As an owner, it is normal to be concerned about the process of renting out your property to tenants. You must now fill an important role which comes with its own set of duties and responsibilities. However, this experience does not need to be stressful or difficult. Generally, things go smoothly and everyone tends to mutually respect their responsibilities. Of course, there are ways to better ensure a positive experience. Here are the most important ways in which you can guarantee a smooth and enjoyable renting process.
Visiting the Apartment
Finding the right tenant to rent your space is one of the most important aspects of the process. It is crucial that you clearly lay out all expectations on the table and ask your potential tenant to do the same. Anything that you know should be fixed or changed in the apartment should be discussed prior to the lease signing and then written on the lease. It is also prudent to take detailed notes of the condition of the apartment through pictures or video. In doing so, you can avoid many potential confrontations later on. If you start with an honest and clear process from the beginning you will foster a sense of respect and trust from the get-go.
2. Collecting Personal Information
When you find a tenant, you are entrusted with some of their personal information and it is your responsibility as a homeowner to be respectful of your tenant’s right to privacy. How deeply people check their tenant’s background (i.e. basic information, credit score, employment or income) depends on each person. According to the Quebec Access to Information Commission (CAI), you may verify their identity by asking for a government-issued card, though you cannot take note of their numbers. You may also do a personality check by calling old employers or landlords, as well as a credit check if you have their consent.
3. Signing the Lease and Requesting Rent
It is legally mandatory that you sign an official lease from the Régie du Logement. This lease leaves a lot of room for you to be able to add your own special rules and requests, which can aid in giving you peace of mind when renting. Remember that you cannot require post-dated checks, but you may specify the way in which you wish to be paid on the lease. It is also legal to charge 6% interest monthly on late rent payments.
4. A Tenant’s Right to Stay in the Premises
The law states that a tenant may stay in their apartment as long as they continuously respect the conditions of their lease. However, under certain conditions, you may recover your apartment. For example, if you desire to live in the apartment yourself or decide to house family members. Remember that in these cases you must notify your tenants at least 6 months before the end of their lease.
5. Rent Increases
The Régie du Logement has a quick and helpful website for checking your allowed increase in rent every year. It is up to you if you wish to apply this increase or not. If you do, you must send a written notice to your tenant between 3-6 months before the end of their lease. They can then choose to either accept the increase, refuse it and leave or refuse it and resist from leaving. In the case of refusal, you may choose to go to the Régie du Logement within one month of receiving the refusal and the Régie will decide if your tenant’s refusal is legitimate.
6. The Controversial Question: Security Deposit?
While it may feel much more safe to require a security deposit in renting out an apartment, the law states that it is unfair to require tenants to spend more money than a normal monthly rent. At this time, you cannot require a security deposit, nor ask for an advance in the lease’s last month’s rent.
7. Everyday Difficulties with Tenants
If your tenants are not paying rent on time or disturbing the peace in your building, it is within your rights to request an intervention by the Régie du Logement. However, it is important that you do everything in your power to solve the matter beforehand. You must try to negotiate and mediate with your tenant first by trying to find a rent collection date compromise or reminding them of the importance of respect to the building and its other tenants. If they do not respond to these casual interactions, you may then give a formal notice in which the rules ignored are outlined, before requesting an official intervention by the Régie.
Much of what can guarantee a smooth renting experience is in your proper preparation and knowledge of your rights and responsibilities as a landlord. Knowing what to do if anything comes up and preparing for those moments effectively will surely be a tremendous help to the process of renting out your property.