For Landlords: How to create a harmonious homecoming

Ah, the fall breeze is in the air and the Halifax Transit buses are packed to capacity across the peninsula.

The students in this university town are back — some finishing their last years and some embarking on the beginning of a new journey — but there is one universal truth. These students need somewhere to live, and that’s where so many landlords come in.

Some of these students are foreign language international students, some Maritimers born and bred, and they span the globe from where they came from and the environments they grew up in.

To mark the beginning of new leases, here are a few tips for landlords to get things started right with new tenants:



Set the expectations early


If you’re intent on having a non-smoking, non-party rental unit, be sure to be extra clear with your tenants. Outline the rules and regulations of your building and property, and be clear-cut. Answer any questions your tenants might have, and you should be set.



Leave no room for loopholes


Just because you think something should be self-explanatory doesn’t mean everyone will feel the same way you do. If you don’t want pets in the building, be very specific. Many a landlord have been caught with their pants down because their lease neither says “no pets” or “pets allowed.” If the absence of a rule is present, a tenant can and often will take advantage.



Inspect the home with your tenants


There is nothing worse than discrepancies come end-of-lease about issues within a unit. When you move your tenants in, do an entire sweep of the apartment. Walls, fixtures, water pressure, and more are important. If they have concerns, write them down and get them addressed. If they see no issues, have them sign an inspection form. This will help discern whether damage done to the property at the end of the lease was by the current tenant or not. Take pictures of your unit before tenants move in.


Advise tenants of bylaws that apply to them


Whether it’s noise bylaws, bylaws around drinking or smoking, or even providing a copy of the Residential Tenancies Act, make sure your tenants know their rights and responsibilities to you and to the greater community. Ensure they will respect their neighbours and all of those around them. 


Let them know you’re here to help


The most important thing is to make sure your tenants know you’re available. Be present, give them your cell number and email, and make sure you take responsibility for tenants’ concerns. You are an owner of a rental property, and whether you have a building manager or someone else, there’s an onus to make sure your tenants are taken care of.


With these helpful hints, you can have a healthy relationship with your tenants, and prep for a successful fall term.

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