Units with lower rents tend to require more management input than more expensive rentals. In addition, allowing pets will reduce vacancies and mean more tenants will remain for a longer term; however, rules must be initiated and enforced in order to keep damage and nuisance to a minimum.
In areas where rentals are in high demand, a landlord can get away with doing very little in order to rent a vacant unit. Regardless, a unit should at least be properly cleaned before a new tenant moves in. When units remain vacant, it is a good time to make repairs or upgrades to increase value. When considering improvements, look at how much the improvement will contribute to the net income. It's important that owners stay clear of making improvements which will not be paid for in 4 or 5 years through the increase in net income.
Many income property owners sell because of problems with tenants. Because of this, it is often better to let a problem tenant break a lease without consequences so they will just leave. Most tenants will not cause problems, but be careful of unreasonable ones trying to take advantage of you. A property owner should do all they can to address the tenant's problems; however, if the tenant stops paying rent, you should begin eviction proceedings immediately.
Tenant problems can generally be solved before they begin by screening potential tenants before you allow them to rent. Verify employment, check credit and contact prior landlords. The best rule of thumb is to avoid renting if you are unsure of a tenant's reliability. However, landlords should be familiar with the Human Rights Act which prohibits discrimination based on factors other than ability to pay, job history, credit history, etc. Rental qualifications must be uniformly applied to all potential tenants.
The Residential Tenancies Act of Ontario sets forth obligations of the landlord and tenant, which all landlords should be familiar with prior to taking over a tenant occupied property. Review thoroughly at http://www.ontariotenants.ca/law/act.phtml
It's generally easier (and cheaper) to pay a problem tenant a small sum in order to get them to move rather than begin eviction proceedings. Evictions proceedings result not only in legal expenses, but also income lost during the process and likely property damage. Again, landlords should be familiar with the process before taking possession of such a property.
Accurate records of income and expenses must be kept for tax purposes and should be kept as an aid in long-term business planning. To help, consider using a property management software program to keep your records organized.