Tenant screening and rent collection in Canada

11 Replies

Hello, I am going to start landlord business in BC.

How do you choose your good tenants, and what method do you use for rent collection?

Does anyone use background check services and/or online payment (other than e-mail money transfer) ?

I've recently joined to BigegrPockets, started to learn, and noticed that while many investors suggest to use online rent payment tool and backgroud check services, the similar services are quite limited available in Canada, especially tenant's "background" check services. Do you think those services work well in Canada?

Any suggestions would be appreciated.

I use TVS for credit checks. They also have a form for signing off on reporting payment details (like lates, non payment etc) to affect credit score

Like kris I use TVS for credit check. I also phone referances, google search etc. Try to gatther as much info as you can

I use email transfer for payment, that's my preferred method as i know when it is done. The more unit you have the harder it is to manage. You can take cash, have them deposit the money at the bank into your account. Lots of method out there. 

Good luck

Finding and choosing good tenants is the same everywhere. Price the property so you have some choices, get them to fill out an application to be sure their income is sufficient and they don’t have any adverse background, they’ve never been evicted, etc.

Then confirm everything they stated. Background and credit checks, call to prior landlords, etc.

And do this ensuring you don’t run afoul of any fair housing laws or discrimination!

Thank you @Kris F. and @Mike Bisson for share information. TVS looks like great for tenant screening. Also I wasn't aware that Google can be used for the screening... I must study hard. Upon searching TVS, I found another tenant screening services called Naborly, maybe using both TVS and Naborly can help me but not sure for now.

I think email transfer is easy for tenants and me, and as some banks offer free email transfers, tenants might love it.

@Mike McCarthy, thank you for your advice. I totally agree with you, but when I thought of using one of online services, all services listed in https://www.biggerpockets.com/rei/pay-rent-online-payment-tools/ are not available in Canada. I'd like to know about online rental payment method and/or tenant screening services that Canadian landlords use. 

Hello, 

I signed up with Landlord BC and use their RentCheck services.  I think it's only 10 or 20 bucks and it spits out the credit score immediately.  I loved it.  Other than that, I call up their previous landlord, some personal references, work reference.   I also meet them personally at the open house and ask them more questions in person.  It's much easier to get honest answers that way because you can see how comfortable they feel in answering questions like, "Do you smoke/drink/do drugs/have pets?" or "How has your experience been with your previous landlord?".  You also get an idea of their cleanliness level based on what they appreciate about they unit when you are showing it (ex. do they notice how clean your unit is or the extra TLC you put into painting something perfectly/etc).  I find that if they notice and appreciate things like that then they are also more likely to appreciate that in their own home later on when they are renting.

I like rent payments via e-transfer.  They can send it to me even if they are on vacation somewhere else in the world and the money can be deposited instantly.

There are tons of great articles on Bigger Pockets and on the internet on how to screen tenants and be a great landlord.  I would really recommend looking those up.

Good luck with your landlording business!  

Take care, 

Marie

Thank you @Marie Tai for your advice and also sharing your experience. 

Last week I've posted an ad for looking a new tenant and on the same day then I got a lot of phone calls from people interested in viewing, that was actually quite more than I expected. I learnt landlord BC may better choice to credit check especially in summer.

I had a chance to see a couple of local landlords showing their rental property and also doing move-in inspection. They suggested almost the same thing what you advised, just one difference was they said "current landlord" or "friend" may not good reference so try to get ex-landlord's contact. I think I know the similar story from BiggerPocket's blog.

Regarding rent payment I found some company provides online rent payment system where tenants can use credit card, direct deposit etc. However all those services are for rental management company, not for an individual landlord.

I think interac e-transfer or other email money transfer is common and safer way in here Canada.

I'll keep learning.

Hi Eve, 

I'm glad you're learning from the local landlords.  Yes, if you can find a previous landlord instead of the current one, that can provide you with some great information that isn't tainted by the desire to get rid of a bad tenant as soon as possible.  This was not applicable to my tenants so I just interviewed the current landlords, supervisors, and friends.  I find that if you ask the right questions, you can collect a wealth of information even in what they might be hinting or not saying.  You just have to come across as someone that is nice to talk with, friendly, non-judgmental, and trustworthy.  

Good luck!

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