Small Scale Landlords

by Mr. Cheap

I was in Tim Horton’s recently, and overheard two men talking.  One of them was saying “I got cash from him in the first month, but I haven’t gotten anything since then.”  Perking up at a real estate discussion, I casually eavesdropped.  They were on their way out, but I heard him continue saying “I don’t even know if the name he gave me is a real name.  I’ve never seen any I.D. or his student records or anything…”

Sadly this is quite common: someone decides to get into land lording, perhaps renting out a room in their house, or converting their basement into a small apartment.  Figuring that they’re operating on such a small scale, they throw caution to the wind and rent based on their gut feeling.  People follow a similar approach with subletting, reasoning “I’m not a landlord, I’m just subletting my apartment.”

Although there are *SOME* *SMALL* legal difference based on the number of units in a building, for the most part when you start selling housing to someone you’re a landlord. All the standard legal protections for tenants apply.  If you’re subletting your apartment and something happens, you will be in the middle of the situation. If you’re renting out part of your house and they turn into a bad tenant, it’s just as bad as a tenant in a typical apartment, except they’re LIVING WITH YOU! Whatever the situation is for the Tim Horton’s guy, I find it SHOCKING that he would rent to someone without even verifying their identity.

Since most of The Residential Tenancies Act applies to them, it is well worth landlords (and soon-to-be-landlords) to review it.  Many of the expectations some people have (such as “it’s my house, I can make whatever rules I want!”) are explicitly rejected.  I’m positive it’s a joke, but Krystal at Give Me Back My Five Dollars posted an amusing example of this sort of thing.

Two married friends of mine bought a house a year ago, and have been renovating the basement to rent out as a student apartment.  The wife has been asking me for advice, and is trying her best to make the best possible decisions.  The husband has been acting from a place of anxiety, and just wants to get someone in and paying rent as soon as possible.  I’ve warned him that a bad tenant is worse than no tenant, but he feels pressured to get rent checks coming in soon.

I think often people who end up renting out part of their houses want the rent, but they don’t want the tenant.  They figure there’s some way they can make enough rules that the tenant will be so inconspicuous (until rent is due) that it’ll almost be like they’re living without a tenant. When I was first looking for a place to rent at the start of my Masters, I looked at homes where people were renting out rooms. Without fail, I found that each one had the attitude “I want your rent, but I don’t really want you living here”. One landlord complained about the current tenant having a boyfriend spend the night without asking his permission, and another told me the place was air conditioned, but HE would decide when the AC was on or off.

It doesn’t work this way. If someone is paying money to rent a place, they rightfully expect to be able to live there (ideally without a tyrant telling them 500 things they can and can’t do). It’s not a universally agreed upon perspective, but I view my tenants as customers. I won’t be able to say yes to EVERY request they make, but I certainly want them to be happy in their tenancy (and hopefully remain for as long as possible).

I’m not sure that Ontario has the right balance, but a tenancy agreement *IS* a legal contract, and the rights of both parties need to be protected.  In Ontario, and in most other places, legal protections ARE automatically put in place (even if there isn’t a written contract.  These need to be understood, even when property owner doesn’t view the rental situation they’re offering as “that serious”.

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{ 41 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Neil

Hi

Not sure whether this applies in your legal system, but in the UK you can end up with a tennant that has the right to stay in a property until they die (at a “fair” rent) if you don’t follow the proper legal procedures.

This is a massive risk for DIY landlords.

2 Mr. Cheap

Neil: As far as I know, there’s nothing like that in Canada. That would certainly be a massive risk for UK landlords. What happens if you sell the building that the lifelong tenant is in?

3 Neil

Hi

The property is then sold with a “sitting tennant” at consequently below market rate (i.e. the right og the tennant to remain is not altered by selling the property). The valuation depends (rather chillingly) on the age of the tennant!

In fact there is a whole class of investing called reversionary property investment that involves buying up properties with sitting tennants and waiting for them to die. A bit too morbid for me :)

4 Mr. Cheap

Neil: Crazy. It might be a decent strategy to buy up “reversionary properties” (on the cheap) and hope someone in government comes to their senses and fixes the law (might be a long wait though).

I guess the tenants realize they’ve hit the gold mine and are reluctant to leave, eh? There’s no way to offer them a pay out if they terminate their tenancy or anything?

