How to: Ensure that new tenants feel welcome after moving in
A pinch of customer service with a dash of tenant education is the best recipe for a successful tenancy.
Consider the following best practices when welcoming new tenants to your building:
Information needs to be accessible for everyone. Provide information on your policies and procedures, as clearly and simply as possible. Make it available on your website, in other languages or compatible with assistive devices, if necessary and according to your accessibility policy.
Detail your policies in the lease
Your building’s rules are not enforceable, unless they are detailed in your lease. This can be done as an appendix to the lease. (ONPHA has sample leases – bit.ly/ONPHAstore). The incoming tenant should have an opportunity to review the information prior to signing the tenancy agreement. If possible, mail a copy of your lease to them before they come in to sign.
Go over the lease in person
Reviewing the lease in person is a great opportunity to explain your rules, the tenant’s responsibilities and answer any questions before move-in. Get the new tenant to initial that they have read and understand each section (e.g., RGI rules, parking, guest and arrears policy).
Offer a tour of the building
Give the new household a tour of the building including the administrative office, common areas (laundry room, garbage and recycling facilities) and security features. This is also a good time to clarify move-in instructions.
Reinforce your expectations with written material
As a landlord in Ontario, you must provide a copy of the Landlord and Tenant Board approved “Information for New Tenants” information sheet to incoming tenants (bit.ly/LTBtenants). But supplementing this with a tenant handbook or regular newsletters is a good practice (ONPHA has just updated the sample template- bit.ly/onphaTH). Tenants need to know how to make requests for maintenance, where to reach you when they have issues or questions, and what to do in an emergency.
Perform a move-in inspection
A written checklist signed by both you and the incoming tenant is important. This will prove who is responsible for any subsequent damage to the unit (beyond regular wear and tear) after move-in.
Taking the time up front to orient new residents to what is required of them will result in fewer disputes and less time and money spent trying to resolve them.