Tips to keep your rental units rented

If you’ve found it a little more difficult to find tenants for your rental properties this year, you’re not alone. According to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, vacancy rates rose to 2.9% in Canada in April, compared to 2.7% a year earlier. While that doesn’t sound like much, it should be noted that different markets have drastically different vacancy rates. For example, Windsor landlords are dealing with a 12.4% vacancy rate right now, while those in Quebec City are enjoying a 0.4% vacancy rate.

Whether you’re in a tough rental market or an easy one, below are some tips to ensure your rental properties remain rented:

Tip 1: Make it sparkle.
Just as you would stage a home you were trying to sell, so should you stage your rental property -albeit to a lesser extent. A thoroughly cleaned, painted, landscaped, repaired or updated unit will rent out much quicker than one that isn’t – or that one you’re in the midst of repairing. The last thing a tenant wants is to be stuck with a partially renovated unit – or one that a landlord promised to fix up, but didn’t.

If it’s going to take you more than a week to get the place in rentable condition, it may be a good time to do any overdue repairs on the property or upgrades. Remember, a better looking property likely means better tenants – and maybe even more money.

Tip 2: Price it right
Charging too little or too much for rent can put a landlord in the red, so stop guessing and actually do some market research. Look up what else is available, consult with some property management companies, and learn a little something from your competition. Sites like Craigslist, Kijiji and work well as price gaugers.

Tip 3: Market effectively
Determine who you’re trying to reach, and market specifically to that crowd. Are you looking for college students? Post an ad on campus – or on the college’s website. Again, Craigslist, Kijiji, Facebook are all useful marketing tools! And don’t forget great photos.