You would learn many things as you enter this business. The most important of all is of course the law and how it applies to you when you become a landlord. You will find in this section a brief outline of what you need to know and do when you plan to rent your home.
Zoning of your home – You need to find out about the zoning status of the area your house is located in and understand the laws that govern it. Contact and discuss with house owners in the vicinity who are renting in that area for a better idea of the local rules and regulations and their correct interpretation. Educate yourself on all the changes that would affect your home.
Learn about the locals laws – You need to look up the Federal Fair Housing Law, which governs the property owners all over the USA. These websites would be very helpful: http://www.hud.gov/offices/fheo/FHLaws/ (USA) and http://laws.justice.gc.ca/eng/H-6/index.html
(Canada). These particular laws outline the points that could be interpreted as discrimination, which would be construed as against the law. This law is further refined in most states and provinces, another reason for which you need to find out the local laws.
Home Owners Association (or strata) – You will find that in addition to the overall letter of the law, you would have another regulatory body at micro level: this is the homeowners association, whose responsibility would be to define rules and regulations for both homeowners and tenants. You would be able to find these documents in the community’s Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions (CC&R), and these more than anything would be the ground rules you must apply to your rental. For example, in some places the CC&Rs would dictate that the place in a given area should not be rented to senior people above a certain age (say, 65) or students below a certain age (say, 25) without one of their parents. These are rules that are applicable to your rentals and you need to adhere to them.
There are also rules that protect disabled persons. In some areas such a person is allowed by the law to modify your home at your cost to be able to move without inconvenience. At the same time, he or she would be bound to get the house in the same condition they found it at their own cost before they conclude the lease – of course, this would be better applicable to the long-term rentals rather the short term.
Under the disabled person protection, you will also find the clause about pets. Here an animal – such as a dog – is an aide to the disabled person and is trained as a guide for a person with impaired eyesight. In such cases, you need to know that the rules about pets do not apply.
Business License and Permits – Then, you have the licenses and permits. Contact your city’s government officials to find out what exactly you need to apply for under the local laws. There would be a requirement to apply for a permit to rent your home for short-time basis. Fortunately, in most cases, application for license and permits could be done online.
Safety parameters – Safety and health code regulations are very important. In every state or province, there would be certain codes that need to be followed whether you are renting your property for short or long-term. Some examples would be the fire and smoke alarms, fire extinguishers, locking systems and other safety measures. Do not think of these as waste of money; besides ensuring the safety of your tenants and home, this would also contribute in lowering the costs of your insurance premiums. Talk to your insurance agent and identify which criteria contribute to lowering the projected risks to your home, which ultimately contribute to the calculation of the premium.
Local health and sanitation rules – Each city and region would have their own codes so it is important that you find out what they are and comply with these. You will find that in some places there would be rules governing the methods of linen sanitization, maintenance, water testing of pools, spas maintenance, etc.
Sales Tax – You would also need to check out with the local tax office about the taxes from the rent you receive. The sales tax is additional to the rent that you charge your guests. Your role would be to collect this sales tax and deposit it with the relevant government office.
Slava Kandakou is Managing Director at Golden City Rentals, Vancouver’s leading provider of furnished apartment rentals. Contact us for more info on furnished apartment rentals in Vancouver, furnished house rentals, and Vancouver corporate housing.