Ask landlords and tenants about their rental stories and you’ll most likely hear about the trials and tribulations they experienced throughout their tenancy. The fact of the matter is that there is no need for that. Heading into a landlord-tenant relationship as partners rather than adversaries goes a long way in ensuring that the tenancy is smooth and without issues. One such way to establish a tenancy on the right foot is by creating a Tenant Welcome Package.
A Tenant Welcome Package achieves two very important things for a new tenancy. The first is that by taking the time to create a Welcome Package for the tenant it shows that the landlord is invested in his property and wants to ensure things go smoothly for the tenant from the get-go. Moving into a new home can be daunting especially when you don’t know where the water shutoff valve is or the phone number for the gas company. The second thing a tenant’s welcome kit achieves is that it reduces the number of questions and issues raised during the tenancy. By reducing the number of interactions between the parties it frees up the landlord to concentrate on other things and allows for peaceful enjoyment of the home for the tenant. Of course in cases of emergency there should definitely be communication between the parties. This is more for the little things (e.g. “what type of filter does the water purifier need?”).
Here are 6 things every Tenant Welcome Package should have.
1. Home Instruction Guide and Manuals
Each home is different and the systems that run the home, from the furnace to the air conditioner, even more so. By all means a landlord should take the time to do a tour and explain how things work in person but take it one step further by actually typing out instructions for the tenant. Remember, you will most likely have several tenants over the years so the guide wouldn’t be a “one off”. Same thing goes for appliances. Each one is different so by providing a binder of all manuals in one central location will go a long way in reducing the number of calls you get in a year. You could also have your Realtor put a condition in the offer that all manuals are to be returned at the end of the Lease.
2. Area information
In many cases the tenant may be moving into an area he or she is unfamiliar with. Save them some time by providing a list of local grocery stores, dry cleaners, restaurants, parks, and schools. By doing this it shows the tenant you care and they will repay you by taking care of your investment.
3. Contact Numbers
Provide a list of contact numbers starting with your own. Follow that with the number of a backup, trusted handyman, gas company, cable company, hydro, lawn services, etc.
4. Letter Forwarding
This idea came from a client of mine. If moving out of your home to make way for the tenant I always recommend informing Canada Post. The other thing you could do is include an ExpressPost prepaid envelop for your letters. Even when doing a change of address with Canada Post there will be a few letters that squeak through. The cost of the prepaid mailing envelop is far and above more economical than the time and gas you will use driving to and from the property.
5. Pack of Lightbulbs and Other Refillables
Nothing is worse than trying to figure out what kind of lightbulbs a certain fixture requires or what kind of filter the sink water purifier needs. Do your tenant a favour and provide these supplies to them at the outset. It not only shows you care (do you see a theme here?) but it ensures that the right equipment is used. You don’t want the tenant inadvertantly putting a 100 watt bulb in a 40 watt fixture.
6. Furniture Felt Pads
This also came from a former client of mine. With furniture comes floor scratches. As a landlord you have to come to accept this. We all know that, even in our own homes and by taking extreme care, scratches will happen and any judge will agree that it will most likely fall under the category of “wear and tear”. Supply a pack of furniture felt pads. For $5 it will help keep your floors scratch free and also tell the tenant that you value the condition of the home.
What do you think? A good list? There are probably quite a few more things you can include on the list (please leave comments below) but by starting with these few items you’re well on your way to a great landlord-tenant partnership!
Call Richard Robibero at 416-277-8025 to help you rent out your home. Richard has 20 years of personal landlord experience behind him in addition to the many, many rental contracts he closes for his clients each year.