The cost of housing in major Canadian cities is only rising, and many people are offsetting the crunch of mortgage payments by renting out the basement portion of their house. This can be a tremendous way to generate income, but there are a few things you should consider before deciding to go down this road.
Finish the Renovation, Properly
If you’re going to be sharing a section of your home (usually a basement) with another person or a family, you should see that the unit has everything it needs to be self-sustaining. Whether to install new appliances like a laundry machine is up to you, but at the very least the unit needs:
- Kitchen with proper ventilation, so cooking smells don’t linger
- Separate bedroom, or at least space to comfortably fit a bed, clothing, a desk, and other essentials
- Separate entranceway
You should hire professional general contractors when finishing your basement before renting it out: they can make major alterations necessary to ensure there’s enough windows and natural light, as sunlight is important for people’s mood and even their overall health. The more you invest in the renovation, the better your unit will be. This means you can attract better tenants and ask more for the space, so as to recoup the initial investment sooner. Ask yourself, could you work in a basement space like this? If so, it’s a good sign that you built a homey and complete basement.
Decide Who You Want to Rent to
To be sure, there are laws in place to make sure landlords aren’t discriminatory or prejudiced when choosing a tenant, and it’s a good thing such laws exist! But you’re fully within your rights to select a person or people whose lifestyle is not at odds with yours.
Renters have rights as tenants or prospective tenants, but you’re ultimately deciding to share your home. It’s your prerogative to decide you don’t want rowdy undergrads living below your family. So long as they are respectful and pay their rent on time, that’s about the most you can hope for.
Keep Volume Down, on Both Sides of the Floor
If you’re going to rent out your basement, soundproofing is a good idea. It’s something both sides will appreciate — they don’t want to hear you stomp on their ceiling, but you don’t want to hear their loud music leaking through the floor.
It’s important for people to be able to feel like they don’t need to alter their lifestyle when they’re in their own home, and soundproofing helps keep the separate units totally separated. If you have young kids, it’s not always easy to get them quiet on command! When you soundproof the space properly, noise leakage, a common problem for people renting old homes, doesn’t even come up as an issue.
Taking on the role of landlord allows you to make money by leveraging your under-utilized real estate, but you’ll also be providing a home for somebody. This is an important societal function and also a meaningful thing to give to a person. Just make sure the renovation is done properly, and you’ll enjoy life with a nice tenant below you and rent cheques in the bank.