Want to Rent Out a Suite in Your Home? The Beginners Guide to Being a Landlord

Posted by Rick Clarke on Wednesday, May 14th, 2014 at 11:19am.

So you have a home with a rentable suite, and you're finally ready to take the necessary steps to becoming a landlord. Congratulations! As you might have guessed, there are certain precautions you must take when renting out a suite in your home, and the task should be taken seriously to ensure everything runs smoothly. Renting out a part of your home, however, can have great financial benefits.

RTA: Familiarize Yourself With the Rules

When it comes to just about anything in life, knowledge is king; becoming a landlord in Vancouver is no exception to the rule. Before you start looking for a tenant or preparing your suite to be rented, take the time to familiarize yourself with the Residential Tenancy Act. This is the law in British Columbia that covers the rules and responsibilities of tenants and landlords. Being a landlord in British Columbia, though it will surely benefit you financially, also means having legal responsibilities to your tenant. Renting out a suite in your home or the home in its entirety is considered a business in the eyes of the Residential Tenancy Act. Therefore, take this commitment seriously, and understand your responsibilities and duties as a landlord.

Preparing Your Suite for Rent

First and foremost, well before looking for a tenant or taking pictures, you’ll want to ensure that your suite is ready to be rented, both by code and by comfortability. Read over the guidelines for renting out your authorized, legal, or fully finished basement suite, and ensure that all electric and plumbing is up to code. If you have an unauthorized suite, you may be required to bring it up to code and have it checked by the city before renting it to anyone.

After you have done your due diligence to ensure your suite is up to code with the city, you can begin the easier part: comfortability. You may want to consider a fresh coat of paint on the walls, and you can decide whether to rent your suite furnished or unfurnished. Check out similar rentals online to see what kinds of financial benefits renting your suite furnished would make.

Checking References to Find Reliable Tenants

Once you've decorated your suite, taken pictures, and put them up on online, you will likely be receiving plenty of phone calls from prospective tenants. Ensure that they can view the suite promptly, and perhaps set up showing times for all prospective tenants to take a walk through. At this time, have the tenants fill out an application form with their information. Be sure to check references, preferably with past landlords, and run a tenant credit check to be absolutely sure. You may also tell the tenant you require a photocopy of a driver's license for extra precaution.

Whether you're renting out a suite in your home to help with your mortgage each month, to lighten the financial burden in general, to save up for a vacation, or because you are simply just tired of wasted space, becoming a landlord has its responsibilities, but also its benefits. Financial benefits are key in this equation, so whatever you do, make sure to take the necessary steps in the process of renting to ensure you'll get your monthly cheque!

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