Renting out your Whistler property can be a great way to generate extra income and help pay for your vacation home. However, it is important to remember to follow the provincial guidelines to ensure everything is being handled correctly. Being a landlord is an active duty and no matter how involved you are there are always things that can go wrong.
We’ve put together a short list of our top 10 tips that first-time landlords should consider before they manage their Whistler property.
Renting is Your Priority
As a landlord it should go without saying that pursuing rent is your priority, but it can be very easy to get lax. It’s important to make sure that you take an active role in renting out your property and follow all the B.C. Residential Tenancy Agreements (RTA) that are outlined (this form will need to be filled out prior to lease signing).
For more information, please see their website.
Add a schedule to your RTA lease. Address the cost of replacing common area keys, parking passes, bike decals etc. and be clear about whose responsibility it is for covering those costs. Outline restrictions on subletting, many local tenants sublet on Facebook and don’t advise their landlord. This opens up a host of potential problems with both your strata and insurance.
Screen Your Tenants
Issues with tenants such as late payments and poor communication can usually be avoided by properly screening your prospective tenants. Before you get started, it’s important to know what provincial standards British Columbia follows so you are not breaking any rules when it comes to finding the best tenants for you. If these are not things you’re familiar with, try using a site that will assist you – one of our realtors suggests trying Naborly. They will do an in-depth search on your behalf. All you have to do as a landlord is send an invite to your tenant and they take care of the rest. Once their screening is done, Naborly sends you a report on checklist items such as: credit scores, tenants income and then they provide an overall score on whether or not they are a risky choice or not.
Know Your Local Laws
This is especially important in Whistler where the zoning laws dictate how a property can be used and if/how it can be rented. To do nightly rentals, the property must have tourist accommodation zoning. Residential properties can only be rented long term, with no nightly rentals. Some properties title or bylaws determine what rental manager must be used while others allow you to choose. This is crucial to investigate if you want to try your hand at Airbnb. Unrestricted phase one zoning allows you to rent either short or long term, live in it fulltime or use part time.
Some properties with employee covenants are required to be rented to or owned by local residents. You can find out more about that here.
Decide your Pet Policy
You may love pets, and even have a pet yourself, but are they allowed in the strata complex you’re renting? Some buildings allow an owner to have pets, but not tenants. Will you offer the place as pet friendly to your new tenants? If so, do you know the B.C rules of what is acceptable for a pet damage deposit?
If you do choose to allow pets (but are a little nervous about it) why not ask to have them bring their animal to the showing so you can meet them and get a sense of how they act. Just be sure to ensure you have considered a pet deposit and laid it out clearly to your future renters.
Take Care with Renovations
When we say take care with renovations, we are referring to evaluating cost versus reward. If your property is in a neighbourhood where rental prices are in the mid-ranges, there is little value in undergoing top end remodels and renovations as it is unlikely that you will earn enough to cover the costs.
Know your market and how much rent you can charge, then work out a renovation budget based on this information.
Renting your home should be treated as a business and you need to stay organized and keep records of everything. Ensure you have records of the rent you receive, expenses you incur, mileage when attending to rental needs, late fees and receipts.
Good record keeping will prevent penalties if you are ever audited, and by keeping track of incomings and outgoings you will see just how profitable your property is.
Before the tenants move in, provide them with a copy of the strata rules & bylaws. Give them a copy as well as keeping a copy they have signed. You are required to provide your strata manager with a Form K. This gives the strata manager their contact information.
Take your Property Online
As with most services and industries, renting your home has moved online with more and more landlords posting their available housing on popular sites like Craigslist, Facebook groups etc. to find their tenants. Once you have found and followed the correct steps of securing your new tenants, the online world can also be a great way to receive payment – e-transfers are trackable, easy and quick to set up between you and your tenants.
When renting out your property your home is essentially a business asset and should be insured as such. Get in touch with a property insurance provider specialist to see what they can offer. Its best to always consider the optional extras such as appliance coverage, rental income and water damage protection. Require your tenants to provide you with a copy of their tenants insurance before they get the keys.
Use a Property Manager
Being a landlord can become a full-time job, so if you don’t have time to be a full-time landlord then you can hire a property manager. This will typically cost around 15% of your rental income but will also reduce the amount of stress. They also help to take care of everything from screening tenants to dealing with emergencies and repairs.
Create a Solid Agreement
When you find a tenant be sure to get everything down in writing, including house rules, dispute procedures and processes for dealing with late fees or non-payment. As a landlord, always use the forms provided by the Residential Tenancy Board. When you do find the right tenants for you, make sure you fill out BC Condition Inspection Report – this is a must. Any addition agreements should be reviewed by a legal professional as it protects your rights as a landlord as well as the rights of your tenant. https://landlordbc.ca/ is a great resource as well.
If you are looking for more information on renting out your Whistler property our agents can answer any question you may have.