COLUMN: It is not easy to be a landlord in Squamish | Squamish Chief

COLUMN: It is not easy to be a landlord in Squamish

From all reports, numerous wannabe landlords are buying properties, or leveraging their existing homes, to get a piece of the action in the lucrative Squamish rental marketplace. As that pistol-packing savant of Warner Bros. cartoon fame, Yosemite Sam, once said, “There’s gold in them-thar hills.”

If you’re one of those folks, what follows are a handful of hot tips about the difficulties you may encounter. Prior to getting listed, the place will probably require a few upgrades. Check with the municipal building department about mandatory permits. As much as that process might delay the launch date, failure to do so could result in a protracted rending of garments and gnashing of teeth scenario. 

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You’ll likely be ready to do most of the work yourself, after all, that’s why DIY magnets like Rona, Home Depot and Canadian Tire were placed on the face of the earth. But remember, whatever you tackle will invariably take longer than planned. It could also unravel in a hurry. Prepare to deal with unforeseen mould, asbestos residue, wood rot, and maybe an infestation of rodents. As well, after reviewing the situation you may discover the previous owner who worked on the place pooched the job by cutting corners, leaving you with the hassle of cleaning up the mess.

Some of the materials you purchase may be the wrong size, shape, or colour. They might even turn out to be defective. Accordingly, several return visits to the aforementioned retailers will be required. Try to shop nearby, or count on long trips to far-flung suppliers.

Meanwhile, be sure to think about assigning any task beyond your level of expertise to local tradespeople, most of whom are more than capable of getting it done. Still, on occasion, the hired help can be unreliable, or considerably less competent than advertised. And given the high demand in town, skilled tradespeople are in short supply these days.

Many have multiple projects underway. As a result, they may have a habit of starting the job and then disappearing daily to other worksites for two to three hours.

Ask for an estimated price and completion date in writing, or the meter will be kept running and the work will take longer and cost more than anticipated. Make sure your credit cards aren’t maxed out at the beginning of the project.

That way you won’t end up lighting your hair on fire if snowballing expenses exceed the budget.                            

Before any prospective tenants arrive, personal liability insurance coverage will provide an indispensable bulwark against lawsuits triggered by unforeseen mishaps on the premises. Finally, it’s best to look at those glitzy, fast-paced home reno shows on TV for what they are: highly choreographed entertainment, with only a passing resemblance to the real-world circumstances you will face.                                                                                           

That said, the preceding discussion is certainly not meant to cause needless alarm. It is solely intended to offer prospective landlords a reality check about the potential hazards associated with getting their rental units up to speed. Good luck on your journey.

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