How To Avoid Vacancy

December 10th, 2012 · 5 Comments · Property Management, Rental Property

In the properties I manage, I work really hard to avoid vacancy. A lot of work goes into renting a property that is occupied, it’s easier for me to wait until it’s vacant. Here’s how I go about it…


I start setting the expectations of the tenant when I sign the initial lease with them. I remind them and stress that they need to provide 60 days notice.

Getting Notice

As soon as I get the notice I start letting the existing tenant what my rights are to show the place to potential renters. Most tenants are under the false impression that I need to give them 24 hour notice to enter their place to show it. My very first act is to correct that by showing them the relevant link to The Residential Tenancies Guide found on the Landlord & Tenant Board’s website.

I also copy paste this passage found there which is the relevant one for renting out a place.

About Entering the Rental Unit

Entry without written notice

A landlord can enter a tenant’s rental unit without written notice if:

there is an emergency such as a fire,
the tenant agrees to let the landlord in,
a care home tenant has agreed in writing that the landlord can come in to check on their condition at regular intervals.

A landlord can enter a rental unit without written notice, between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. if:

the rental agreement requires the landlord to clean the unit – unless the agreement allows different hours for cleaning,
the landlord or tenant has given a notice of termination, or they have an agreement to end the tenancy, and the landlord wants to show the unit to a potential new tenant (in this case, although notice is not required, the landlord must try to tell the tenant before entering for this reason).

Advising The Tenant of Showings

I send them a text or an email to let them know when I am coming. I try to use common sense to be considerate of the outgoing tenant when setting appointments. I usually batch them all at one time, so I’ll show on Saturday and Wednesday to create the least possible disturbance while still 100% giving the property the exposure it needs.

Advertising and Pictures

For most properties I’ve rented in the last few years, I have the photos in a file on that property so that I can immediately get an ad up and rolling on that property. I don’t like to take picture with the occupant’s stuff in it. It invades their privacy and it doesn’t look good. That’s another reason I use all the time, they come in and take photos and they keep them for the next time I need them. It’s really useful. I imagine if a landlord were to run into a tenant from hell who damaged their place, that those photos would provide some pretty sweet evidence of the condition of the place before the tenant moved in.

Incoming & Outgoing Inspections

It’s important to perform incoming and outgoing inspections because if the tenant causes damages you can sue them or get them to fix it. Recently, I had an instance where I had to set a tenant straight about moving and clean up. I went there and the place was pretty trashed and I told him, you need to clean this up. He told me about his other landlords who I’m guessing were part time cleaning ladies. Apparently they didn’t have any issues with cleaning a bunch of junk. I told him right then and there what my expectation were. Now at the end of the day, it was still pretty dirty but imagine if I hadn’t had the talk with him and told him the standard I expected. It would have been really disgusting.

Back To Back Rentals

Renting an apartment so that one resident is moving out at the same time another is moving in is always stressful because there are so many factors that you cannot control. The riskiest part would be a tenant who cannot move out. I can’t tell you how common it is to book a truck and then not get one. And don’t even get me started about movers. Grrrr. As the property manager your job is just to keep everyone calm and coordinate things so that they work out properly. Eventually it all works out.Emotions run high as frustration and fear builds up.

I’m proud of how well my company keeps places rented and full. I manage a triplex in Whitby where the tenant lost his job and I transitioned him out fairly well, with moderate income loss and the day after he moved I had a new A+++ tenant in the place. The lizard did have to go wait in the laundry for a few days until the previous tenant could come and transport him to his new house, poor lizard, but other than that it went well. Then another condo I manage out in Mississauga wouldn’t rent because the place was really cluttered and the kitchen was very dirty. The tenant moved out on December 3rd and the new tenant moves in today. The owner has to take a loss of 7 days vacancy. That’s pretty sweet. I manage 4 condos for that owner (Who is fantastic) and I think in the last 5 years across all the condos he’s had 3 months of vacancy.

 Happy Monday Folks!!!


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5 Comments so far ↓

  • Luc

    I would like your advice to other commentators.

    I own a property that has an small old barn on the lot. When we bought it, the house was a triplex, and the barn had an apartment on the main floor. It has been used like that for 40 years. Now the town is telling us that the apartment in accessory buildings are not allowed, and we need to evict the tenant.
    She told us that she will sue us for all the past rent she has paid because she was living in an illegal apartment.
    Does she have any legal ground to do this? We figured it wasn’t zoned for an apartment, but since it had been used that way for 40 years by the previous owners, we didn’t think it was a problem. She had the benefit of a great apartment at a good price. Now she wants all of her rent back? What should I do?

    – Luc, from Ontario.

    • Rachelle

      No she doesn’t get her money back. Also I’d be checking on the legality of the apartment with a real estate lawyer or paralegal.

  • Andy

    Great post. We are trying to provide this kind of information for our users over at, our new landlord/tenant site (still in beta, but active). Thanks for the posts and if you have an opportunity, take look at Rooof. I would love to hear your professional opinion. – Andy

  • Marsha

    Great story, I like how the landlord was able to include each person and the lizard in the creative resolution .. very nice…