Anna-Maria and Marlon Brass both have over a decade of property management experience, originally servicing only the Cowichan Valley; now serving southern Vancouver Island from their base in Victoria’s West Shore. For over ten years they’ve helped many landlords find stable, profitable tenants, but there’s one thing they can’t do.
“Many landlords come to us when they’re already in a challenging situation, but if they haven’t laid the groundwork with a proper tenancy agreement there isn’t a lot we can do to help,” says Marlon, who is a property manager with Greenaway Realty.
The secret to a positive experience? Start the tenancy off right.
The best way to solve tenant issues is to catch them before they start.
“Communicate your expectations to your tenant so they understand before they sign, but also so you have clear, written expectations in your agreement. Then if there’s a disagreement down the road you have the maximum opportunity for success,” Marlon says.
The standard tenancy agreement available online doesn’t address common issues many landlords face: pets, smoking, shared utilities, yard use, parking, and more. A good property manager should provide a thorough outline of landlord and tenant expectations.
Conduct a move-in inspection
“If landlords don’t conduct a move-in inspection, they don’t have rights to the damage deposit. Even if it’s a brand-new building, if you don’t complete an inspection then a tenant can claim ‘those holes in the wall were already there.’
“You or your property manager must meet with the tenant to inspect the unit and complete a move-in inspection so as to agree on the current condition before they move in. Taking photos to document as well is also good practice.
When Greenaway Realty Property Management calls a tenant’s references, it’s not a short conversation.
“Most private landlords, when calling us on prospective tenants, only ask if a prospective tenant pays their rent on time, but we have a long list of questions to ensure tenants are a good fit,” Anna-Maria says. “We also reach out to more than one person — their most recent landlord may not tell the truth because they’re trying to get rid of the tenant, but by calling more than one reference we get a clearer picture.”
There are also many roles expected of a property manager, it’s not just collecting rent
Being a landlord isn’t easy. If you’re not ready to do it yourself, Greenaway Realty Property Management can help.
- Marketer: Advertising rental units and attracting prospective tenants.
- Private Eye: Vetting tenancy applications, following up on complaints, inspecting units during tenancies for damage, breaches of the tenancy agreement and illegal activity.
- Legal: Drawing up robust leases to provide the best protection for your particular property with septic, well and pet addendums… to name a few. Up-to-date with the continually evolving tenancy laws.
- Customer Service Agent: Processing maintenance requests, addressing tenant disputes.
- First Responder: Tenant’s first point of contact for emergencies including fires, floods or accidental lock-out.
- General Contractor: Coordinating with plumbers, electricians, appliance repair technicians, landscapers, HVAC technicians and installers, janitors and roofers, in addition to conducting basic maintenance.
- Policing: Enforcing compliance with tenancy terms, dealing with neighbour complaints whether that be noise, parking or personal conflict.
- Accounting: Tracking all income and expenses.
- Bill Collector: Collecting overdue rent and utility payments.