5 Neil

It is crazy. I’m not sure I would want to base any investment strategy on good-sense government :)

I’m sure that it would be possible to offer a tennant money to quit. I’ve never actually been in this situation myself so I’m not sure if it has ever been done.

6 Canadian Real Estate Investor

I do agree with you that many first time landlords don’t do nearly enough due diligence on a prospective tenant. Many see the cash and instantly hand over the keys, while barely knowing the tenant’s name. This is a recipe for disaster – sooner or later they’ll lose money.

With regards to the Residential Tenancies Act, it actually has quite a list of exemptions, and one of them includes you or a family member sharing a bathroom or kitchen with a ‘tenant’. So basically, when you rent rooms in your home, the typical landlord rules don’t apply (this makes sense actually – can you imagine a judge forcing you to live with someone you don’t want in your own home?). Note that this exemption doesn’t apply if your home has a completely separate living unit (e.g. second suite in the basement with a separate entrance, etc.). Check it out:

Residential Tenancies Act, 2006, Part I, Section 5i
http://www.e-laws.gov.on.ca/html/statutes/english/elaws_statutes_06r17_e.htm#BK5

Exemptions from Act
5. This Act does not apply with respect to,

(i) living accommodation whose occupant or occupants are required to share a bathroom or kitchen facility with the owner, the owners spouse, child or parent or the spouses child or parent, and where the owner, spouse, child or parent lives in the building in which the living accommodation is located;

I’ve successfully rented out rooms in my home for over 10 years and have never had to deal with the Rental Tribunal. My rental properties, however, are a different story, as the RTA definitely applies.

7 Mr. Cheap

CREI: I actually did mean a completely separate living unit (e.g. a basement apartment), but I also talked about borders in the post and was perhaps unclear about this.

A judge *could* force you to live with someone in your basement apartment (and would suck if you were in a dispute and had to see them every day when you were heading out for work or taking out the trash).

Living with borders in your house would a whole other game (I’ve been investigating doing so but have a number of reservations).

Thanks for the clarification and link.

8 DavidV

Do people get credit checks of people who may rent from them? What’s the best way to try to avoid headaches later on?

9 Canadian Real Estate Investor

Mr Cheap – You’re right about the basement suite. A lot of people don’t think about that. They think they can just create a second apartment, rent to someone, and if they don’t like them, kick them out. Unfortunately, because the RTA applies, it’s just like they’re renting an apartment. You have to give them notice to enter, warning about rent increases, etc.

DavidV – Landlords can do credit checks (Rent Check is the best way to do this – http://www.rentcheckcorp.com/), but they don’t always tell the whole story. For example, a person may have a bunch of collection items on their credit report for things such as cell phones or utilities, but they have always paid their rent on time. Or their credit might be perfect but they have a habit of trashing apartments.

Rent Check is good, as they provide credit and tenant type information (e.g. evictions or judgements), but while the credit reporting agencies provide the credit info, the tenant info is submitted by landlords. So if a landlord evicts a tenant but doesn’t report it, the next person can get easily burned because it doesn’t show up anywhere.

Here are a few tips to protect yourself:

– Have the applicant fill out a full application form. Collect all the info you can, including references, emergency contacts, etc. The more you have, the better, as it will help you later if it goes to collections.

– Verify employment information and past landlords. Always check at least 2 landlords because their current one may say anything to get them to leave.

– Do a surprise visit at their current residence. Tell them you forgot to get some information (make something up). Notice how their apartment or car looks. If it’s a mess, you can bet your apartment will look the same soon after move in

Hope this helps

Paul Blacquiere

10 derek

I’ve rented out rooms 3 times (rented them myself twice), had a basement suite rented out and the entire house (2 suites). It was mostly good save for one basement tenant. He left a small mess and several months unpaid bills.

I did minor background checks (usually job/character references) and had little problem. This person however was a single father and my wife taught one of his kids and asked me to take pitty on him and ‘let him rent’. Well i let him stay anyways.

Point being never use your heart or gut. Stick to facts!

