Four Ways to Improve Your Rental Property’s Security

Handyman installing security system in rental home
Handyman installing security system in rental home

Security is arguably the number one concern for every renter. They want a home in a community that can guarantee their safety, as well as the safety of their belongings. As a property manager, it’s your responsibility to offer potential tenants maximum protection against break-ins, robberies and other potentially alarming situations. Staying on top of rental security will help you attract a larger tenant pool, and keep you collecting rental income for a long time. For all the property managers ready to get proactive about securing their rental units, here are a few options you should consider.

1.Install a security/surveillance system

Installing a surveillance system in your rental property is one of the best ways to put tenants at ease and ensure their safety. Plus, with the wide variety of security systems available on the market today, you’ll be able to find something that is within your budget. The newest security gadgets have some pretty impressive features that are sure to address renters’ safety concerns. Some come with window and door sensors, smoke alarms, and motion detectors to help keep your rental safe. Newer surveillance systems also offer high-definition imagery and upload videos to a cloud system that can be reviewed by property managers or tenants at their convenience.

2. Add external lighting

Using external lights is one of the easiest ways to deter potential intruders from making a move on your rental property. When people see outside lights on, they’ll assume your property is occupied – making it less of a target. If you want to go a step further, we suggest installing motion-sensing lights. These lights are able to sense movement dozens of feet away and turn on once suspicious activity is detected around your rental home. This smart feature will help scare off unwanted intruders.

3. Replace locks 

It’s good practice to replace the locks in your rental property after each tenant moves out. New locks ensure that anyone who has a copy of the keys to the home – such as your previous tenants’ friends or family members – no longer has access to the space. This will help new tenants feel a little more secure in their new home. Another benefit of changing the locks regularly is the opportunity to upgrade to a better-quality product. Like any product with moving components, locks are subject to wear and tear. Worn-out locks are loose and easier to pick, so, replacing them with newer better-quality locks makes it almost impossible for anyone to gain access to your rental property without the right key.

4. Secure main entrances and windows

Since doors and windows are the primary sources of entrance to your rental property, ensuring they are secure is important. When installing front doors, you should opt for hardwood options as they’re heavier and more secure than their hollow wood counterparts. When it comes to securing your rental property’s windows, we suggest installing locks or window sensors to keep them from being tampered with.

As a property manager, it’s your duty to keep your rental unit and the tenants occupying it, safe. By implementing these four tips, security won’t be a source of stress for your renters.

Need help securing your rental home?

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Five Ways to Improve Landlord-tenant Communication

Landlord ad tenants talking
Landlord and tenants talking

As a landlord or property manager, having great relationships with your tenants should be one of your main priorities, and the key to excellent landlord-tenant relationships is communication. By establishing open lines of communication, you can avoid tricky disputes concerning leases, move-outs, and rent payments amongst other things. Being readily available to your tenants can even prevent excess damage to your rental property as tenants will feel comfortable reaching out to you before maintenance issues spiral out of control. If you’re looking for great ways to establish a better relationship with your renters, you’ve come to the right place! We’ve shortlisted some of our top tips for improving landlord-tenant communication.

1. Establish communication guidelines

The first step to establishing good lines of communication with your tenants is establishing some basic standards. Let your tenants know about your office hours and the best way to contact you – by email, phone call, or even mail. You should also provide your renters with an emergency number in the case that an urgent situation arises after business hours. In this case, it would also be beneficial to outline what scenarios constitute an emergency situation. Setting guidelines like these help avoid confusion and frustration as everyone is clear about the best ways to reach out in every situation.

2. Give your tenants options

Different tenants have different preferred means of communication. Older tenants may want to speak with you in person, while gen z renters may prefer to send you a quick text. This is why, as a landlord, it’s essential to have multiple ways for your renters to get in touch with you. Provide your new tenants with your email, phone number, and if you’d like, your office address upon their move-in. Just be sure to ask for a reasonable notice period before an office visit. Allowing tenants to communicate through means that they’re comfortable with increases their likelihood of reaching out to you.

