Follow-up to July 1st, 2010

Published on by Martin A. Messier

Topic(s): Regulation

Source: Word of the editor

Follow-up to July 1st, 2010

Each year we receive calls from property owners who are unsure how to interact with their new tenants at the beginning of this new landlord-tenant relationship.

The discussions we have had with our members each year at the beginning of the landlord-tenant relationship, as well as for the ensuing years, have inspired us to share the knowledge and experience we have gained.

Firstly, contrary to belief, this relationship begins the moment you decide on the wording of the advertisement that enabled you to find a tenant. The choice of media, the words used in the advertisement, as well as the tenant's visit of the apartment all set the tone to this relationship which can turn out to be pleasant or nightmarish in the months that follow.

Experience shows that when owners are clear about their expectations their expectations, this can favor renting the apartment quickly in certain cases, but experience also shows that the consequences are sometimes regrettable.

One typical example is a clause which excludes animals. Too often we see owners who don't want animals change their policy to rent their apartment and try to slip in vague restrictions such as ‘small puppy accepted’ or ‘dog of reasonable size’. These provisions, which leave room for interpretation, often cause numerous surprises when the tenant moves in, in many cases both for them and for the landlord. For some, a puppy is a small animal weighing one or two kilograms, whereas others it means a Golden Retriever, which is, according to them, much smaller than a Great Dane. Who is wrong, who is right? The arguments and accusations fly in both directions and the conflict colors the future relationship in an unpleasant way.

We realize that, although size can be an issue, the animal itself, or rather the way in which it is described also has its importance.

By spelling out their expectations in a clear way, landlords will experience fewer incidents when the tenant moves in.

There is also the question of the habits of the new tenant. Here too, achieving a clear agreement from the start can save landlords a lot of worry and headaches.

From the first day onwards it's important to explain your way of operating so that you and the tenant can start on solid ground. This applies to the payment of the rent, the noise level, bicycles in the staircase, storage and many other issues, because each landlord's building is different and this requires a different approach in each case.

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