On a final note i rented a basement room last year (and full use of the house) to a University kid and she was excellent! Even babysat the kids!. ;->

11 corey

I am currently going through something with my landlady and I am having my boyfriend move in and she is trying to decide how much extra I will have to pay because we will she says be using more water. She says this part of the building uses alot of water it is the older part but downstairs there is a shop where they make pottery and the store is a hair dresser and how much more water is my boyfriend going to use? I am not allowed to have a washer or anything like that so I do not use much water we will shower every 2 days and I wash dishes once a day, so how much can she raise it? She is a control freak and I am on odsp and today she left saying sarcastically to me well I have to work for a living, I am on odsp for a reason she will not listen to me at all she just tells me she does not want to hear it, she is so rude to me and I am very quiet and she says she does not want to lose me as a tenant but I don’t think I should have to put up with her sacastic remarks and this is not the first time this has happened her being rude to me. Any kind of help would be very much appreciated

12 Adam

@corey

Corey, from a landlords perspective – which I am, your personal situation cannot come into play. It’s a business, and as such needs to be operated as a business. She sounds like a very specific, factual person. Your only defense is to arm yourself with the correct information from the tenancy act. That is all that matters. Period.

As for raising your rent, it can be done (In Canada) annually at a prescribed rate that is posted by the gov’t. I believe it’s the posted inflation rate + 2%. Confirm that on your own. That is all your landlady is legally allowed to raise your rent by.

Finally, for my tenants – I ensure that I write into the contract who is living in the unit. If they decide to add occupants, the contract is opened for renegotiation. Despite what you may think, additional occupants consume additional utilities. That is a real cost that needs to be paid for by the tenants. Rentals are not charities. For this very reason I charge a % of utilities over and above the base rent cost. (ie $1000 base rent + 50% of utilities). This allows me to ensure that if utility costs increase, I don’t have to worry about the rules & regs regarding rent increases to recoup costs, as those regs only apply to the base rent. As utlility costs increase, there is an immediate reflection of that in the tenants costs. It also ensure they don’t open every single window in December and crank the heat up.

Adam

13 Northern Alex

Corey & Adam:

Rent increase is different in many provinces.
Rent in Alberta can be increased/decreased without any long time periode.

Rent in Ontario: The Landlord and Tenant Board will tell every landlord how much he is allowed to increase the rent.

The 2008 guideline was 1.4 per cent.
The 2009 guideline is 1.8 per cent.
The 2010 guideline will be 2.1 per cent.

The tenant must be given proper written notice of the rental increase at least 90 days before the rent increase takes effect. The tenant hast have lived minium 12 months in the apartment before he can receive a rent increase.
Read more at http://www.ltb.gov.on.ca/

Regarding your boy friend moving with you:
He is going to use the shower, the bath room, the stove, the lights aso, that means, that the expenses are going to be higher for your landlord if you have an all inclusive rent. Is there a chance to get an individual meter, as it sounds, that you use lesser than the other tenants?

Adam:
“Finally, for my tenants – I ensure that I write into the contract who is living in the unit. If they decide to add occupants, the contract is opened for renegotiation.”

You are not in Ontario, right? :))))

14 Nathalie

Hello Corey,

Your landlady can’t change your rent more then 1.9% in ontario (and she has to give you 90 days WRITTEN notice, and she can only do this every 12 months). Does your lease have anything about how many people can live in the apartment? If she stated that you can’t have any more people living there you might have no luck and need to re-write the lease with the boyfriend included, but you still might get the rent protection (1.9% raise since you remain on the lease in the same property). Otherwise you will have to be responsible for your boyfriend and make sure he doesn’t damage anything.

But you should call the landlord and tenant board at 1-888-332-3234 if you live in ontario, (which I think you do since you have odsp which is an Ontario program).

So if your rent was $500 for example, she could only charge you $509.50 , it’s a very small increase (calculate your rent *1.019). If your utilities are included in your rent she can’t increase that amount. Her whole water argument is worthless as rent which includes the utilities are still subject to the 1.9% rule, and if she wants to raise rent above that she would have to appeal to the landlord and tenant board.

She can also not just come to your apartment to bother you, if she wants to come into your apartment she has to give you 24 hours notice.

Honestly call the landlord and tenant board for help, your landlord sounds like a nightmare. I’m a landlord myself and can’t imagine someone being so uncaring and unlawful…

Best regards,
Nathalie.

15 Northern Alex

Nathalie…. The 1.9% you mentioned are wrong.

