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.

Want to Learn How to Choose Better Tenants? Watch SingleKey’s Viler Lika Explain How with REIN

how-to-find-better-tenants-landlord-tips-video

Want tenant tips from some of Canada’s leading landlord and real estate experts? This past February, the Real Estate Investment Network’s (REIN) JG Francoeur and Patrick Francy sat down with our founder Viler Lika to talk about how SingleKey helps small everyday Canadian landlords better manage their rental properties by choosing the right tenants in order to reduce delinquency risk right at the start.

In the interview, we dive into the real costs of evicting tenants, and how SingleKey can really help landlords across Canada deal with one of the most stressful and costly experiences of their landlord journey. Francoeur and Francy bring up some good points as well. They ask how SingleKey determines the worthiness of a prospective tenant and why we never decline tenants based on credit score alone.

Some of the questions we answer in the interview are:

  1. What sort of expenses does home insurance not cover?

  1. How can SingleKey’s Rent Guarantee help you cover eviction expenses?

  1. Are the best tenants always the ones with the best credit scores?

  1. How detailed should you be with a tenant’s references?

The video also includes a detailed rundown of SingleKey Tenant Credit Check and Background Check. Viler explains how landlords can use the information they find here to find the best tenants and to support the gut feeling they may have about a prospective tenant. The tenant screening report goes far beyond a simple credit report. If you’ve been interested in seeing our comprehensive tenant credit and background check in action, this is a great time to see it explained in detail.

You can watch the entire video on Facebook Live below.

REIN is a news and resource company that helps thousands of Canadians protect their investments and better prepares them for navigating the challenges of managing a rental property. They offer Canadians unbiased real estate education and advice through webinars, a membership program, and a free weekly podcast called “The Everday Millionaire.” REIN has been featured on CNN, The Globe and Mail, and CTV Canada.

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.

Cost of Evicting a Tenant: the Ultimate Guide for Canadian Landlords

cost of evictions in Canada
cost of evictions in Canada

Delinquent tenants are arguably the biggest risk a landlord faces when they decide to invest in rental property. While landlords try their best to screen for good tenants to keep their rental income secure, sometimes the unexpected can still happen. Landlords still have to deal with evictions when they end up with delinquent tenants who may not pay their rent or may even damage the property.

So how do landlords evict tenants in Canada? What does the eviction process look like and how much does it actually cost to remove a delinquent tenant?

When calculating the cost of evicting a tenant, Canadian landlords need to keep three things in mind:

A. Loss of Rental Income During Evictions

The only recourse that landlords have to deal with non-payment of rent and tenants who refuse to leave the unit is to go through the provincial tribunal or court to file for tenant eviction.

The problem is that the process of eviction in most provinces suffers mainly from long delays due to a high backlog of hearings. So it takes a long time  to carry out eviction procedures from start to finish.

The duration of the eviction process in Canada depends on three things:

Statutory Delays

Statutory delays are periods of time that a landlord must wait before they can apply to their provincial tribunal or court to remove a tenant. This set number of days differs in each province.

The purpose of these additional wait times is to give tenants the opportunity to pay any outstanding rent owed to a landlord. If the set number of days passes, the landlord can then apply for an eviction order on the grounds of non-payment of rent.

How long does it take to evict a tenant for non-payment of rent in each province?

In British Columbia, a landlord must issue a 10-day notice to end tenancy for unpaid rent when a landlord fails to pay rent by the agreed upon date. Within the 10 days, if the tenant fails to pay the outstanding balance of rent, a landlord must wait the respective 10 days before they can apply to the Residential Tenancy Branch to claim the lost rental income.

When a landlord wishes to remove a tenant in Alberta, the landlord is to serve the tenant with a 14- day notice to vacate the unit.

In Saskatchewan when a tenant is 15 days late to paying rent, the landlord has the right to immediately end the tenancy by serving the tenant with an eviction notice.

