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Tips for Renting Your Basement Suite

If you're looking to pay your mortgage down faster, transforming your basement into a rental apartment could be one way of doing it. Before you draft that lease, however, you might want to keep the following tips in mind:

Find out if a basement apartment is an option.
Different municipalities have different bylaws regarding whether second suites are allowed. To find out if this is a possibility for you, contact your local municipal government department that issues building permits.

Know the codes.
Get to know your area's fire and building codes as well as zoning and property standards. In some cases, you may need to call in the fire department to inspect your existing basement, or employ an experienced contractor who has built legal basement apartments before. They'll be able to give you a good idea as to what needs to be done so that you can appropriately estimate costs.

Uncover the demand.
Visit CMHC's website to determine your area's rental vacancy rate and average rent. If there's a low rental vacancy rate, chances are there will be a demand for your new apartment. If it's higher, you might have a tough time renting it out unless you're in a coveted area. Going rental rates will also tell you how much you should spend on the construction of a basement apartment, and how long it will take you to pay the renovation costs off.

Determine if you're ready to be a landlord.
Being a landlord isn't all fun and games -- or an easy way to make money. Be prepared to field emergency phone calls in the middle of the night, spend money on repairs and deal with troublesome tenants.

Treat it like a business.
Renting out your basement isn't the same as investing money in a GIC. Make sure you treat it like a business by reporting all income and abiding by appropriate tenant/landlord laws.

Axiom Mortgage, July 2009

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At Greenwood Estates and Mortgage Company, Mission, BC, we represent dozens of lenders and loan programs across Canada. With our experience in banking and finance we can help you find the best rates for your needs. Many years working in the banking and finance industry has given us a great network of contacts that we can use to find the best product for you. Mortgages, business loans, refinancing, credit lines and debt consolidation are our business.

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