I posted the last, current and next years LTB allowance .. 1,9% is not mentioned! 2009 is 1.8%! I assume, just a typo on your side.

Nathalie, you also wrote: “…Does your lease have anything about how many people can live in the apartment? If she stated that you cant have any more people living there you might have no luck and ….”

Let us assume that Corey moved in alone and letus also assume that her Landlord has a clause that she has to live alone there (????), this clause would be void by the RTA.
She could move in as a single and two days later her boy friend moves in. And us, the Landlord, can’t do anything about it.
The maximum amount in an apartment is getting mentioned in your local city bylaw, but not in the RTA.

I am a landlord, too, who went this road before to figure out, what to do with my 2 BR rented to one girl and 2 weeks later you had 2 more girls living there….. without the possibility of increasing the rent because of higher water/hydro aso!

In this case, Corey and her boy friend could live there without a new rental agreement.

Cheers,

Northern Alex.

16 tk

i’m a small scale landlord with a 2 unit townhouse and another basement apartment (the unit are not separately metered). currently all units are all inclusive of utilities but i am seeing behaviour similar to what adam described where it’s 10 degrees outside but the A/C is going instead of the window being opened. i’d like to modify the lease agreement next time it’s up for renewal and have it exclude the utilities, however, i am unsure of how to split the amount between rental units, especially between the 2 units at the townhouse. i am also weary of what happens when tenants move out since they may be gone before the last bill arrives and some utility bills are even bi-monthly.

any advice from more experienced landlords?

thanks,

tk.

17 Nathalie

Thanks Alex, I did have a mistake there with the LTB allowance :)

I usually am not really on the side of the tenant, but in this case the landlord seems to be taking advantage of the tenant (and her lack of knowledge of the landlord/tenant law) in my opinion. I didn’t know that landlords can’t restrict the number of tenants in a unit, that is kind of scary if you get a tenant that checks out and then have destructive people sneak in.

TK, you might be able to get the tenants to agree to modify the agreement, but you can’t force them. You can’t really fairly make them pay for the utilities until you split them up with separate meters which is an added cost.

When we look for properties to purchase, we first check if heat/hydro is metered separately and paid for by the tenants, it’s a significant cost to split the utilities up if they were not so in the first place.

We had an unfortunate accident happen to us.. one of our tenants in our fourplex burnt the place to the ground in Feb.. we are finally in the process of rebuilding and making sure they all have separate heat/hydro. It makes a HUGE difference in ROI.

On a separate note, please make sure you have the correct insurance, rent protection (where you are paid rent while rebuilding which will take about a year with waiting for insurance to dispence funds), and get a Replacement Cost policy for the building (this means they will pay to rebuild it, not an Actual Cost Policy where they give you what they think is the market value) it will save you a HUGE amount of money if anything happens. Unfortunately for us we had an ACV policy and had to fight like crazy for the insurance company to pay a fair amount out.

Nathalie.

18 Northern Alex

@tk: Theoretically you can’t charge a PLUS UTIL rent if you don’t have separate meters. A tenant could sign, but refuse to pay and you would have to go to LTB and request payment, but would loose in a second.

What I did at my all incl. rentals: I locked the thermostat with boxes. All cities have Minimum Apartment Temperature by-laws.
I use them and add 1 degree C and prevent overheating or extreme cooling to regulate the expenses as good as possible.

If a tenant moves out and you receive afterwards the bill…. well, this is theoretically you expense as you rented it as “all incl.”.

Make sure to add in your rental agreement that they have to contact you if they wish to add “high energy units” like AC, Dryer, additional fridge, aso in the house. You can restrict there amount and usage as good as possible.

Good Luck, try to talk to them and they might accept to pay more. I thread my tenants as Customers, but they also know that a customer has obligations.

Legal Annual rent increase: If you can proof that you paid much much more utility compared to the last year- there is a way to increase the rent not only 1.8%, but by 2.7%. But that is the max. Read my link in my first posting.

@Natalie:
Yep, I totally agree. It really is scary that you can’t control who is coming in after the current tenant had a “successor” and left. This shows us one more time how important the first screening is.

I had professional tenants as my first tenant. Cost me some money, but taught me to know my stuff.

