Practice Safe Condo Renting

September 2016

With so many condo suites used as rental properties, it is in everyone’s best interest that condo owners renting their property make every effort to avoid “difficult” tenants who may be unable to pay their rent, ignore condo rules or be abusive to neighbours.

An effective screening process can help novice landlords avoid tenants they later on want to evict.

Ensure Tenant is Financially Stable or Require a Guarantor

One income tenants and those who frequently change jobs are at greatest risk of being unable to pay the rent. To protect against a tenant being unable to pay rent, seek out dual income tenants where their rent does not exceed 30% of their monthly income.

When renting to a student or individual with insufficient documented income, verified by a Letter of Employment or recent pay stubs, insist on their providing a guarantor.

Ask for and Check References

Bad tenants may provide fake references and coach them on how to respond to inquiries. There are ways to find out if you are being set up.

Check employment references. Call the employer to verify employment. The Internet makes it easy to obtain company information. LinkedIn can be used to verify a job title and length of employment although this should be verified by speaking with the employer.

When speaking with a former landlord reference, misstate the amount of time they lived with the landlord. Most fake references will agree to whatever time period you state. If the tenant states they lived in a house ask who owned it. A real estate lawyer can verify the name of the legal owner.

Do a Google search for the name of the prospective tenant. Other landlords may have posted information on bad tenants.

Learn the Habits of your Prospective Tenant

When possible, have them sign lease documents at their current residence in your presence. While this may be more work for you, it does allow you to see how they live. If their current residence is in a state of disrepair or unkempt, it is reasonable for you to expect the same of your property with them as a tenant. If this is unacceptable to you it may be best to terminate the relationship before it begins. If the prospective tenant avoids allowing you to see their current residence, this may be sign of potential future problems.

Following these steps will help to avoid renting your condo to tenants that you may later be forced to evict.


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