In Manitoba a landlord is entitled to evict a tenant 5 days after the rent is due. On the 5th day, the landlord can ask the tenant to vacate the unit and has full discretion in determining how soon the tenant should vacate the unit.

The average amount of time given to tenants to allow them to leave is between 5 and 10 additional days (this is at the discretion of the landlord as there is no guidance on this).

In Ontario, eviction proceedings take at least 25 days.

First, a landlord must issue a Termination Notice (N4 Form) when the tenant is late on rent, then they have to wait 14 days to file an application for eviction (L1 Form) with the Landlord and Tenant Board to evict the tenant.

In addition to this initial 14 days, and unlike any other province, there is also a statutory requirement that the landlord must wait an additional 11 days to allow the tenant to either pay the outstanding balance or vacate the unit before the landlord is allowed to hire a sheriff to enforce the standard order.

In Quebec, the landlord must wait 3 weeks from when the payment was initially due before filing to evict a tenant. Once a tenant is 21 days late, the landlord can then apply to the Tribunal to end the tenancy, remove the tenant, and recover the lost rent.

Following the application for eviction after 21 days, if the tenant pays the outstanding balance to the landlord before the Tribunal reaches a conclusion, then the termination of the tenancy is avoided.

In Nova Scotia, a landlord can only serve a delinquent tenant with a notice after their rent is 15 days late. Further, a landlord must wait an additional 15 days from the date the tenant is handed the eviction notice before the eviction can be carried out, totalling a minimum of 30 days of mandatory wait time before a tenant can be evicted.

In PEI, a landlord can issue a notice to evict the tenant as soon as rent is 1 day late. The tenant then has 20 days to vacate the unit. If they manage to pay the outstanding balance within 10 days, then the eviction notice is invalidated.

Similar to PEI, in New Brunswick the landlord can issue an eviction notice to a tenant as soon as rent is 1 day late. The tenant then has 15 days to vacate the unit.

In Newfoundland when a tenant is 5 days late in paying rent, a landlord will then serve a tenant with notice that the tenancy has ended, and the tenant then has 10 days to vacate the unit amounting to an average of 15 days for the entire eviction process.

Court Delays

Court delays are the length of time between the issuing of the notice to the tenant or filing with the provincial tribunal, to when an arbitrator issues a decision. These numbers include any delays in scheduling a hearing date, and any delays in the arbitration proceedings including the amount of time it takes to release a decision.

How long does it take to get an eviction court order?

In British Columbia, after a landlord files the appropriate 10-day notice to end tenancy for unpaid rent and a tenant has not paid all outstanding rent or vacated the unit, the landlord must then proceed to claim the unpaid rent amount with the provincial tribunal (the RTB).

In BC, the tribunal can take 1-2 weeks to schedule a hearing for the two parties to plead their case depending on the availability of arbitrators and their caseload. Following the end of the arbitration, the tribunal will make the final decision within 30 days of the hearing.

In Alberta, it can take as little as 5 days to as much as 48 days for a landlord to have a hearing scheduled. On average, it takes 25 days after filing a dispute to get a hearing scheduled. Following the conclusion of the hearing, it takes an additional 10 days for the arbitrator to reach a final and binding decision. Depending on the outcome of the possession order, a landlord may further need to wait between 10 to 30 days before they can regain possession of the unit.

In Saskatchewan, due to the lighter caseload, hearings are scheduled approximately 7 days from when the claim is brought the tribunal.

Manitoba’s court system adds an additional 15 days in lost time. This is because it takes approximately 12 days for the hearing to be scheduled. Following the hearing, the arbitrators release the final outcome after 3 days.

Ontario’s court delays total an average of 51 days. It takes 14 days for the provincial tribunal to schedule a hearing. When the hearing date is set, it is typically scheduled for 4-6 weeks later.

Similar to Ontario, Quebec’s tribunal system is subject to heavy delays. It can take up to 3 months in some cases for a tribunal to release a final decision. However, on average, it takes 30 days for a final and binding decision to be made.