Nowadays I try to buy multi res with separate meters. Everything else is just a Win/Loose for either one of us (tenant or Landlord). I don’t like to get what I actually shouldn’t get, but on the other hand I don’t like to pay because someone uses too much.

Interesting info in regards of insurance: I know that I have Rent Protection, but don’t know which other term I have. Thank you, will double check.

Cheers,

Northern Alex.

19 Nathalie

Alex,

I found some info, if you have a tenant that lives in your unit and it’s not the one you have a lease with, you can evict them. http://landlordselfhelp.com/education/forum_q_a.asp?sub_id=75&sub_catid=1&sub_name=Not%20my%20tenant

I like that website, it has a lot of useful info for Ontario Landlords.

Nathalie.

20 Northern Alex

Hello Nathalie.

Thank you for the link. I really love them to ask for legal advise. I am a member of our local Landlord City Association. One of our members lost a couple weeks ago after evicting a “successor”.
The mediator refused to evict the “new” tenant as he payed his rent on time and already lived there before.

Maybe just a single incident, but worth mentioning (Not even mentioning the high expenses!).

Anyhow, staying with the original post:

Landlords should… (Ontario Version):
– Request Rental Application
– Do due diligence (scanning, call references, aso)
– Have written Rental Agreement
– Walk through apartment and list about current status and included items of apartment with tenant and get signed
– Double check ID
– Hand out “Information for New Tenants” from LTB (http://www.ltb.gov.on.ca/en/Key_Information/STEL02_111600.html)
– Collect rent and give a receipt
– Hand out at the beginning of the lease a N9, so he/she will have the right document if they terminate his rental agreement confirming the LTB board
– Double check, if tenant terminates agreement, if legal aspects are fulfilled (60 days, signed aso)
– two weeks and on last day before they move do a walk through and check for changes of previous walk through- not wear and tear
– Get keys back

Most important:
STAY CONFIRMING THE LTB AND KEEP NOTES IN TENANT FILES. (like, when changed fire alarm and CO detector battery, or if any incidents happend).

BTW:
I always issue a N4 to a tenant if he does not pay on time on the 1st of every month, but I also try to fix any issue which a Tenant (customer) requests at once.

Cheers,

Alex.

21 Nathalie

Very good suggestions Alex. I also never accept a tenant who can’t give 1st and last month’s rent, if they can’t save up that, then chances are they will default on rent really soon. I also like taking photo/video evidence of the condition of the apartment when the tenant moves in.

The point on the detectors is very important, I had to show logs of when we changed out our fire detector batteries (to the firemen, they can lay charges if they think you are negligent in this point, plus the insurance company might dissalow your claim if they find you negligent) when the place burned down, luckily the insurance did an inspection on the fourplex a couple of months before the fire as well and all detectors were working.
Nat.

22 Adam

Alex:

Sorry, I was being specific to BC not Ontario… I didn’t realize this was an Ont based situation. I don’t know the specifics in Ontario.

Another thing I do with my tenants is anytime I need to do anything in a unit or regarding a unit, I always provide written notice along with a photocopied section of the RTA that applies. This way the tenant can have all the information up front to help alleviate any undue concerns, and hopefully garner polite cooperation.

BC allowable rent increase for 2009 is 3.7%

23 Tory in Markham

I’m looking to become a landlord pretty soon, renting out a whole house that I inherited. I have been running some numbers and it seems that if you declare the rent as income, it’s hardly worth it! In my tax bracket, the government will take half. :(

I was curious….if you feel comfortable sharing….how many of you declare rent income as income?

If you do declare rent as income, are there any deductions that can be made to offset this?

Thank you!!

24 Nathalie

Hello,
Of course you have to declare the income, it’s very easy for the government to figure out you have two properties (think property taxes lol!)

You can deduct a LOT of stuff though so you won’t pay much taxes on one house.

Some deductions are mortgage interest, any maintenance you hire someone else to do (labor, but not your own) any materials you need for repairs, lawn service company, utilities, and more I’m sure I’m forgetting. Check out tax form T776 for all the deductions you can take. If you co-own the property you only claim 50% each of the income.

Definitely declare it though! :)

Nathalie.

25 Tory in Markham

Hi Nathalie, thanks for your answer! I’ve heard stories from other landlords that “most” landlords don’t declare the income (and so don’t declare the expenses either). I guess it’s hard to find out the truth since people declaring the income are likely to admit it, while the others are not.

