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Find the Right Tenant

Published on by Hélène Chebroux
Filed under: Landlords

Giving house keysDo you own a duplex, live on the lower floor and would like to rent upper one? Do you own an investment property and have planned to rent it out as accommodation? How do you make sure you find a tenant who will guarantee you serenity and peace of mind?

There are several basic things to consider in your search for the ideal tenant:

Advertise your accommodation on the best platforms

The advert that you place has to actually attract the type of tenant you want, whether a young couple, a family or even students. For example, Kijiji  is a key web platform for rentals, however the lesser known Kangalou ensures a much higher quality of tenants. Social networks are also an excellent means of giving your accommodation visibility, but care should be taken since it will attract a wide variety of prospective tenants.

In addition, target the type of marketing you are going to implement, always depending on the type of candidate you want to attract: do you want to place a sign in order to attract the passers-by in the neighborhood, who are the sort of clientele that you would like to contact? Are you going to place an  advert in a local newspaper? Make paper posters? No matter what decision you take, it is worth remembering that word-of-mouth  still remains one of the most reliable ways to find a tenant.

Note: if you work with a real estate broker, they will be able to advise you on what marketing strategy to use, and of course the price to display, in addition to other advice. They will also be quite likely to be in contact with potential candidates to refer you.

Do your research

How do you ensure that the tenant is capable of honoring the terms of their contract and paying their rent? By carrying out a thorough credit check. Several companies will offer you various packages when you use their services, including Crédit Express or CORPIQ :  you can conduct the credit check “as deep as” you require. For example, ask for two references from former landlords instead of just one and do the same for job references. In addition to criminal records, these services provide you with Régie  records and any background information you may need.

Regarding previous landlords, you can simply call them yourself in order to obtain the information you require, directly, depending on the conversation with the person. In addition, ask your candidate for additional documents, and if applicable, ask them to write you a letter of intent: this is a rarely used but nevertheless very effective means of, for example, learning more about your candidate’s character and state of mind, and also checking their real motivation for living in the accommodation.

Meet the tenant

Meet the potential candidate: there is nothing better than meeting the prospective tenant who will live in your “home”. Even if they are actually capable of paying their rent, in some cases to a large extent, you have no means of actually knowing if their conduct will be what you hope it would. Ensure you take on a courteous tenant, who will take care of your property. If you are not present, it is clearly a risk to take. It also depends on whether that individual will live above your home in your duplex or in your building at the other end of the city; however, having to completely renovate the property after the departure of a negligent tenant is never pleasant. In both cases, meeting with them in person is still the best guarantee, provided you have a little intuition and question the person concerned.

Know how and when to delegate

If you do not have time to take care of certain aspects of the rental process, but still want to make sure that things are done properly, do not hesitate to hire the services of a real estate broker who will be able to provide you with advice and assist you in selecting a desirable tenant, according to the important criteria which you have specified to them, of course.

It is worth noting that real estate brokers usually charge a month’s rent to their clients who want to find the right tenant. You will have a complete folder on your tenant, including all the required documents which you will need to keep in the event of a  dispute at the Régie. You should however note that the real estate broker will handle the rental process up until the signing of the lease, following which you would need to handle the ensuing management or even delegate that aspect to a manager or a care taker.

For further advice on renting, do not hesitate to ask me any of your questions. Good luck with your search!

Hélène Chebroux is a residential real-estate agent and has been in the field for 8 years: now affiliated to Via Capitale du Mont-Royal, and proud owner of a Masters in Management from HEC Montréal, her professional activities revolve around her core values of sustainable development and eco-responsibility