3. Be transparent and honest

Tenants tend not to reach out to dishonest landlords. After all, what’s the point of asking for help or raising a concern if the issue won’t be addressed truthfully? As a landlord, it’s your job to be as honest and transparent as possible with your current and potential tenants. Be honest about the condition and size of the rental property, the amenities in the area, and conditions of their lease. You also want to be transparent about what you expect from your tenants – i.e., when to make rent payments etc. Honesty and transparency help establish trust in landlord-tenant relationships. When tenants know they’ll get a truthful answer, they are more open with their concerns.

4. Speak simply

When it comes to landlord-tenant communication, its best to keep it simple. Most situations don’t call for long paragraphs filled with complex real estate jargon that tenants most likely won’t understand. Keep your communication light, concise and engaging so tenants are more likely to comprehend and respond.

5. Communicate more often

Most tenants only hear from their landlord when they move in or are about to move out and this shouldn’t be the case. To help establish good lines of communication, we encourage you to reach out to your tenants more often. Help them with their move-in, send greeting cards during the holidays etc. This lets them know that you’re always available and willing to help.

Communication is the bedrock of every good landlord-tenant relationship, and with these five tips, you and your tenants will be on your way to better interactions in no-time!

Need help with tenant communications?

Get in touch with us today!

Six Ways to Retain Quality Tenants

Happy tenants moving into new rental home
Happy tenants moving into new rental home

As a landlord or property manager, you already know the value of good tenants. Those who pay their rent on time, take great care of your rental property, and keep the lines of communication open and pleasant. Tenants like these are hard to find, so when you do come across them, it’s essential to make an effort to keep them. This way, you’ll maintain a steady rental income and avoid the stress and expenses that come with marketing a vacant rental unit. Without further ado, here are six great ways to retain quality tenants.

1. Stay on top of maintenance tasks

Being proactive about property maintenance is one of the easiest ways to keep quality tenants around. Keep up with regular property inspections and make quick fixes to your rental unit before they become larger issues. Doing this leaves a good impression with your tenant and shows them that you’re committed to providing a nice home for them to live in. Being a landlord that is proactive about routine maintenance also helps your tenants avoid the frustration of living in a home that’s falling apart – and this could be a major deciding factor when it’s time to renew their lease.

2. Adopt fair housing practices

Everyone loves a good deal – this includes your tenants. It’s no surprise that tenants who feel like they’re being cheated are more likely to look for a new residence. To avoid this situation, we suggest you adopt fair housing practices. For example, when setting rent, offer a reasonable price that is comparable to similar properties within the area, or current rental rates within the market. 

3. Get familiar

Creating good rapport is another great way to keep good tenants around. As a landlord or property manager, being friendly and establishing open lines of communication between yourself and your tenants is a good business practice. Send your tenants a welcome basket when they move in and be easy to contact in case they need assistance with anything regarding their new home. These little gestures go a long way when building trust and goodwill.

4. Allow some personalization

The difference between a house and a home is how comfortable tenants feel in the space. When tenants come home to their art hung up, or their favourite colour painted on the walls, it helps them feel like the rental unit is truly theirs. To retain your tenants, we suggest you allow some level of personalization. This will increase their attachment to the home, resulting in an increased likelihood of them renewing their tenancy. 

5. Offer renewal incentives

If you’ve got a great tenant whose lease is coming up for renewal, offering a renewal incentive might be the perfect way to influence their decision. You could offer monetary incentives like a rent discount over a period of time, or you offer property upgrades like new appliances, paint, landscaping etc. Most tenants will be appreciative and swayed by your efforts to keep their business.

6. Know what tenants want

As a property manager, knowing what tenants want is an essential part of your job. Not only will a home that caters to renters’ wants help you perform well in the rental market, it will also help you retain quality tenants. Check-out our blog to help you figure out what renters are looking for in a newly renovated home. 

Tenant retention is the name of the game for all property managers. With these six tips, keeping your tenants happy and in your rental property will be easier than ever.

Need help managing your rental?

Get in touch with us today!

Five Property Management Technologies Property Managers Should Be Using

Property managers using management technology
Property managers using management technology

There’s no doubt that property managers have a lot on their plate. From dealing with contractors to marketing rental units and working hard to keep tenants happy, most property managers have a lot of work to do on a daily basis. Luckily, in this day of modern technology, there are tons of tools at your fingertips to help you stay organized, streamline tasks and manage your workload. To help you stay on top of your game this new year, we’ve shortlisted five of the best technological tools every property manager should be using.

