Mistake #1 – Accepting a damage deposit unless you are sure this is the tenant you want to rent to. Paying the security deposit establishes a tenancy so once money is exchanged it’s a done deal.
Mistake #2 – Having a verbal agreement. Believe it or not, there are still some landlords that don’t have written rental or lease agreements in place. They believe that a verbal agreement is enough. Even if you are renting to friends or family, you should have a written rental agreement in place. This sets a professional tone to your housing agreement and avoids disputes down the road. Also it’s important to know that the Residential Tenancy Act and its rules still apply even when there is no written tenancy agreement in place.
Mistake #3 – Not having a rock solid addendum to the rental agreement in place. This addendum includes all your additional terms such as if you allow pets, smoking, pools, fire pits, and so on. You can purchase our Rental Addendum here for a ridiculously low price.
Mistake #4 – Blindly trusting what a prospective tenant tells you. Entering into a business relationship with anyone, let alone a tenant, without confirming the details they give you is foolish. Call their rental references. Check their social media profiles. Trust by verify. Read more tips on the 5 Best Techniques To Investigate Prospective Tenants
Mistake #5 – Asking illegal questions. To avoid getting into deep trouble with the Residential Tenancy Branch or the Human Rights Tribunal, you need to know what you are not allowed to ask tenants or base your renting decisions on. Some things you are not allowed to ask tenants is if they are on income assistance, or what their age is (unless your property has an age restriction bylaw), or to see their bank statement. All this information can be found on the website for the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner at www.oipc.bc.ca.
A landlord must also comply with the Human Rights Code. Similarly, prospective tenants cannot be denied accommodation for reasons related to race, ancestry, place of origin, colour, ethnic origin, citizenship, creed, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, age, marital status, family status, or disability.
Mistake #6 – Not screening before showing. Doing this a few times will have you pulling your hair out because so many tenants do not show up for their viewing appointments. Even if they do show up, they may not be your ideal tenant. One way to avoid this hassle is to have tenants fill out a Viewing Application (coming to this website soon). For another easy way to pre-screen tenants, read #1 Way To Screen Tenants That Will Make Your Life Easier.