Real estate has gotten complicated.

It wasn’t always so easy to be a landlord or property manager. But with the rise of lodging rental websites like AirBnB, the lines between landlords and tenants have become a little blurry.

These days, with the help of the Internet, nearly anyone can easily rent out an apartment or house or even just a spare room.

That’s especially true in Toronto, the hometown of Alto Properties’ Luigi Liscio, who says more and more homeowners are finding ways to manage property — often out of necessity.

As Toronto real estate prices continue to skyrocket, many property owners are looking for ways to increase their income just to survive, and renting out a property — or a portion of a property — is a smart and easy way to accomplish that, Liscio said.

Equally importantly, there’s an increase of people who need to rent, pretty much everywhere.

Know the law

All property managers want to have perfect tenants who never cause problems, but this is not always the case. Luigi Liscio advises new property managers to hope for the best — but plan for the worst.

That planning starts with knowing the landlord-tenant laws of your area. Many first-time landlords end up in a precarious position because they didn’t spend enough time learning what’s legally acceptable in terms of screening applicants. 

Also, this may sound obvious, but read the lease! You need to know exactly what’s required of you and what’s required of your tenant. It’s surprising how many landlords don’t know what’s in their own leases!

Be available to fix problems

“Few things will make tenants feel more loyal to you than attention to their problems and swift action to fix them,” Liscio said.

That could be a broken water pipe that needs an immediate repair, or a tenant dispute that needs to be addressed before it becomes a serious conflict, he said.

Some property managers might feel that dealing with petty problems is beneath them, or should be someone else’s job. But the best property managers go out of their way to make sure tenants know that they are supported at every level of management, even the very top, Liscio said.

“I think one of the best things about being a property manager is the ability to connect with your community and improve it with personal interactions and attention to detail,” he said. “It’s not just about the money. If you like working with people, it’s a great job, too.”

Pick the right location

If you’re looking for a property to purchase for the purpose of renting, rather than just renting out the spare bedroom in your downtown house, then location is everything, Luigi Liscio explains.

A rental property can give you a dependable source of income and an increased property value that allows you to grow.

Make sure that your anticipated rental income from the property is enough to pay for the expenses of the deal.

Keep things clean

This might seem like the most obvious one, yet many property managers fall short of providing the cleanest possible living situation for their tenants.

This is especially important if you’re just renting out a room to tourists and travelers. And it’s become even more important since the start of the pandemic.

You can build immediate trust in tenants and renters just by providing a clean experience. If they feel they can trust you to keep their rooms clean, you’re far more likely to get loyalty and prompt rent payments, Liscio said.

In conclusion, owning a property can be a great way to add income, or it can become a solid career choice, not to mention the fact that you have a significant part in building community.