For Nova Scotian landlords, it can take up to an additional 20 days to receive a verdict for eviction. This is a combination of delays in scheduling the hearing and waiting for a conclusion by the arbitrator to be reached. 

In PEI, the provincial tribunal prioritises eviction hearings over other landlord-tenant disputes. So hearings are scheduled between 7 – 10 days after the landlord brings forth the claim to the tribunal.

New Brunswick boasts the shortest court delay length across Canada. Landlords there face shorter wait times as it takes an average of 5 days for the court to issue their decision.

In Newfoundland, after requesting a hearing at the Residential Tenancies, there is an additional 14 day wait before the hearing is conducted. While the average length of delay is 14 days, tenants, in some cases, can have up to 18 days to file an appeal and have the case reconsidered.

Sheriff Delays

Following the eviction decision from the court, landlords need to also account for the time it’ll take to hire a sheriff to enforce an order of possession or court order to remove a non-paying tenant and allow a landlord to re-possess his unit.

How long does a sheriff take to evict a tenant?

In every province except for Ontario, it takes between 1-6 days for the sheriff to enforce an eviction. However, in Ontario, due to the backlog of cases in the LTB there is also a high demand for sheriffs to enforce evictions. Therefore, following the issuing of an order to allow a landlord to regain possession of the unit, and following the statutory waiting period of 11 days to allow the tenant to move out of the unit, if the tenant does not leave, it takes an average of 30 days more for an Ontario landlord to hire a sheriff to uphold the eviction order.

This statistic is one of the key reasons why the process of carrying out an eviction in Ontario is longer than any other province. While we see the average across the country is only 4 days, in Ontario this process takes approximately 8 times longer than in the rest of Canada.

How Long Does the Eviction Process Take in Total?

It takes between 2 weeks to 3 months to remove a delinquent tenant (depending on what province you reside in). The province with the longest procedural delays during an eviction is Ontario and the province that has the shortest delays is Saskatchewan.

So how much rent in total can a landlord expect to lose?

You can calculate the total amount of rent a landlord expects to lose while going through the eviction process using this formula:

TOTAL LOST RENT $ = AVG EVICTION TIME (+1 MONTH TO FIND A NEW TENANT) X AVG MONTHLY RENT $

To determine the total cost in lost rent when faced with a delinquent tenant, it is important to consider what the monthly average monthly rent and utilities are in each province:

On top of not receiving rent for multiple months, a landlord can expect to spend an additional 1 extra month to post ads, screen, and sign a lease with a new tenant. This does not include any time spent repairing any possible damages to the property by the delinquent tenant.

This lost income also does not include extra costs such as legal expenses, court fees, etc that may be incurred during eviction proceedings.

The average landlord renting a 1-bedroom unit can expect to lose between $2,000 to $4,000 worth of rent while going through the eviction process. In Ontario, landlords are subject to much higher losses as Ontario landlords can expect to lose $9,000 in rent! This is due to the lengthy eviction process in Ontario (3 to 5 month) combined with the higher avg. rent prices.

B. Eviction Legal Costs

In addition to the rental income that landlords lose during the process of evicting a tenant, they also spend thousands of dollars in legal costs.

There are 3 types of legal costs:

Legal Fees

Legal expenses mainly include the cost of hiring a paralegal to deal with a case on behalf of a landlord. Paralegals will file relevant paperwork, handle the eviction hearing and any other negotiations that may be necessary throughout the process.

Legal Costs For Eviction in Canada

In British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, the average landlord spends between $700- $800 to hire a paralegal to carry out the eviction process. 

However, in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, PEI, and Newfoundland, the average landlord spends approximately $400 – $500 on legal expenses over the course of an eviction.

Unsurprisingly, Ontario and Quebec are the most expensive provinces in relation to hiring legal assistance due to longer eviction processes. In Ontario legal fees cost $2,000 on average and in Quebec they cost $1,000 on average.