1. Appfolio Property Manager

Appfolio Property Manager is a commonly used tool in the real estate industry. This cloud-based technology is an excellent choice for property managers who want to monitor their rental units – anywhere, at any time. The Appfolio’s property management software offers an all-in-one solution for accounting, marketing, leasing and management functionality for everything from single family to commercial rental units. Using Appfolio, property managers can do everything from posting vacancy ads on hundreds of listing sites to screening tenants and collecting rent online. 

2. Buildium Property Management Software

 Another favourite amongst property managers, Buildium’s software lets property managers tackle business operation, accounting and leasing tasks from a single platform. Buildium also helps you manage your growth as a property manager. You can easily find, win and onboard rental properties in your area into your portfolio. That’s not all – the Buildium Property Management software allows property managers to create their own custom sites – this way you can have an online platform to host all your available listings.

3. BeenVerified

Your success as a property manager is highly dependent on the quality of your tenants. That’s why the BeenVerified app is a must for every new property manager. With this app, you can conduct thorough background and credit checks, get access to public records and any other essential information that will influence your tenant selection. The BeenVerified app is user-friendly, and a perfect option for anyone who is just getting into the property management game.

4. Salesforce Essentials

Widely considered the best CRM tool, Salesforce helps property managers manage and better their relationships with tenants. Salesforce Essentials allows you to streamline communication with your tenants and respond to their queries and concerns in a timely manner. This CRM tool also makes automating document and form filing, and data retrieval a piece of cake. Another selling point for Salesforce Essentials is that it’s also available as a mobile app – making it the perfect choice for property managers on the go.

5. Rentmoola

Figuring out rent payments can be a pain for both landlords and tenants alike. But, with the help of apps like Rentmoola, sorting out monthly payments is easier than ever. Rentmoola is a simple, easy and secure rent collection solution that lets tenants pay their rent in a method that’s most efficient for them and their property managers. This could be via credit, debit, auto payments and more. Rentmoola also provides real-time reporting tools to help you keep track of rental income.

Property management doesn’t have to be an overwhelming job. With these amazing technologies in your toolkit, you’ll be able to get a handle on your workload in no-time!

Need help managing your rental properties?

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Four Tips for Renting to The Gen Z Market

A group of Gen Z renters
A group of Gen Z renters

We all know that 2020 will ring in a new decade but, did you know it will also bring in a whole new demographic to the rental market? That’s right, 2020 will introduce landlords and property managers to the Gen Z renter. The oldest members of this selective, tech-savvy, and eco-friendly generation are reaching the stage of life where they’ll be hunting for their own homes and apartments. While you may be tempted to treat Gen Z renters like millennials or other demographics that precede them, this isn’t the way to go. The Gen Z market comes with its own unique set of needs you’ll have to cater to if you want to appeal to them as a landlord. With that being said, here are our four tips for attracting Gen Z renters.

1. Make use of technology

Gen Z renters don’t know life without technology. So, it goes without saying that landlords and property managers can no longer ignore the need to go digital with their renting efforts. To properly cater to this young demographic, you’ll need to provide a comprehensive digital experience. This includes everything from marketing your rental property, to initiating leases. Gen Z renters use search engines and social media as their primary sources of information, so it’s best to connect with them through social platforms and polished, branded and easily navigated websites. Even regular interactions like submitting maintenance requests and paying rent should be done online. Using technology will make your job as a landlord/property manager easier and will improve your appeal and relationship with this tech-dependent demographic. 

2. Provide a social experience

The Gen Z demographic values community. They have a desire to participate and belong socially. As a result of this, Gen Z renters will be looking to live in apartment buildings with social spaces like game rooms, gyms, lounges and co-working spaces. They also want to live in communities that offer areas and opportunities for people to gather. Rentals in amenity-rich communities packed with things like coffee shops, parks and neighbourhood gyms are a huge attraction for this market of renters.

3. Focus on authenticity

In a world where they are flooded with information on a regular basis, Gen Zers have learnt to fact check everything and get to the truth of the matter. This means that property managers will need to be as transparent as possible when dealing with Gen Z renters. Don’t overstate claims, delete negative reviews or rely on false marketing hype to get your rental off the market. Instead, focus on engaging with the Gen Z market by providing accurate and concise information and handling negative reviews in a thoughtful manner. Since Gen Zers crave authenticity, they will appreciate your openness and honesty and will, in turn, give you their loyalty.

