If you are a landlord and own a townhouse, condo, duplex, or apartments that are up for rent, you will occasionally face times when you face a vacancy and need to fill it as soon as possible. A vacant unit results in lost income, and it is always in your best interest to be prepared to rent a space.
Below, I’ll outline some of the lessons that I have learned as a long-term landlord in ensuring my properties have a low vacancy rate, and that I have maintained excellent relationships with my tenants.
Advertising your unit
To let renters know that you have a unit up for lease, you’ll need to advertise. Most landlords rely on local newspapers, websites, or classified sites like Craigslist to contact the rental market. In general, this strategy can be very successful, and in some cases - too successful.
Landlords tend to be busy, working people, and it can be overwhelming to receive upwards of 20 to 30 phone calls per day. Each potential renter will ask the same questions, and will want to know more about the unit then the details, they may also ask about the neighbourhood, transit, amenities and more.
Handling responses to your vacancy
People who are looking to rent may not be the best at following up, and you may need to speak to 5 to 10 potential renters before you can feel confident that you’ll land a tenant. From there, you can book slots of time that will allow potential renters to view your property.
You’ll want to book more appointments than you might think you need because of the nature of the rental market. Some renters are shopping around and may not be interested in your unit, and others may fail to show up for their appointment at all. This process can be frustrating, but it is important not to take it personally, and to stay positive when speaking to your tenants. This process can take some time and work, but booking a number of appointments in advance and having a game plan in mind can save you time and money.
I have been a landlord in the rental business for over 15 years, and I’d like to share some of my experiences with other landlords to help make the experience easier for them, and for tenants. Here are some things I have learned:
Advertise at your property: The first and most effective recommendation I have for renting out unoccupied apartments is to purchase your own For Rent sign, and to display it right at your property. When you do this, your neighbours and people who are searching locally will help you spread information on your rental through word of mouth. You may be lucky to have the family and friends of a neighbour move in - people with connections who will care about the property and your neighbourhood. If you place a sign directly in front of your rental, you will undoubtedly hear responses within a week
You can also use your property to advertise in other ways, using the front windows to post information about the rental and neighbourhood. If you have the time, I also recommend that you create a brief video tour of your property that can be popped on youtube.
Advertise locally: I also recommend that you place a second For Rent sign (or series of poster) at busy intersections nearby. Be sure to put the major details (number of bedrooms, number of baths, price per month, and major intersection. I do not recommend that you put your phone number on this advertisement. Instead, it is intended to lead serious renters to your property for inquiries.
Advertising your rental in this way will ensure you don’t receive too many inquiries from people who may not be serious about renting. In many cases, I am able to rent out a unit after fielding only 2 or 3 phone calls.
A landlord can only hope that the selected tenant will be trustworthy, care for the property, and will pay rent on time. But as we all know, there are many cases where after renting out, you must spend months serving notices before finally evicting a non-paying tenant. To help minimize the likelihood of this happening, I have excellent advice for landlords.
The Section 8 program ensures high occupancy
It can be difficult to find reliable tenants, so I am going to provide you with advice that can put you in a position to be in a good relationship with your tenants, to ensure you are paid each month, adn to ensure your rent is guaranteed by the government. Through the Section 8 program, renters are able to apply for financial assistance for the cost of their housing. Once approved, a tenant will be given a voucher that will be paid toward their rent each month, directly to their landlord. This program is excellent for tenants, but also for landlords, who benefit from pre-screening, inspections of their property, and an assurance of occupancy each month.
When you register your property as a Section 8 rental, you are eligible to receive a large portion (and in some cases, all) of your tenants rent through the government. This removes worry about receiving payment and deliquent tenants. Beyond this, it is important that you know that Section 8 housing is in high demand. If you have your property registered through Section 8, you’ll have a lineup of families hoping to rent, and will not face issues with low occupancy.
Section 8 rentals for financial security
I am a landlord who has worked for more than 15 years in renting properties. In this time, I have learned about Section 8, and how much it benefits both landlords and tenants. If you are a landlord, I urge you to consider registering your properties through Section 8. Not only will you be providing social support for families who need it, you’ll be doing so in a way that ensures your income is more secure each month.
You can find out more about the Section 8 program through Google, or through my blog. Any landlord who struggles with low occupancy rates should truly considering enrolling today.