Court Fees

Court fees are the payment to be made to the court or a tribunal in order to file a claim or order to evict a tenant. Generally, the average spend for court applications is between $50 to $100. Ontario, once again, remains as the outlier as the cost to file an application with the LTB for eviction is $175 (nearly twice as much as the next most expensive province).

Sheriff Fees

The cost of hiring a sheriff to enforce an order to remove a tenant widely varies across Canada. The average amount ranges between $100 – $200. In Ontario, due to the high demand for sheriffs, a landlord must also spend approximately $400 before a tenant is removed by a sheriff. On the other hand, landlords in Newfoundland, PEI, and New Brunswick pay a measly $50 – $75 for the same service.

C. Estimated Property Damage Costs

Lost rental income is one of the scariest expenses that a landlord can face. The only thing that can make a landlord’s job harder is when a delinquent tenant damages their property before vacating the unit.

In Canada, 1 in 6 eviction cases includes a claim for compensation for damages to the unit in addition to lost rent. The average landlord claims between $1,500 to $3,500 in court against a tenant for damages caused to their unit.

Damages caused to a landlord’s unit tend to extend the waiting time and the amount of losses that a landlord suffers before they are able to find a new tenant and begin renting the unit out once again. It can take 1-2 weeks just to do simple repairs to the property. Landlords may not be able to recover the full amount of damages from the tenant in court so they may still be left with some expenses to cover out of pocket.

What is the total cost of eviction?

In all Canadian provinces, even the least expensive ones, the costs of eviction can be substantial. From the many days it takes to begin eviction proceedings to the additional months it takes to remove a tenant; landlords lose an average of 2 months (60+ days) of rental income going through the process. They also have to account for an extra 1 month of lost rental income till they find a new tenant.

The average cost shouldered by landlords across Canada is between $4,000 to $5,000 in eviction expenses. These costs can even reach $11,000 in more expensive provinces with lengthy processes such as Ontario.

How do landlords protect their rental income and keep renting risk-free?

For a landlord to protect themselves and their unit, the first step to be taken is to perform a proper tenant screening when signing a new lease.

Tenant screening services offer financial insight into the tenant’s history. Some services, like SingleKey offer a comprehensive  Tenant Credit and Background Check in Canada that includes a full credit check, as well as a background check and a social media scan. All this information comes wrapped in one report, and you can get started in just 5 minutes.

For landlords who are looking for additional peace of mind and protection for their unit, products such as the SingleKey Rent Guarantee program offer just that. The SingleKey Rent Guarantee Program protects landlords from losing rental income by guaranteeing up to $60,000 worth of coverage.

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.

Best Practices for Finding Good Tenants

landlord tips for rental tenant screening and finding good tenants
landlord tips for rental tenant screening and finding good tenants

Finding good tenants could really save you a lot of headaches. Paid rent, no damage, complaints and  even more time for family and friends. It is always worth investing the extra time and effort to find a good tenant.

Although it may seem like a complicated process, it comes down to 2 things:

1) Having interested applicants to choose from 

2) Screening for the best applicants

This step-by-step article will focus on helping you put your best foot forward when marketing your rental listing.

Best Practices for Finding Good Tenants

Step 1: Say Cheese! Start with Great Photos

That’s right, take photos that people want to see. Landlords and property managers need to learn how to take good rental photos.

The purpose of these photos is to intrigue people to come and check out your rental property. In the rental market you are competing against similar listings and your unit’s photos are the first opportunity to make a good impression.

Your rental’s photos should provide a complete view of your unit. Make sure to showcase the appearance and size of your property. Angles are important. Be strategic with how you take your property’s pictures to really display the space and layout in the rental unit.

Make sure that your rental property is cleaned and ready to be rented. No one will be interested in a household with dirty laundry on the floor and paint that is already peeling off the walls.

 

Once the rental unit looks great, take photos with bright lighting, ideally during a sunny day, and consider having all the lights on.

landlord tips for finding good tenants

 

By helping your potential applicants know what to expect, it will usually be the most interested tenants that come to the viewing and provide their information.

