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Tips for renting out your legal suite

Blog by Kim Twohey | January 27th, 2016


For many homeowners, renting out a legal suite is a great way to earn additional income.  Check out my best tips on how to get the most out of your legal suite!

Sign a lease

It does not matter if your new tenant is family, friend, or foe:  make absolutely certain that you have a legally binding lease agreement.  This can help to avoid misunderstandings around issues such as rent payments, how long the tenant will be living in the suite, expectations, and late payment penalties.

Update your home insurance policy

Your home insurance provider will need to know that you have a legal tenant.  This can protect you if the rental unit is damaged due to water or fire. 

Update your Accountant

Rental income is considered taxable income so your Accountant will need to know about these earnings.  You can also deduct certain expenses related to owning a rental property so be sure to talk to your Accountant and find out which receipts you need to keep. 

Screen prospective tenants

It can be a formidable task to evict a problem tenant so be sure to screen applicants thoroughly. You can ask for references from past Landlords and employers.  You can even request a copy of a current credit report. 

Document everything

On the day your tenant moves in, take pictures with the tenant present to document the state of the suite.  Summarize important conversations in an email and save text messages. This can help to prevent misunderstandings later on.

Understand there will be unexpected costs

Appliances break and water pipes burst.  Be prepared for extra costs associated with normal wear and tear on the unit. 

Treat this like a part-time job

You wouldn’t brush off your boss if they asked you to work on a project so do not brush off your tenants when they approach you with questions, concerns, or things that need your attention.  A great way to keep a good tenant is by promptly addressing issues with the suite.

For more information about legal suites in Calgary check out the City of Calgary website.