November 2018

Thinking of renting your basement suite? Tips for first-time landlords

(NC) A rental suite is a great way to help meet your mortgage payments and supplement your income as house prices creep up across Canada. If you’re looking to rent out your basement suite, consider these tips:

  1. Know the rental rules. In several Canadian cities, renting a basement suite is illegal. Although several people rent them out anyway without any trouble, know that if your suite is illegal you could be shut down. Provinces also have different rules when it comes to rentals, so make sure to be familiar with yours.
  2. Include perks. Make sure to include all utilities, along with perks such as cable and wi-fi, in your rent. If you’re already a subscriber, it will only cost you a few extra dollars a month. By keeping rent simple you will have one less thing for a tenant to complain about.
  3. Let your insurance know. You are legally bound to let your home insurance company know if you rent out a section of your home, although most people fail to do so. Otherwise, if anything were to happen, your insurance company could say they were not informed and void your policy.
  4. Record current conditions. Take the time to walk through the space with your tenant at the beginning and end of their lease. This visit allows you to document the condition of the property and note any existing damage at your tenants’ entry time and what would be attributable to them when leaving.
  5. Ask your tenant for a lease guarantee. This is a new way of protection from many of the risks of renting, reimbursing you quickly in case of a rent payment default or property damage. It also covers a higher value for damages. Whereas security deposits only cover up to one month’s rent, a lease guarantee from Locnest can pay up to $5,000.

In Ontario and Quebec, where security deposits are prohibited and landlords are left with little protection, a lease guarantee can act as a guarantor or co-signer with no charge to you since the service is paid for and arranged by the tenant.

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