Step 2: List Your Unit on the Top Rental Sites

Around 43 million Americans and 4.4 million Canadians live in rental housing. This means that there will always be people looking for a place to live, especially in urban areas. 

It is your goal now to get as much exposure as possible to your listing in order to find qualified tenants who are ready to move in. 

Here are some of the best free rental listings sites to advertise your property:

When working on your rental advertisement, follow this format for greater traction.

        • Attention-grabbing headline
        • Highlights of your property (Size, bedrooms, bathrooms, etc.)
        • Location (approximate/intersection)
        • Detailed description of your rules, fees and any other important information

When posting your rental’s photos, make sure to include a description of your property and your expectations. This will separate the interested viewers from the not so interested ones. 

Step 3: Pre-Screen Tenants and Schedule a Viewing

After hearing back from interested applicants, let all of the candidates know that you will be holding viewings on a specified date (preferably weekends). This saves time and is more efficient than having daily viewings.

Before inviting a rental applicant to a viewing, make sure to ask a few pre-screening questions, to avoid wasting time on tenants who will not qualify. Some key questions you should ask from the get-go are:

        • Their monthly income (to determine affordability)
        • Their credit scores (to estimate risk)
        • Their preferred move-in date (to save time)

Keep in mind, a lot of the time the viewing is the moment where the tenant decides whether or not they would like to rent out your property. With that said, make sure to:

        • See that the appliances are working in order as well as light bulbs, doors, etc.
        • Remove unnecessary furniture and items for a more spacious look.
        • Air out the unit with some fresh air before your showing.
        • If necessary, repaint the walls of the property.

COVID Alert! Virtual Tours

Note that in many regions, viewings are now done online due to COVID. Many landlords are doing Virtual Tours via video calls so that they can walk through and show the unit while chatting with the prospective tenant and answering their questions in real time. 

Step 4: Follow the Fair Housing Act

The law states that you can not discriminate against a wide array of people and behaviors. This means that questions regarding certain subjects must not be asked, including:

        • Origin
        • Religion
        • Gender
        • Race and Colour
        • Disabilities
        • Marital status

As a landlord you are responsible to follow this act and can face serious penalties if you do not. 

Also keep in mind that by discriminating against certain people, you may be missing out on a great tenant.

Step 5: Rental Application Form and References

Knowing exactly what to include in a rental application form can be difficult. Without the right information on the form, the application can make your decision challenging.

For this reason we included a list of the most important things to ask for.

  • Applicant information:
        • Personal Information (Name, Address, Date of Birth, Contact Info)
        • Credit Score
        • Pets
        • Smoking
        • Employment/Occupation/Income
        • ID/Driver’s License
  • Consent for Credit Check: Running a Tenant Background & Credit Check in Canada has become standard practice when renting, and most tenants will expect it. So, make sure to have a consent clause in your rental application form.
  • Proof of Income: In the form of recent pay stubs, employment letters or bank statements. This is critical to ensure employment and sufficient income to pay the rent.
  • Employment References: Asking for the applicant’s employment history and a reference from their manager will give you an idea of whether or not they are stable.
  • Previous Rental History: More often than not applicants will have previous history that you can learn from. By asking for this information and contacting the previous landlord you can ask about rent payments as well as the condition of their home.

    By having this information about the applicants, you will generally have a great understanding of their tendencies and whether you would like them to live in your property.  

    More importantly, rental applications will make it clear what type of applicants you should generally decline.

You may still receive applicants that do not meet all of your qualifications, but they can explain why they still proceeded with the application if this was the case.

Step 6: Do Not Settle!

Finding a worthy tenant is not an easy task, and if you do not feel confident about your applicants, there is no need to move forward with them.

Rental Property Landlords Tenant screening services

Finding good tenants is a marathon not a race. Invest the time and effort to find good tenants because it will save you a lot of stress and headaches that can result from dealing with a problematic tenant. Sometimes it may be worth losing a month of rent due to a vacancy to take the time to find the right tenant.

