Toronto Income Property Newsletter: August 2012

Newsletter: August 2012

I’m starting to hear a lot of talk out there about the Toronto market finally starting to cool. Some experts think that the decline in the July numbers are indicative of the market finally starting to soften – something that many have predicted would happen and have been waiting for.

My stance is that it is simply too early to tell. I need to see what the inventory, # of sales and overall prices look like a few weeks after Labour Day. We are in the dog days of summer, traditionally a slower time of year and it has been particularly hot. Many top agents are on holidays and a lot of Sellers are waiting for the fall to list.

I am personally still experiencing multiple offers on income properties so I’ll probably be the last to know when the market actually does turn. Look to the resale condo market – I believe that is where you will see the first signs of trouble. Income-generating properties are always in demand in Toronto, so when the market does turn, these properties will suffer the least, if at all.

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Being a landlord is often quite a straight-forward endeavour. Many figure that you just buy a rental property and then simply rent it out. If only it were that simple. There are several things, while they seem just like common sense, that you will be responsible for once you become a landlord:
Keeping the home in good repair: You must repair and maintain the home and obey local health, safety and maintenance standards. You are responsible for repairs even if the tenant knew about problems before agreeing to rent the home. Tenants are responsible for any damage that they or their guests cause. This is often part of your agreement with your insurance provider.
Maintaining common areas: You are responsible for cleaning and maintaining the common or shared areas of the building, such as hallways and yards. You are also responsible for removing snow from driveways, walkways, etc. Quite often an arrangement may be made with the tenant for them to look after this, but you have to make sure that this is addressed.
Providing access to vital services: You must provide access to hot and cold water, electricity, heat and fuel (e.g. natural gas). You cannot shut-off these services, even if the tenant has not paid rent. You may shut-off these services temporarily only to make repairs. You and your tenant can agree that they will pay for these utilities directly.
Heat: You must provide heat in the rental unit from September 1 – June 15. During this period, the minimum temperature is 20C. Some cities and towns set additional requirements. You can check with your local government to find out more about minimum heat standards in your community.
Providing documents: You must provide your tenant with a copy of the lease or tenancy agreement, and written notice of your legal name and address. If the tenant requests rent receipts, you must provide them. You cannot charge a fee for any of these documents.
Remember my motto. Good landlords make good tenants. Do not be derelict in you duties and where possible try to do a little extra. Treat your tenants with respect and your experience as a landlord will be a great one.

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Now that you know what you will be responsible for with your new tenant, what are some of the items that you should look after inside and out that will ensure your suite shows as best as possible.

EXTERIOR

– Make sure your suite is in good repair
-House number easy to read
-Eaves troughs, down spouts, and soffits in good repair
-Garage/car port clean and tidy
-Litter picked up
-Cracked or broken window panes replaced
-Lawns and hedges cut and trimmed, garden weeded and edged
-Walks shovelled and salted
-Boot tray inside front door
-Doorbell and door hardware in good repair
-Porch and foyer clean and tidy

I believe that how a place looks on the outside will often be indicative of how it will look on the inside.
INTERIOR
-Chipped plaster and paint touched-up and replaced
-Doors and cupboards properly closed
-Leaky taps and toilets repaired
-Burned out lightbulbs replaced
-Squeaky doors oiled
-Mirrors, fixtures, and traps cleaned and polished
-Seals around tubs and basins in good repair
-Floors cleaned, garbage containers empty
-Inside of closets and cupboards neat and tidy
-Appliances cleaned
-Countertops neat and polished
-All lights turned on
-Air conditioner turns on in warm weather
-Fresh air in house
-Fireplace lit in cooler weather
-Halls and stairs cleaned
-Drapes opened during daylight
-Carpets freshly vacuumed
-Fresh flowers in various rooms
-Jewelry and valuables locked safely away or taken with you
-Valuable property, such as objects of art, vases, and figurines out of reach, out of sight, or locked away
-Pets absent, where possible, or contained during showings, and litter boxes clean

If you are not a neatnik, then hire professional cleaners to come in beforehand. Like staging a home for sale, making sure that your rental apartment looks great will ensure your best chance for success.

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