Simple rules for renting
Tips for sustainable neighbourhood landlords:
1). A criminal record check in Canada is a complicated invasive business that no reasonable landlord could require, but a court records check can serve a similar purpose and can be done online for free at court services online BC.
2). A credit check service can be a hassle to sign up for, but the effort is all front-loaded. Once you find a reasonably priced service and do the paperwork, credit checks are easy and very valuable. Putting “criminal record check, credit check” in your ad but not following through keeps the honest people honest and leaves one open to professional problem tenants. Follow through.
3). Both tenants and landlords are happiest with a long-term lease. For landlords, specifying a “fixed term” lease that “ends” and must be renegotiated before a tenant can extend their stay provides an excellent way to make sure accountability doesn’t go out the window after a lease is signed. This needs to be declared and acknowledged by all parties to be fair and effective. In the worst case this should function as a handy “escape clause” for a landlord in trouble with unruly tenants that disrupt the neighbourhood.
4). Specify in writing how many people are allowed to be living in the property and what happens if more move in. Take vehicles and parking availability into account with who you choose and how you advertise.
5). Verify all references, and check those references in some fashion to confirm they are who they say they are. Being able to call the published company switchboard, or to ask an owner for the postal code for a property, or checking Google maps or other online resources for details of a property can all help spot fake references which are a huge warning sign.
I’ll be posting an expanded “Tips for Sustainable Neighbourhood Landlords” with a few more details at www.landlordsbc.com and would consider putting up a neighbourhood forum there if there was interest in creating a dialogue.
C. Novak, Clayton Heights