Evicting a delinquent tenant can cost a landlord thousands of dollars in lost rent, damages and legal fees – as well as significant time and stress. If you want to avoid these headaches and have complete peace of mind, consider enrolling in a Rent Guarantee Program.

Goodluck, and happy renting!

Advice for Landlords: How to Work with Tenants during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Keys in hand in black glove. Use alcohol spray to corona virus and kill germs at the key of the house or office regularly. Covid-19 ncov or coronavirus quarantine concept.

Keys in hand in black glove. Use alcohol spray to corona virus and kill germs at the key of the house or office regularly. Covid-19 ncov or coronavirus quarantine concept.

In Canada, several individuals and businesses are reeling from the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic. In a recent poll, a jaw-dropping 44% of Canadian residents report that either themselves or someone living in their households has lost a job. Alarmingly, an additional 18% of people expect to lose their employment or have their hours cut in the near future as well.

The impact of these immense layoffs or reduced work hours on rent payment is likely to be felt from April 2020 and expected to linger much longer, due to the expected economic slowdown in the next 12 months. With recurring bills such as mortgage payments, utility bills and other financial obligations, how can landlords and their tenants weather this storm without rancour?

Tenants who are having difficulty making their rent payment can utilize the Canadian Government’s Emergency Response Benefits (CREB) to supplement their income. As well, landlords can also consider utilizing the Mortgage Deferral Program to defer rental payments. Certain provinces are also providing additional support to counteract the economic impact of the pandemic on their residents.

Government Funding Available to Renters who have been impacted

The COVID-19 Economic Response Plan, introduced to provide Canadian residents with temporary income to handle obligatory expenses.
Some of the relief measures which renters can take advantage of include:

  • The Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) which makes provision of $500 weekly for up to 16 weeks for Canadian residents who qualify
  • The Canada Child Care Benefit Boost of up to $300 per child for the 2019-2020 year
  • Delay of debt payment without interest or penalties, to the Canada Revenue Agency until August 31st
  • Six-month interest-free reprieve on student loan payments
  • Provision of relief measures by Canadian big banks, including postponing line of credit payments
  • Reducing required minimum withdrawals from Registered Retirement Income Funds (RRIFs) by 25% for 2020, in recognition of volatile market conditions and their impact on many seniors’ retirement savings. This will provide flexibility to seniors that are concerned that they may be required to liquidate their RRIF assets to meet minimum withdrawal requirements.

Additional Provincial Support

British Columbia: The B.C. emergency benefit for workers will provide a one-time, tax-free, $1,000 payment for B.C. residents whose ability to work has been affected due to COVID-19. Additionally, a $500/month rent relief is being provided as part of a Temporary Rental Support Program. This rent relief will be paid directly to landlords to ensure they continue receiving rent.

Ontario: Parents of children who have been affected by closure of schools and daycare are being offered a one-time payment of $200 per child.

New Brunswick: One time payments of $900 is to be made to eligible workers who have lost their jobs as a result of COVID-19.

Alberta: Emergency isolation support has been provided for Albertans who have to self-isolate. Other supportive measures for Albertans include a 90-day payment deferral for utility bills and a 6-month interest-free student loan repayment deferral.

I am Worried about Mortgage Payment; What Can I Do?

As a landlord who relies on the rent for mortgage payment, you might be worried about how non-payment of rent by your tenant(s) could affect your ability to make mortgage payments. In this case, the new Mortgage Deferral Program offered by Canadian banks and mortgage lenders can help increase your flexibility to accommodate tenants having difficulty making their rent payments. 

How Does the Mortgage Deferral Program Work?

Through the Mortgage Deferral Program, the Canadian Government aims to help homeowners whose monthly source of income (e.g. rent, a job) has been affected by the pandemic and as a result, are unable to make monthly mortgage payments.

