Being a landlord in Ontario can be a lucrative position, but it can also be very dangerous. If you let the wrong tenant into your home, it can be destroyed. And if you don't know exactly what your legal obligations are, you can get yourself into some real legal trouble. If you want you and your rental home to stay safe, make sure that you follow these tips when you start renting out a home.
Carefully Draft Up the Lease
Be sure to include all of your expectations in the lease that you draft up for your property. It is a good idea to have a lawyer help you draft your lease if you do not have experience doing so. That way, you will be sure that it is legal and covers everything important about the rental.
Do Regular Inspections of the Property
If a tenant is wreaking havoc on your home, you do not want to wait until the end of the lease to find out. In order to make sure that your property is being treated with due respect, you should do regular inspections of the property. Make sure that you give your tenant notice before you come knocking on the door, though; according to Ontario law, landlords must give their tenants at least 24-hour notice before entering the home unless there is an emergency.
Continue to Do Regular Upkeep on the Home
While you probably know that you should do any repairs that the tenant requests, you might not think about the fact that you should be doing regular upkeep on the home. If you do not keep up with normal upkeep (such as repainting and roof repairs), your home could lose value for future tenants. If you want to lower the number of times you have to visit the property, you can combine these repairs with your regular inspections.
Know the Proper Eviction Laws
If a tenant is doing damage to your property or not paying rent, you probably want them out as soon as possible. However, failing to follow Ontario's eviction laws can be a very serious offense. Instead of doing something drastic, such as changing the locks or having utilities shut off to the home, you must notify your tenant in writing of the infraction. There are two main types of eviction notices that you can give.
- Missed Rent: These notices are used for a tenant who has missed a rent payment. In Ontario, a tenant has 14 days after receiving this notice to pay the rent before legal action begins.
- Damage or Breaking Lease: These notices are used when there is a violation of the lease other than a payment issue. You must give 20 days' notice if it is the first infraction or 14 days' notice if it is the second time in six months.
Once you have served the notice and the required amount of time has passed without the tenant fixing the problem, you will have to take the tenant to court. You should hire a lawyer who is experienced in these kinds of cases and show him or her all of the documentation you have. Proper documentation should include evidence of the infraction (such as pictures of the damaged property or evidence of a missed rent payment), copies of the eviction notice you gave to the tenant and any other communication you have had with him or her, and a copy of your lease.
If you win the case, you will have to go to sites or the local law enforcement office of the rented home and present the court judgment. The local sheriff will escort the tenant off of the property.