WANT TO BECOME A LANDLORD? A handbook for new landlords renting in London.

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1 SO YOU WANT TO BECOME A LANDLORD? A handbook for new landlords renting in London.

2 Table of Contents Marketing Your Unit.. 2 Types of Rentals 2 Ontario Legislation...2 Leases/Agreements..3 Property Standards..3 Occupancy Standards..3 London By-laws....4 Fire Safety 4 Off-Campus Housing Listing Service Current Rental Prices Ending the Rental Agreement....5 Concerns.. 6 Housing Mediation Service Landlord & Tenant Checklist...7 Move-in & Move-out Checklist Resources..9

3 Marketing Your Unit The London vacancy rate has fallen significantly in recent years, but it can still be difficult for landlords to rent to students. This problem is caused by a recent increase in student targeted housing. It is advisable that landlords keep informed on rental market conditions, such as rent levels in your geographic area. Here are some tips on how to best market your rental unit: Be as available as possible Give a local phone number or offer collect calling if the number is long distance Provide an address Ask current tenants to help with showing the unit, such as keeping the property clean Consider being flexible on lease time periods as most students do not like paying for summer rentals Types of Rentals Apartments: Bachelor to several bedrooms in an apartment Houses: Townhouse, detached or semi-detached Apartment or House to Share: Share accommodations with roommates Rooms in Private Homes: A room in a private house Rooms with Cooking Facilities: A room with cooking access Room & Board: A room with meals provided Sublets: Current tenants renting out their unit Temporary: Accommodations made on a temporary basis, may be long term Ontario Legislation Residential Tenancies Act vs. Non-Residential Tenancies Act I t is essential to know if your rental accommodations are covered by the provincial laws as stated in the Residential Tenancies Act (RTA). Most accommodations are covered by the RTA. If tenants share a bathroom and/or kitchen with the owner or his/her immediate family members, than the tenant is not covered by the RTA. In this case, your rental agreement is recognized under Contract Law. If you are in a RTA rental situation, it is important to know your rights and the rights of your tenants. Learn more on the Residential Tenancies Act and what it entails by going to the Landlord and Tenant Board website, listed on the back of this booklet. 2

4 Leases & Agreements Upon entering a rental agreement, both the landlord and the renter should understand and agree to the terms of the agreement. It is essential to have a lease signed by yourself and your tenants before allowing access to the unit. Ensure the lease or written agreement includes rental period dates, signatures, and negotiations discussed between you and your tenants. When the lease is signed, it is advisable to collect the rental deposit. You can ask your tenants for references from previous landlords, guarantors for the lease, as well as one month s rent as a deposit. Property Standards Property Upkeep: Remove litter from property, keep grass & weeds short and garbage storage areas need to be tidy. Building Maintenance: The City has minimum residential building maintenance standards: Building foundations are in weather tight condition Roof system is maintained Exterior doors/windows are secure with proper hardware Walls & ceilings are in good repair Floors & carpets free from holes, cracks & tears Electrical and plumbing system in working order Exterior decks have proper guards & handrails Windows that open have screens from May 15 th to September 15 th Occupancy Standards T enant accommodations must be in compliance with the City s Property Standards By-laws. Ceilings must be at least 6 feet 5 inches in height Bedrooms must be at least 75 square feet without a built-in cabinet & 65 square feet with a built-in cabinet Bedroom window areas are at least 2.5% the size of the bedroom floor area Headroom over stairs is at least 5 feet 11 inches Each washroom is supplied with natural/mechanical ventilation Each dwelling unit is properly fire separated from other units and each unit has a separate exit 3

5 London By-laws It is important for student tenants to know that London has several by-laws. If broken, the following by-laws can receive City fines. Please make sure your tenants are aware of these by-laws to prevent them from being fined. Noise: The 24 hour noise by-law prohibits noise from being heard on the sidewalk outside a dwelling. Garbage: No more than 4 containers can be put out. Do not put out garbage earlier than 6pm on the day before a scheduled pick-up. Parking: Street parking is prohibited between 3 a.m. and 5 a.m. Parking on front lawns is also prohibited. Grass: Weeds and grass must not exceed 8 inches. Furniture: Put dilapidated indoor furniture sitting outside with regular garbage to keep the external property tidy. Mischief: Purposefully causing problems for neighbours as determined by the police. Fire Safety London s Fire Department and the Housing Mediation Office Western are concerned about the safety of tenants in this city. According to Ontario law, landlords are required to provide tenants with a working smoke alarm and instructions on how to use it. Under the fire code, the following offences have a $195 fine, as well as a $40 victim fine: Failure to install smoke alarm Install smoke alarm on every floor and outside bedrooms Failure to keep alarm in good operating condition Failure to provide alarm maintenance instructions to occupant Intentionally disabling an alarm to make inoperable Replacing an alarm with reduced level of detection Off-Campus Housing Listing Service Landlords can list advertisements for rental units with the Off-Campus Housing Listing Service. Please contact the listing service for current ad prices. Please note that listings are valid until either June 30 th or December 31 st of the year in which the listing is placed. Listings can be placed via phone or the Web site. Off-Campus Housing Listing Service (519)