This program ensures that mortgage payments can be suspended for up to 6 months once an agreement has been reached between the lender and the homeowner. Once the agreement period has elapsed, all missed payments are repaid- inclusive of any accumulated interest and mortgage payments resume as previously scheduled.

Any homeowner who wants to use the Mortgage Deferral Program should realize however, that it does not result in the cancellation of any amount owed on mortgages, and any interest accrued will be repaid. Hence, if you can make your mortgage payments without getting mortgage deferral, it is advisable to do so.

As a landlord, if your mortgage is insured by the CMHC, you can simply contact your mortgage lender to take advantage of this benefit, as CMHC-insured homes have been cleared to get mortgage deferral on request. However, if your home isn’t insured by CMHC, you would have to contact your lender to find out what options are available to you.    

“Can I Charge Interest or Late Fees on Late Rent?”

The answer is that in some provinces, Yes, you can charge late rent fees, but you probably should waive these fees for tenants during this difficult time.

Residential tenancy agreements are province specific. In British Columbia for instance, landlords can charge certain fees for late rent payment, this is also dependent on the lease agreement that the tenant signs with their landlords. As an adjustment to the pandemic in Alberta, late fees or interest cannot be applied to late rent payment until June 30th. In Ontario on the other hand, landlords cannot charge penalties on late rent, instead they’d have to issue an eviction notice if payment is late. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, no new eviction orders can be issued, and scheduled enforcement of current orders has been postponed.

More importantly, despite your ability to charge penalties for late rent, we do recommend that landlords be sympathetic to the circumstances that many tenants are facing and waiving these fees is a great way to build goodwill with your tenants and to not add to their financial strain.

I Need to Find a New Tenant; What Extra Precautions Should I Take?

Since this is a difficult period for many tenants, the Landlord and Tenant Board has been closed and evictions halted. What this means is that until the quarantine period is over and the courts re-open, you would be unable to evict a tenant for non-payment of rent. When the courts reopen, we expect that there will be a backlog of eviction hearings which will likely result in hearing delays of 6 to 8 months or more. All of these factors increase the risk that landlords take on, so if you must get a new tenant, be sure to run a very thorough background check.

For tenant verification, you can conduct a thorough Credit and Background Check with SingleKey, so that you have all the information you need to make a decision.  This report also includes a scan of the applicant’s social media public accounts; and a public document scan that searches for criminal records, negative press, court decisions, public biographies and past employment records of the applicant to help you determine if you’d be comfortable proceeding with their tenancy application. We also strongly suggest getting proof of income from tenants and ensuring that the rent does not exceed 45% of the gross household income as this is the best indicator of the tenant’s ability to pay rent.

Going through this process can be quite tasking if you are a busy person. This is why we recommend to hire an experienced realtor to help you find and sign a quality tenant.

Is there a way to protect my rental income from tenant non-payment of rent?

As a landlord, if you are relying on rental income as your primary income source, or relying on rent to cover mortgage costs, you can use insurance to mitigate the risk of non-payment of rent by your tenant.  With The SingleKey Rent Guarantee program, you can secure your rental income and also protect your property from vandalism or willful damage. 

Since many tenants unfortunately live paycheck to paycheck, we are seeing a spike in tenant rent payment default due to the impact of COVID-19 on the economy and the resulting job loss and reduced work hours. Therefore this is a great time to consider enrolling in a Rent Guarantee Program. 

Note that tenants are required to have employment in order to be approved for this program; so make sure to enroll in the Rent Guarantee Program as soon as possible, before your tenant(s) are impacted by the slowing economy.

Conclusion

With many tenants having to delay their rent payments and laws enacted against eviction in most provinces, it is very important to make some adjustments as a landlord during this pandemic. Take advantage of government benefit programs and if you have to, utilize the Mortgage Deferral Program to delay your mortgage payments over the next few months. If you need to fill a vacancy, make sure to conduct a thorough background check, preferably with the help of an experienced realtor. Finally, most people are going through a difficult period now, and showing empathy towards tenants is very admirable in these uncertain times.

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!

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!