Renting a Condo: Top Ten Things You Need to Know

September 27, 2010

Condominium Buildings in GTAWhether you are planning on renting out your condo or plan to rent a condo in Toronto, there are certain things that you will have to consider to make the experience a favorable one. Both sides will have a certain degree of responsibility that will have to be adhered to avoid having law suits and quarrels at the end of the lease. No matter the many advantages that surround renting a condo, there are disadvantages that have to be considered to not be taken by surprise during the whole process. Some of the common things that have to be taken into consideration are:

For Tenants

Location: This is usually one of the first factors that come into play when you are planning on renting a condo. This will determine how many other expenses you will have to bear at the end of the month and the period of adaptation that you will have to go through as well. Many people often associate what they hear about a place to assume that it is a good place to be. While this might not be true all of the times,it is important that some effort be made to investigate a little more about the area that you are planning to rent. Going to have a look at a condo only once is never a good a idea. It is important that you take the time to know the area that you will be (if you do not know it already) and also to see how your family ( if you have one) will adapt and the necessary changes that everyone will have to undergo when you rent the condo.

The Fine Print- No matter how extensive a leasing contract may look always take the time to read through each line to ensure that you getting what you bargained for. Some people just sign when they are presented the lease and assume that all contracts are the same. You will need to know what your responsibilities will be as a tenant and what will be expected of the landlord. If there is something that you do not agree with then use the opportunity to highlight this to the landlord and see if any changes can be made for you to get a contract that attends better to your needs.

No Equity- One of the main disadvantages about renting a condo in Toronto is that you are not building up equity. This means that at the end of your lease, you still do not own somewhere to live and will be looking for somewhere else to stay if your lease is not renewed. This is one of the main reasons why all efforts should be made to ensure that you plan a budget and see what steps can be taken to secure a mortgage to buy a house/condo. When you are making mortgage payments, then you are building up equity; because you know that if you are not delinquent with your payments you will have somewhere to live at the end of paying your installments.

The Rules – Different landlords will have different rules about renting a condo in GTA. In some cases there may be rules about guests sleeping over, visiting or time to arrive at the condominium at night. If you are constantly having parties and enjoy having friends over to visit you, then you will have to consider this when you are renting a condo. You will also not be allowed to make changes to the condo that you are renting.

The Additional Payments- A studio rental includes more than just the money you will pay for rent. Some people get caught in the trap of thinking that they are only required to pay the agreed rent amount and that is it. There are maintenance fees to consider and also amenities that come into play and if you are on a tight budget,  then you may be in for an unpleasant surprise if you cannot afford them. Always ask the landlord or agency if amenities are included in the rent and the amount that you will be required to pay if that is not the case. When a background check is performed by the landlord or agency to see if you are credible to rent the condo, they usually try to pass this additional expense on to you. Some are dishonest enough to charge more than what the actual check costs, so ensure that you are not being given a six for a nine.
Another very important thing to bear in mind is the condition of the condo that you are renting. When your lease has expired, some agencies and landlords may try to be ‘clever’ by claiming that you damaged something, so that they can hold onto your deposit. Know what you are renting and highlight anything that has to be fixed before you hand over the condo.

For Landlords

Background Checks- No matter how professional, attractive, articulated or well intentioned a potential tenant may appear to be, always do the necessary background checks to know more about them personally and their financial credibility. You should never be too anxious to rent a condo that you forget to perform the necessary checks about the person that you intend to rent the condo to.

The Fine Print- Always have everything in writing. Nothing should be agreed by word of mouth, because this does not have any standing in a court setting. If modifications have to be made to the contract to ensure that both parties are satisfied with the terms then take the necessary steps to ensure that the contract is clear that there is nothing present to contradict another clause. If necessary, get help from a lawyer to prepare the contract.

The Law- There are different laws that govern renting a condo in Toronto and you should be aware of your own responsibilities. You will need to know what needs to be declared, if there are tax breaks that you can claim, the building guidelines that the condo has to adhere to before it is rented  a tenant and any other special fees that are to be paid over to the Government.

Utility Bills- If the utility bills have your name on them and are not included in the rent, then try to collect relevant amounts from your tenant. This will avoid the unpleasant experience of a tenant leaving and not paying their utility bills and forcing you to pay for it. Some tenant are responsible enough to know that these bills are required of them when they rent a condo in Toronto, but there are others that are not.

Maintenance and Reform- A good landlord will ensure that all the necessary steps are taken to ensure that the condo being rented is comfortable and everything in place to guarantee a safe and clean environment. If you are renting a condo to a family with children, then you should also be prepared to know that you may have to do maintenance to the place after they move out. Doing frequent reforms will not only save you trouble in the long run, it will also guarantee happy tenants as well.

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