4. Sustainability is key

A key characteristic of the Gen Z demographic is their passion for the environment. They care about the impact their actions, products they consume, and the places they live have on the earth. This means that eco-friendly features are must-haves in your rental property. Switch out traditional lighting for LED bulbs and make use of “green” washing machines, refrigerators, and stoves as they require less energy to run. Providing a sustainable environment for Gen Z renters will quickly move your property off the market. Plus, you’ll be able to charge a good rental rate since they are willing to pay a premium for an eco-friendly home.

Renting a home to the Gen Z demographic isn’t as complicated as it may seem. With these key tips, you’ll be on your way to dominating the rental market.

Need help renting to the Gen Z market? We can help!

Get in touch with us today.

Seven Essential Qualities to Look for in A Property Manager

Property manager with heys to a rental home
Property manager handing over the keys to the tenant's new home

Some landlords often struggle to decide whether or not they should hire someone to manage their rental property. After all, who will look after your investment better than you can? Although the search for a good property manager may be tedious, it’s one that is well worth it once you find the right fit. Getting someone to look after your rental property means you won’t have to deal with the stress of tenant screening, maintenance and much more. So, for landlords on the hunt for the perfect property manager for their rental, here are seven essential qualities to look for.

1. Excellent communication skills

It goes without saying that the person or team you choose to manage your rental property must be excellent communicators, both oral and written. Your property manager will represent you and will be in constant communication with everyone from tenants and real estate agents, to contractors and possibly other property owners. This means that their ability to communicate effectively will affect the service you get from contractors, the quality of tenants attracted to your property, how fast your property is rented and everything in between. So, when looking for the right property manager, be sure to assess their communication skills.

2. Patience

Property management can be stressful at times. From unruly tenants to contractors running behind schedule, there are lots of trying situations that property managers encounter on a regular basis, and it’s essential to be able to handle them with grace. When interviewing potential property managers, try to gauge their listening skills and assess how well they’ll be able to deal with complaints and stressful situations.

3. Professionalism

Professionalism is another important quality to look for when on the hunt for the right person to handle your rental. Needless to say, your property manager will be conducting a lot of business on your behalf, and they’ll need to be kind yet assertive in these settings. Look for someone who is respectful, knowledgeable, well put together and has excellent customer service skills. 

4. Tech Savviness

Anyone who is active in the real-estate world knows that the industry is quickly becoming digital. New technologies are being introduced, companies are focused on digital marketing, and rental ads are now posted on platforms like Hamilton Homes for Rent, rather than in newspapers. Having someone who is familiar with common technology used in the industry will ensure that you’re able to provide a service comparable to other property owners in the market.

5. Organized

The work of a property manager often has them dealing with a lot of different situations simultaneously. They could be renewing a lease, renovating a rental unit, overseeing eviction proceedings, and scheduling viewings of a recently vacated home all at the same time. Property managers have to be incredibly organized in order to stay on top of all the demands that come along with the job.

6. An investor’s mindset

When searching for a property manager, you want to choose someone who is going to care for your investment as if it were their own. The best way for property managers to do this is to approach property management like they are real estate investors. This will help them see the “bigger picture” and guide the business decisions they make on your behalf. When a property manager has an investor’s mindset, they’ll know what to spend money on to make your rental stand out in the market, when to offer rent concessions, how to get a good return on investment etc.

7. Basic marketing skills

Marketing your rental property to potential tenants is one of the biggest responsibilities of a property manager. They should be able to write about your property, select appropriate photos and point out its selling points in such a way that that your rental appeals to renters. A good property manager should also know about the community your rental is located in as this will help them market its most attractive amenities.

Looking for the perfect property managers for your rental? Get in touch with us today!

Five Common Repairs All Property Managers Will Encounter

Property manager repairing rental home

Whether you like it or not, your rental property has a lifespan. It’s only a matter of time until the plumbing needs to be fixed or doorknobs need to be replaced. As a landlord, handling repairs is a big part of your job. The landlord-tenant law requires all property owners to maintain their rentals, ensuring the space is livable. Luckily, when you work with a property manager these are fixes that we can deal with instead. For landlords and property managers ready to roll up their sleeves and get their hands dirty, here are five common repairs all property owners will encounter.

