Durham Region: Good Landlords. Good Tenants.

By: Lindsay Smith

Durham Region: Good Landlords. Good Tenants.


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Good Durham Region Landlords. Good Durham Region Tenants.
What makes a good landlord? Looking back over my life I have been both a tenant and a landlord, and funny enough I have been both at the same time.

I purchased a condo from the father of a gal I dated through high school and made a few “newbie” mistakes. I bought the property privately, and of course, being green with no experience I assumed I was a) paying market value and b) getting a quality tenant.

First off was the price, I did in fact pay the market price, thank goodness, and the second item did not go as
well as I had planned. I met the tenant who wore a suit and drove a Cadillac, and as a young 24-year-old, I thought he would be a good bet. Alas, the only rent I received from him was what he was ordered to pay by the (at the time) Landlord Tenant Tribunal.

When I purchased the condo the bank approved me for the purchase, however, I felt it was more than I could comfortably pay so at the same time I rented a 1-bedroom apartment about a 10-minute drive from the condo I bought. Hence, I was both a landlord and a tenant concurrently.

What I learned as a “green” landlord was that background checks are important, and that sometimes looks can be deceiving in the beginning I knew little about the laws governing tenancy but learned quickly what the rights are for both tenants and landlords.

In a perfect world, a tenant applies to rent an apartment or home and they pay their rent on time. Having had rentals for 30 years sometimes that happens and sometimes it goes sideways.

Let’s look at what makes a good landlord and a good tenant.

Landlord: When I think about the definition of a good landlord I visualize a person who does their due diligence by qualifying the candidates looking to rent space. They review credit history, and income and follow up with past landlords and references. What they are looking for is a candidate that has the ability to pay rent with a history of paying their other bills. Also, they are checking references to ensure that the candidate has been a good tenant for other landlords. The information that is requested is not meant to be intrusive, it just offers a picture of the history of the candidate and gives some insight as to how they will be if chosen as a tenant.
Tenant: When I look at the landlord from a tenant’s perspective, it seems simple what would make a tenant happy? Privacy. A renter wants to be able to occupy a space and have the landlord respect their privacy. Along with privacy, a landlord is responsive to any property-related issues. Appliances breaking down, issues with furnaces or air conditioning, any leaks, or issues with other tenants who occupy the same building.

I have seen instances when either side cause issues. Landlords who are difficult or impossible to reach when issues arise and I have experienced tenants who have difficulty paying rent and doing damage to the property. Unfortunately, bad tenants and landlords tend to make the headlines making it seem like rental-related issues are common. My experience is that “bad characters” are a rarity.

In my years of owning rentals and helping landlords rent their properties out, I have only had a handful of bad experiences. Most of the landlords I have worked with are “mom and pop” type landlords and rent clean, legal properties and are responsive to any property issues. As well, most of the tenants I have worked with pay on time and respect the space they are renting and the people they live nearby.

I recently had an experience that all landlords fear. I had a tenant occupying a legal basement apartment and he asked to be let of his lease early. We agreed and he changed his mind about staying until the end of the lease.  Prior to the tenant leaving, I toured the apartment (with his permission) to see if it needed to be repainted before the next tenant moved in. What I found was that the tenant did between $3,000 – 4,000 in damage to the property. He ended up moving out and I was forced to hire a contractor to repair the damage. I found a new tenant so far seems excellent, is respectful of the tenant upstairs, pays on time, and is a really super nice person. Sometimes you make a decision that doesn’t work out, but this person seems to be a good choice. All in all, we have rented this duplex out for years and this has been the only bad experience, so we feel fortunate.
More homes have been sold over the past few years that have become rental properties that are desperately needed to meet the demand, which will increase the chances of issues arising. The silent group that you never hear of is the tenants and landlords that get along and have a great relationship

With the Provincial Government encouraging inner-city multi-unit buildings, we will see more homes converted to duplexes and triplexes, and fingers crossed most of them will have happy owners and renters.

If you are curious about buying an investment property, or you are a tenant looking for a rental I can be reached at lindsay@buyselllove.ca

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