Tips to Prepare your Rental Property for Winter

As the cold season approaches, it’s a good idea for landlords and property owners to start preparing their rental properties for the months ahead. These 4 simple tips will get you started and can help keep your home intact, energy bills low, and your tenants warm!

 

1. Protect Water Pipes

To prevent your water pipes from freezing, remind your tenants to always keep the heat on, even if they are away from home. The water can freeze, cause the pipes to burst, and cause flooding in your home – all of which can be a costly repair. Be the most aware of uninsulated indoor pipes found in basements or garages. The best way to prevent this from happening is to remind your tenants to never let the thermostat reach lower than 55F or 12C.

 

2. Snow Removal Plan

Is the landlord or the tenant responsible for ensuring that the driveway, walkway or sidewalk is clear from snow and ice? While it’s usually dependent on the type of rental property (ie. condo or single family home), make sure snow removal plans are clear to tenants. If tenants are responsible for keeping the snow cleared, providing a shovel or some sidewalk salt is a simple and friendly way to help them through a cold winter.

 

3. Drain Outside Faucets

Now that gardening season is over, be sure to prepare the outdoor faucets for the cold. Just like indoor water pipes, they can burst from the added pressure caused by the freezing water. Start by turning off the water supply valve which is normally found in the basement. Then, disconnect all garden hoses to drain out the remaining water in the faucets. This is relatively simple to do and can be given as instructions to your tenants to complete.

 

4. Assess windows and doors

You’ll want to make sure that the heat stays in and cold stays out! By assessing your doors and windows for any air leaks, this can help keep your heating costs down. Whether the heating bill is included in the rent or not, this extra step will be appreciated by either the tenant or landlord’s wallet. There are many inexpensive and simple ways to ensure the cold stays out such as installing front door sweeps or indoor window insulator tape.

 

Winter always seems to come before we know it, and it’s important for landlords to prepare their properties and tenants to avoid any potential headaches or damage. Need a team to help with any maintenance and repairs with your rental? The Cornerstone team is well-equipped to get your property winter ready! Get in touch today!

Pros and Cons of Pet-Friendly Rental Properties

Is it pet friendly? Whether your prospective renters are current or future pet owners, this is often their first criteria when searching for a new rental. As a landlord or property owner, you are going to need to decide if furry family members are allowed as part of the lease. Under the Landlord-Tenant Act, you cannot discriminate against service and assistance animals, but for any other pets – such as cats, dogs, bunnies, and reptiles, you as a landlord, are allowed to set the restrictions. Here are the 3 top pros and cons of having a pet-friendly rental property!

 

3 Pros

1. More Available Tenants
You open up the doors to many more applicants when you list your property as pet-friendly, which includes current, future, and non-pet owners. This can create more demand for your property, thus giving you more options to choose the most suitable and qualified rental tenants.

2. Charge Pet Fee or Higher Rent
Earn more money from your investment property because you are giving tenants the option to have a pet in their home! In general, you can choose to charge higher rent compared to other similar listings or you could charge an additional monthly or annual fee depending on the type of pet.

3. Long Term Tenants
It can be difficult for pet owners to find a property that is suitable for them and their pets. Because of this, it’s likely that they will become long term tenants, especially if your property offers a backyard, a dog run, or parks nearby.

 

3 Cons

1. Damage
Your property will naturally have wear and tear over time, but with the addition of pets, there is a chance that more damage can occur. This can include things such as odours, excessive fur, and carpet or grass stains. To protect yourself as a landlord, you can implement a higher security deposit and clearly outline the terms and conditions of what is considered ‘damage’ beforehand.

2. Noise
Constant barking or even chirping birds can become an issue for other homeowners or tenants in a shared building. This can be a headache for landlords, especially when you don’t know beforehand if the tenant’s pets are noisemakers.

3. Liability
Any harm caused to other tenants or neighbours, such as dog biting, is a risk that should be considered. To best protect yourself, you can screen the pets beforehand, and carefully review your liability insurance terms to ensure there aren’t any exclusions for specific breeds/pets.

 

Choosing to list as a pet-friendly rental property is an important decision for property owners to make. If you still want the benefits of allowing pets, but the cons are causing some hesitations, there are ways to meet in the middle. Need help understanding, navigating, and managing this part of your rental property? Our team is here to help! Get in touch today!