6 Current Rental Prices These are samples of average rental prices based on the Off-Campus Housing listings as of May Bachelor Apartment: One-bedroom Apartment: Two-bedroom Apartment: Three-bedroom Apartment: Room Room and Board: Sharing House: Sharing Apartment: $575 (inclusive) $630 + utilities $885 + utilities $ utilities $380 (inclusive) $495 (inclusive) $375 + utilities $410 + utilities Ending the Rental Agreement To end a lease, under the RTA, tenants must provide proper written notice. For a monthto-month tenancy, 60 days written notice must be provided. If a tenancy is weekly, than 28 days written notice is required. Once a tenant has provided their written notice to vacate the premise, it is advisable that the landlord conducts a final inspection of the rental unit. The purpose of this inspection is to check for damages beyond normal wear and tear. If a move-in inspection was conducted, than use the same list for the move-out inspection. This list will enable you to compare the condition of the rental unit from the move-in day to the move-out day to see if any changes have occurred. The vacating tenants and landlord should inspect the unit together and sign the move-out inspection list. It may be advisable to take date stamped pictures before the tenant moves in and after they leave. If the rental unit is in need of repair or if it is unacceptably dirty, than the landlord can request the tenant to pay for necessary cleaning or repairs. It is recommended that this compensation request be in writing, keeping a copy on file. At the end of a tenancy, the landlord must return the tenant s rental deposit. This is typically used to pay the tenant s last month s rent. If damages are found in the rental unit, the landlord cannot keep the rental deposit as payment for damages. In Ontario, the landlord is not allowed to make a profit from the rent deposit, so every 12 months, under the RTA, the tenant can request the interest from their last month s rent deposit. This is the same percentage as the rent increase percentage, provided each year by the Ontario government. 5

7 Concerns I f a landlord or tenant has a concern which he/she feels should be brought to the attention of the University, please submit it in writing, documenting names and details, to Western s Housing Mediation Service. Should two separate written complaints about the same landlord or property be received, than University reserves the right to remove the listings from all records and listing boards. Housing Mediation Service The University of Western Ontario operates a Housing Mediation Service, which offers landlords and tenants a forum where they can discuss their concerns before a neutral third party. This is a free service. If you have any questions about the Residential Tenancies Act, leases or city by-laws, the Housing Mediation Service will help to answer these questions to refer you to the appropriate agency. 6

8 Landlord & Tenant Checklist Fill out this checklist with new tenants. The first three items are mandated by law. The rest are areas for negotiation between you and new tenants. Items Keep unit in good repair & fit for living Comply with health, safety & housing standards set by law Repair damage tenants/guests cause Snow removal Television cable costs Utility costs Furnace cleaning/repairs Lawn maintenance Insurance (fire & theft) Garbage removal Exterior painting Interior painting/renovations Carpet cleaning Fumigating pests/insects Plumbing repairs Parking spaces Appliance responsibility Other: Responsibility lies with Tenant Landlord X X X 7

9 Move-in & Move-out Checklist Complete the following checklist when new tenants move in, and again when tenants move out. Make sure all parties sign the document. Item Bedrooms Living Room Kitchen Bathroom Light fixtures Carpets/Floors Paint/Wallpaper Walls Ceilings Stove Refrigerator Dishwasher Other Other Move-in Condition Move-out Condition Signature of Landlord Signature of Tenant(s) 8

10 Resources Ontario Rental Housing Tribunal The City of London London By-Laws Zoning, building standards, property standards, parking, garbage, Rooming House By-law, 5 bedroom By-law Garbage Schedules London Property Standards (519) London Property Management Association (519) Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation Housing Mediation Service (519) Off-Campus Housing Listing Service (519) Community Legal Service (519) London Fire Services 9

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