The house is mortgage-free and shouldn’t need a lot of repairs. Other than insurance, I’m not really expecting to be able to claim a lot. For this reason, I’m concerned about losing HALF to taxes.

26 Mr. Cheap

Tory: Definitely declare it. In Ontario, as you may know, people can deduct the rent they pay. The government does this to identify landlords who aren’t declaring the income. All you need is one of your tenants to take this deduction (or, as Nathalie says, to see that you’re paying two property taxes) and you’re in trouble. Not worth it at all.

The deductions are what reduce the taxes. While you may not be paying a mortgage, there will be other expenses you can deduct. Additionally, you can depreciate the building itself, which will save you a bundle of what you would have paid in taxes.

Just because you inherited the house doesn’t mean you have to invest in real estate (by renting it out). Run the numbers and see if it’d be better to rent it out or sell it and invest the proceeds elsewhere.

27 Four Pillars

Tory – I can’t comment on the odds of getting caught in your situation if you don’t declare taxes but keep in mind that you’ll have to get the rent in cash if you want to go that route. If the rent is high then this could be difficult. I would recommend declaring the income.

Regarding taxes – If I was in that situation then I would probably sell the property and invest the money in something more tax friendly. RRSP, TFSA, dividend stocks. For that matter pretty much any equities are probably more tax friendly than your situation.

28 Tory in Markham

Thank you all for the advice. I was under the impression that tenants only declared rent paid if they were students.

29 Mr. Cheap

Tory: They can claim the deduction as well if they’re self-employed. There’s also a provincial tax credit for low-income (less than $40K) individuals: http://www.redflagdeals.com/forums/showthread.php?t=416116
http://www.rev.gov.on.ca/english/credit/ptc/

30 JN

Advice Needed

Looking to rent out my home. Raised bungalow. 3 bedrooms, 1 bath upstairs. 1 bedroom apartment in the basement with seperate entrance.

How should I split the utilities? Added into the cost of rent or create a utilities agreement between upstairs and down? 60/40 and the primary tenant has the bills in their names.

Where is the best place to locate a rental agreement? How do you conduct a credit check on perspective renters?

31 Mr. Cheap

JN: You can do the utilities either way (at least in my neck of the woods, I can’t speak to the tenancy laws where you live). I’d be tempted to get the tenants to split it and I’d do it based on number of people / bedrooms, not on a 60/40 split (I’d be VERY annoyed if I was the guy in the basement and was paying 40% of the utilities). Just be upfront about how you’ll manage the utilities when you’re showing the place (i.e. tell them before they sign a lease).

You can usually get a rental agreement from your local landlords association (or if you have any friends who rent properties, ask for theirs). Some bookstores will sell rental agreement forms (or software to create them). Often there are free forms available on the internet if you search for them (no guarantees on quality of course).

I use Rent Check Credit Bureau (http://www.rentcheckcorp.com/) for credit checks, they’re expensive for only one place though ($20 / check and a $100 annual membership fee or something like that). You can avoid the membership fee if you join the landlord self-help center (http://www.landlordselfhelp.com/frontpage.asp) for $25.

I’ve been intending to do a post on this, maybe I’ll try to write it up for Thursday.

32 NEW LORD

I am currency purchasing my first triplex in ONT. I have the same concerns regarding the ‘utilities’. My building has 1 furnace, and 2 hydro meters. 1 tenant pays own hydro. The other 2 share a hydro meter. I was hoping to add a 3rd meter to monitor the electricity and somehow meter the heat. Is this even possible? If so, does anyone have an idea of the cost behind it? Do I actually have to put 2 more furnaces in the building?

33 Mr. Cheap

NEW LORD: It’s certainly possible to add another meter (contact a licensed electrician for a quote). Be aware, it’s apparently not cheap.

Is the furnace gas or electric (if it’s gas it won’t have anything to do with the hydro)? What happens with it currently with the two meters?

You might find this article from the Toronto Star interesting: http://www.thestar.com/News/GTA/article/607832

34 Nathalie

I wouldn’t install two more furnaces, I would put two of the units on baseboard electric heat which is WAY cheaper (you can get that for less then $500 per apartment) and gives the tenants only one (hydro) bill. You’d have to get a few estimates for splitting up hydro from a few electricians (ask if the estimate is free when setting up the appointment, and you can do this before you purchase), they would also know the cost of adding an extra meter.

