc. surveyed nearly 200 renters to find out which incentives would most likely convince them to stay.

“80 percent of renters would prefer a discount on rent, an easy-to-understand and direct incentive,” Short reports, stressing that “while you want to avoid dropping rents for all tenants, if you feel a good tenant is worth keeping, a discount could be the ticket. Base this incentive on the needs of the particular renter.”

Are you considering offering a discount on your rent in order to attract or keep the ideal tenant? For help with how to go about it, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with SingleKey. Give us a call at 1-877-978-1404 or email us at info@singlekey.com. You may also fill out the form on our Contact Us page!

5 Tips For First-Time Landlords

Tips and advice for first time landlords
tips for first time landlords

Congratulations! You’ve finally decided to rent that property of yours. As you’re most likely already aware, you’ve made a wise investment – one that is bound to bolster your income for years to come. But, before you pop the champagne, it’s vitally important to recognize that becoming a landlord for the first time is no easy feat. It’s certainly not as simple as collecting a fat cheque once a month.

Without being prepared for potential hardships, being a landlord can be quite difficult. To avoid headaches and make your new venture as a landlord a successful one, it’s wise to take a few very important steps.

Here are five tips for first-time landlords:

1. Get familiar with Ontario’s housing regulations.

As an Ontario home owner who plans on renting his/her property, your first step should be to learn as much as you can about the province’s housing regulations, namely the Residential Tenancies Act. You should also become familiar with the Landlord and Tenant Board, which is one of the governing bodies that uphold the regulations.

By becoming knowledgeable about Ontario’s housing regulations, you will fashion yourself a fair and capable landlord. Not to mention, you’ll avoid the legal ramifications of trying to impose rules on your tenants that are unlawful. For example, were you aware that unless your property is a condo (where rules are set by the condominium corporation), you cannot prohibit a tenant from keeping a pet on your property?

2. Carefully screen your potential tenants.

Employers perform background checks on their candidates, right? As a landlord, you have every right to put your potential renters through a thorough screening process. Naturally, you should meet and interview the people who wish to rent your property. Just as employers do, you should perform credit and reference checks. This will ensure you’re renting your property to someone who will be reliable with their monthly rent payments.

In many cases, you’ll also have to trust your gut instincts. Be sure to have friendly conversations with your would-be tenants to get a feel for their personalities. Are they people you’d feel comfortable living in your property? Are you confident they’ll maintain the home and avoid causing any damage? Do you feel they can be trusted to pay your rent on time? Positive answers to these questions are a must.

3. Be diligent about collecting your rent on time.

If you’ve successfully completely step number two, it’s likely you’ve rented your property to someone you could possibly consider a friend. Naturally, it’s wise to welcome a tenant who you can get along with. However, the start of a new and friendly relationship doesn’t negate the fact you have a job to do. As a landlord, it’s imperative you collect your rent on time.

Make clear to your tenants when the rent is due by stipulating the day of the month when a payment is expected. Many first-time landlords find it difficult to ask for their rent when it is missed. However, allowing a tenant to get comfortable with the bad habit of either paying late or not at all isn’t something you should accept. Be sure to contact the Landlord and Tenant Board for information about the hopefully-avoidable task of filing eviction paperwork.

4. Learn all about landlord taxes and your eligible deductions.

Your new job as a landlord is just that – a job. Clearly, you’ll have new revenue to report come tax time each year. It’s important to remember that, as far as the Canada Revenue Agency is considered, it doesn’t matter what type of property you own – as a landlord, you’re making rental income. You must declare all of it.

That also means you can list some expenses that are eligible for deduction on your tax return. You are eligible to list such short-term expenses for your rental property as repairs, maintenance and painting. You’re also entitled to declare such long-term expenses as driveway paving, installing new windows and HVAC replacement. Remember that when your property expenses exceed your rental income, it’s considered a loss.

5. Keep all of your documentation in order.

To be a successful landlord, you also need to be a master bookkeeper. At the very least, you need to make sure your documentation is organized. There are particular forms you’ll need to keep handy at all times. They include rental applications, condition reports and locally required disclosures (such as the presence of radon, lead or mould in the property). Be sure to keep several copies of your documents. It certainly doesn’t hurt to have them saved to a hard drive or in an online database. And, under no circumstances should you give away your only copy of any document. If you need to have your tenant sign something, be sure to have the form returned to you right away.

SingleKey is your go-to platform for everything rental. If you’re a first-time landlord, please don’t hesitate to give us a call at 1-877-978-1404 or email us at info@singlekey.com . You may also fill out the form on our Contact Us page!

4 Simple Tips For Finding Yourself The Perfect Place To Rent

SingleKey Blog How To Find a place to rent
Tips for finding the perfect place for rent

For one reason or the other, not all of us can start off our independent living situations as home owners. In fact, the majority of young Canadians become renters long before they buy their first houses or condos. Rooming with friends, family members and/or love interests are all part of the plan for most people leaving the nest. But the majority of first-time renters often get hit with a hard reality: finding a place to live isn’t as easy as it may seem!

Here are four simple tips for finding yourself the perfect place to rent:

1. Be on the lookout for “For Rent” signs in your favourite areas.

There’s nothing like a little (and literal) legwork to get the ball rolling on the whole “finding a place to live” thing. If you’re interested in a particular area of your city – perhaps, because it’s close to where you work – take a walk through the neighbourhood. Be on the lookout for properties that are up for rent and be sure to inquire within. There’s nothing like seeing a place for yourself to determine if it’s the right spot for you.

This do-it-yourself practice is encouraged by Stacey Sleightholm of BlogTO.com. Among her tips for finding an apartment in Toronto, she suggests that you walk around neighbourhoods of your liking. “If you know the general area you’re interested in, take a stroll around the neighbourhood and keep an eye out for ‘for rent’ signs,” she advises, “Not only will you get the jump on any great units in the area, but you’ll also learn where local amenities exist.”

2. Try an age-old tradition: contact a real estate agent.

Sometimes, it’s best to leave it to the experts. If you’re one of those individuals who would rather let a professional find a rental space for you, don’t hesitate to reach out to one. After all, there should be no cost to you for using a real estate agent. They generally receive commissions from the owners of the properties they find tenants for. Lauren Pelley of CBC News recommends real estate agents and cites Toronto-based renter, Ben Singer as an advocate for them.

“Singer…swears by the real estate agent who did all the legwork,” she reports, “And he didn’t have to pay a penny for the service — the fees are actually paid by whoever is trying to rent out their unit.” Singer adds that real estate agents “have the capacity to filter out a lot of stuff and save you a lot of time.”

3. Seek out referrals.

Today’s consumer is very savvy. He/she will often look for word-of-mouth recommendations before making buying decisions. As well, most people will take to the internet to read online reviews about businesses before giving them their support. When looking for a place to live, this is a great strategy. Ask around. Try to attain information about living spaces from a variety of sources you trust, both online and offline.

4. Find a landlord who is a Single-Key customer!

At Single-Key, we make it so that once you’ve found the perfect place to rent, the rest is easy. That is, of course, if your landlord is a Single-Key customer. If so, we offer you payment flexibility like no other rental agreement can. At no cost to you (the monthly fee is paid by your landlord), you will be able to postpone your rent for a month and also be able to choose between cheque and Interac as your payment method!