What do you do when you get a complaint or request from a tenant that you have never had before?
How do you know the quality of the tenant you are renting your property too?
Who can make sense of the intricacies of the Ontario Residential Tenancies Act to ensure you are not being taken advantage of?
These are questions that we have all faced at one time or another, and there are simple resources that are easily accessible to help us with many different situations.
Here are some of our favorites you should know about.
As investors, we are routinely faced with situations that are new to us. Sometimes they will make for unbelievable stories to our friends, and sometimes they could be a pain in the butt as well.
Often what determines if it is a comical situation, or something that is a nuisance, is the level of knowledge we have about it.
The Landlord’s Self Help Centre is the first place we go when we are faced with a scenario we haven’t encountered before.
Whether it is trying to understand the best way to deal with a tenant issue, or how to properly submit a tax receipt for rent, they have helped in many different situations.
They are a non-profit, legal clinic, that is focused on working with Ontario’s small scale landlords.
They have a membership fee that is $25 per year, or $150 for a lifetime membership, which is well worth it.
Whenever you have some sort of question around Landlord Tenant Issues they are only a phone call away and available to answer questions for you.
Try setting up the same service with your lawyer for $25 a year!
2) Landlord Tenant Board
Some investors look at the Landlord Tenant Board as the evil empire. As a group of people that do everything they can to empower tenants and knock down landlords.
Our experiences have taught us that couldn’t be further from the truth.
We will reach out to the LTB with questions about the Ontario Residential Tenancies Act regularly and often get some valuable tips.
Even if we know the answer to our question or have gotten an opinion somewhere else, we will contact them just to confirm what we are thinking.
There is something to be aware of though. Most likely your call will be answered by a customer service representative that may not be 100% sure of their answer, but they will still give you one.
Sometimes you need to ignore it and phone back later in the day to try and speak to someone more knowledgeable.
It is unfortunate, but there have been times where we have gotten different answers from different people.
It is one of the reasons we always look for insights from multiple sources.
3) Credit Check Service
We use www.RentCheckCorp.com, primarily because we were grand fathered in at reduced pricing, but there are many different services you can use.
One of the mortgage brokers we work with will run credit checks for any potential tenants as an add on service for using him to get your mortgage but there is a 24 to 48 hour turnaround.
It isn’t their primary business so it’s to be expected.
Personally, we have never used someone else to run our credit reports. To us, it’s not worth the wait.
We want to know if we have a good potential tenant right away so we can follow up with them and collect money or we can focus on getting more people to the property, and waiting 48 hours to find out just doesn’t work for us.
If you do a quick Google search you will find multiple different services. (Tip: Be sure you are searching for Canadian services)
Here are a few we have used in the past that have worked well.
Keep in mind that some of these services require you to sign up as a member to ensure you are using their services for legitimate reasons. Although there are no fees for this, it may take a couple of days so you may want to do that before you anticipate using their services.
4) Reliable Property Management Options
As you grow your portfolio you may decide to pull yourself away from the day to day management of some of your properties. Or perhaps something comes up that is a better investment of your time.
Prior to having our own property management company we met with multiple property managers and even tested them out with small tasks to gain a contact that we could lean on if something came up and we were in a situation where we couldn’t address it.
Generally, property managers, having a defined area they operate in, so if you invest in multiple areas that aren’t nearby you may need more than one.
5) Investor Support
The longer you invest in real estate it is inevitable that you will start to build relationships with others that do the same.
It could be people that invest in properties close to you, peers you meet at events like our Rock Star Member Event and VIP dinners, investors you meet as you research other opportunities, or anyone else.
First hand insights from people with experience are invaluable and we have reached out to many investors we know in the past for guidance.
Your own personal network will take time to build, but it is not only valuable you can also benefit from a couple beers or a glass of wine when asking for help. Sometimes it’s needed.