1. Plumbing

Plumbing is one of the most common fixes landlords have to deal with, and it’s one we suggest you tend to quickly. A seemingly small leak under the kitchen sink could end up dramatically increasing your next water bill. Depending on the cause of the leak, this is a repair you can possibly take on yourself. However, if you don’t know your way around those pipes, you might want to get a plumber to take on this project. 

2. Clogged toilets

While fixing a clogged toilet isn’t always your job as a property manager, it is a situation that comes up quite often. When the toilet in your rental property is clogged, you have to first figure out the cause. If your tenant clogs the toilet themselves, they’re responsible for getting it fixed. However, not all clogs are the tenant’s fault. Sometimes it’s a symptom of a larger issue with the main plumbing line or your drainpipe. If this is the case, then it’s something a landlord has to handle. And, with problems this big, we suggest calling a pro.

3. Leaky ceilings

A leaky ceiling is arguably one of the worst things that could happen to a home. If left unchecked, it could destroy everything from drywall and hardwood to flooring. Leaky ceilings, if left unchecked, also lead to mold which could make your rental inhabitable, and would cost a fortune to get under control. So, when your tenant calls you about a leak from the roof, put it at the top of your priority list.

4. Furnace repairs

Furnaces play an important role in regulating the temperature in your rental. So, furnace repairs should be another fix at the top of your priority list. To prevent the furnace in your rental from breaking down, you should get it serviced yearly and your tenants should replace the furnace filter every three months. However, if problems still arise despite regular maintenance, property managers should have a furnace specialist ready to help when needed.

5. Rundown appliances

Appliances in every home are used quite often, so it’s no surprise if they break down every now and then. Luckily, most of these issues can be easily fixed. New heating elements can be easily installed, and old dishwashers and stoves can be replaced. If the appliances in your rental property need replacing, we suggest visiting a used appliance store first. These stores have a great selection of stoves, dishwashers etc. that are almost as good as new.

Being a landlord or property manager comes with a lot of responsibilities and handling maintenance and repairs for rental properties is one of them. Luckily, with the right skills and resources handling these emergencies for your tenants should be no problem.

Need help maintaining your rental property? Get in touch with us today!

What Makes a Great Rental Listing

For rent sign

Creating a rental listing that attracts great tenants is simple, though it does require some thought and creativity! The headline, description, and photos should all be clear, concise, and compelling. Here are some ways you can create a rental listing that will attract great renters. 

Write an Attention-Grabbing Headline

A well-written headline will make people want to click on the description to find out more. If your headline doesn’t immediately grab the attention of a prospective tenant, you may be losing out on valuable leads. If you put yourself in the tenant’s shoes, what would you be looking for if you’re scanning rental listings?

Most renters know the number of bedrooms, bathrooms, and price range they want and will click on listings that match their criteria. They’ll also want to know the location and a unique feature to your listing. An example headline would be “$1800/month – newly renovated 2 bed/1 baths in trendy Stoney Creek neighbourhood”. Make the headline direct with a differentiating descriptor and you’ll get noticed.

Include all details, big and small

When you provide as much information as possible, you’ll weed out anyone that isn’t a good match and find those who are. Here are some of the vital pieces of information renters are looking for:

  • Location – the neighbourhood your rental is located in and a description of the neighbourhood (is it quiet? Central? Family-oriented?)
  • Amenities – access to public transportation; walking distances to groceries, shopping, restaurants; nearby schools; access to highways
  • Pets – include any details regarding pets, and if allowed, which kinds are permitted
  • Length of lease
  • Move-in date
  • Square footage
Take high-quality photos

Give prospective tenants a clear feel for the property before they even contact you by taking beautiful photos. It’s best to hire a photographer who specializes in real estate photography. However, if you are taking the photos yourself, here are a few tips to show off your property:

  • Get a wide-angle lens to capture the entire room in one shot. There are lens attachments for smartphones that you can find online or at any electronics store. 
  • Take plenty of pictures from different angles to capture flattering lighting and unique aspects of the room. 
  • Be sure to stay away from mirrors – seeing someone’s reflection in photographs can appear unprofessional. 
  • Make sure you use plenty of light – take advantage of the daylight, but also strategically light dark areas and corners with lamps if needed. 