As for doing this work while the tenants are in the apartments, you would have to get them to agree to pay for their own utilities, but you’d have to lower the rent to compensate, and it’s their own choice. It’s better to do this work between tenants. But it definitely is worth it from a cash flow perspective.

If you didn’t buy the triplex yet, try to make some of these changes part of your offer, (depending on how desperate someone is to sell, they might split the hydro up for you). Personally we made it a priority to purchase a property where there were separate hydro meters. The hydro company in our town only has the tenants name on the bill and if they default they go after the tenant, not me. I like that.

I also get the electric company to call me if the tenant is late, then you can fasttrack the eviction as the heat is electric and if there is a threat of no heat and pipes bursting, that could cause damage to your unit, then you can get them out in 7 days instead of 2 months if you have a nightmare tenant (and inherited tenants CAN be a nightmare).

35 Mr. Cheap

Nathalie: Great info, thanks!

36 werner retired

For non payment on the due date , the tennant is in breach of an agreenment. And the landlord must have the right to kick him out ,without notice . Everthing else , like giving a 30 day notice, is garbadge. Kick him out, whatever it takes and then let him sue you, if he wants to absorb the cost of litigation. Most tennants are bumms ,and don’t you vorget it

37 Nathalie

Kinda sounds like you’re a slumlord to me if your tenants are all bums.. Tenants have rights. They can even get free representation and the law is on their side even if they are late if you kick them out. My tenants are not bums, we have a nurse, a paramedic, a secretary, you have to SCREEN your tenants so you don’t end up with the bad ones ;)

38 Dan McIntyre

If there is not enough heat tenants need to withhold the rent!

39 sean

I own a triplex in the rual area. I have 2 tennants that live there as well as my self. I charge one tennant rent + utilities and the other inclusive.
I live in the third appt. There is only one well one pressure tank three hot water tanks and three hydro meters. The one tennant has the filtration system and the pressure tank hooked up to his pannel box( this is the tennant that is paying rent+hydro) what are the legalities of this situation since he is Paying for the usage from everyone . Is this wrong and if it is how do i fix this problem

40 Heather

I was wondering what I should do. My boyfriend and I moved into a room someone was renting in her home. She is a single mom with a 15 year old son. I am a full time college student who has a part time job and my boyfriend is looking for a second job now, because the one he has has cut his hours so much that he is only making about 600 a month. I make about 450 and my job because they only give about 15 hours a week on average. Well here is the story. We moved in just over a month ago. July 1st. Paid our 400 dollars rent upfront. Later on in the month our landlady said she didn’t have money to pay for electricity and asked for some of Augusts rent early. We gave her 100 dollars that we had started setting aside for rent. then the remaining 300 dollars 3 days before rent was do. Well she sat us don’t last night and said she wants 500 dollars for Septembers rent which should be due Sept. 1st and she wants 100 of it by August 12th. We had an agreement for 300 dollars for our tiney 6 by 8 room and 100 dollars toward ultilities. now she wants us to pay half of all ultilites which is about 200 dollars plus 300 for the room after August. The agreement was for us to pay however much ultilities increased while we were there. They have increased by 88 dollars and we are paying her 100 which we are fine with, but now she insists it is not fair she pays more then us. Her and her son constantly leave lights on, TV’s crank the AC down. I don’t think it is right to have to pay for her doing all of that. Before anyone asks there is only a verbal contract… Huge mistake.. We already have the month of August rent paid, but we want to leave now. Can we even ask for a refund? Do any land lords have any advice for us? If we leave before finding somewhere else he will have to go back to California with family and I will have to stay in Arizona with my family.

41 td

I am experiencing something similar. They don’t like my boyfriend or me. I was suppose to be out of their home but I can stay but can’t have no overnight guests but I pay to rent a room like I’m some kid all of a sudden. Me & rules don’t get along but that’s the price I pay. Well I’m up and out of here asap. That’s the price they will pay imposing rules on a renter. I shouldn’t have to ask what can I can or can not do. First it wasn’t a problem. So what’s the diff

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