If possible, it can be beneficial to show your rental unit furnished to give renters a good idea of not only how large the space is, but also how they can envision themselves living there.

Highlight the differentiators

To ensure that your property is a ‘can’t miss’ opportunity, highlight what makes your unit special. Talk about those features in as much detail as possible to give renters a reason to take notice. Here are just a few features you may want to mention: 

  • City, park, or lake views
  • Large windows that let in plenty of natural light 
  • A space that’s great for entertaining 
  • Recently renovated, freshly painted, new flooring, etc.
  • Walk-in closet, additional storage, or any other extra space
  • Higher-end finishes like granite countertops and hardwood floors
  • Parking available for tenants and guests
  • A gym, party room, pool, etc.
Be upfront about extra costs

The monthly rent of an apartment may be within a tenant’s budget, however, extras may push a unit out of their range. To ensure your prospective renter knows what they would be signing up for before they even schedule a viewing, include any extra costs that a renter would be responsible for.

  • Parking – mention if it’s included or not, the number of stalls, or if it’s underground
  • Utilities – explicitly state which utilities are included and those that the tenant is responsible for
  • Deposits – mention the damage deposit and pet deposit if applicable

Once the rental listing is written and beautiful photos are taken, give it a final proofread (or two) and post on http://hamiltonhomesforrent.com/ for a wide exposure to prospective tenants in Hamilton.

Seven Fundamentals for a Good Lease

Writing a lease

A lease agreement is the most important document between landlords and tenants. However, not all leases are created equal. A good lease needs to be detailed, clear and contain a few fundamental elements in order for it to be binding and enforceable by law. Since the lease between you and your tenant provides guidelines for their tenancy in your property, you’ll want to make sure you draft a good lease on the first go. Here are seven fundamental clauses to include in your lease agreement.

1. Identify all parties

Every good lease agreement must identify all parties involved in the contract. If you’re leasing a rental property, you should identify all tenants over the age of 18, as well as the landlord or the landlord’s agent. The address of each party should also be included as part of the lease. Identifying the parties involved in a contract is the first step to creating a binding agreement. 

2. Property description

Since the property being rented is the focal point of a lease agreement, providing an adequate description of it is important. Your lease should include the property’s address, unit/apartment number, the province and town it is located in as well as its postal code. You can also include any features or details you think makes the property unique from others.

3. Rental term

Another important clause to include in your lease is the rental term. This is the amount of time the lease is valid for. Here, you want to avoid general terms. Don’t state that the lease is valid for six months or a year. Instead, mention the exact dates that the agreement begins and ends. This ensures that the tenant knows exactly when to move in and out of the property.

4. Terms of rent

This section should provide the tenant with all the necessary information regarding their rent. Here, you should state the amount of rent to be paid and when its due. It’s also important to state where the rent should be sent and how it will be accepted – by cheque, direct deposit etc. Terms governing late rent should also be laid out in this section.

5. Security deposit 

Most landlords require a security deposit before tenants move in, so, providing a security deposit clause is crucial. This should include the amount of security deposit required, how and when it should be paid, as well as the terms surrounding its return. You should also provide the tenant with reasons why deductions can be taken from their deposit. This is helpful in the case that he/she does not receive their full deposit back at the end of their lease.

6. Tenant responsibilities

Just as landlords have a responsibility to their tenants to provide a liveable space and fix problems around the home, tenants have the responsibility of taking care of the rental while they live there. They must follow all building and housing codes and must not cause excessive damage to the property. In addition to these, this section of your lease agreement should also include the specific tenant responsibilities outlined in your state’s landlord/tenant laws.

7. Renewal and termination

Finally, renewal and termination clauses. If you give your tenant the option of renewing the lease agreement, it should be stated clearly in the document. This also goes for lease termination. You should provide details about how and when both the tenant and landlord can terminate the lease. 

A good lease agreement is the foundation of every landlord-tenant relationship. It helps each party know what they can expect from one another for the period of the agreement. With these seven fundamentals, you’re sure to draft the perfect lease for your next tenant.

Need to get your rental property off the market? Visit our website to see how we can help you!