Selling a Rented Property

So what are the best tips for selling a rented property? 

This Toronto condo just sold, it was in a great location on Blue Jays Way in the Entertainment district. It was on the market for a couple of months while it was still tenanted, and while the tenants were very co-operative & the the pictures showed the unit well, it did not sell. 

This condo is a great example of an investment property in Toronto.  What made it a great investment property? 

  • It was close to Transit
  • It had en-suite Laundry
  • It had a parking spot
  • The condo building did not allow Airbnb or short term rentals (keeps the building nicer)
  • It had lovely amenities like a gym, rooftop lap pool & terrace
  • It had a balcony
  • It was steps to the Rogers Centre and other downtown attractions

So why is selling a tenanted property so hard? Mainly because under the RTA (Residential Tenancy Act) in Ontario tenants have many rights. Buyers may be worried that vacant occupancy cannot be guaranteed. 

Interested investors worry that current rents are under market, and would prefer a vacant unit. 24 notice is required for showings, and sometimes that doesn't work with prospective buyers' schedules.  Some tenants refuse photos (which they can).  You also can’t force a tenant to leave for showings!  No matter how tidy the renters are, as a seller or agent you can't guarantee it will stay that way. You can’t force untidy or dirty renters to clean for showings. Case in point the den in this condo was being used for storage; here are the before and after pictures: 


Den was being used as a storage room by the renters

Painting and Staging shows off the den's true potential in this Toronto Condo



1. Hire a Realtor that understands the rules of the residential tenancy act of Ontario (Landlord Tenant Board) and make a plan accordingly. 

2. Sell it vacant - a tenant in place will cost you thousands! 

3. Spend money on updates that make it look owner-occupied like: custom light fixtures, updated appliances, small repairs Believe me buyers can tell the difference! 

4. If updates aren't in the budget, painting and deep cleaning will give you the best ROI

5. Stage the property - the decor and furniture will give buyers the sense of what it's like to live there

So what finally happened? We received more showings in 3 days than in the whole time it was on the market when tenanted. Result: SOLD IN A FEW DAYS! 

Controlling the product, you present to the public (especially with a condo) is incredibly important to a successful sale.

Here's what the owners said in the 5 star Google review: Sue went above and beyond when listing our property for sale. She has a wealth of knowledge and experience and took the whole process from start to finish with very little involvement on our part


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A disturbing trend I've come across recently is the fraud in the rental space.   As an agent who handles a fair share of rentals; these issues have shown up over several ways this year.   I'll tell you about 3 instances I've had and the red flags that appeared with each! 

When I'm representing a landlord and an application comes in, I spend a lot of time going through an applicants documentation and getting references and looking through their background.  Here's what I do:

  • Call their employer by finding the employer's website and calling through their office to confirm employment.  I don't just call the supervisor on the application
  • Look carefully at the documents to see if they are real; company letterhead & credit reports can be faked or bought
  • Check social media & linked in
  • Call past landlords
  • Make sure there is a building at the address they're currently renting
  • Check that the landlords name and property owners names match.   If it's an apartment building call through the property management company if it's an apartment rather than calling the number provided.
  • Look at the credit report for signs of altering

With those things in mind, let's look at 3 things that have happened to me this year!

1.  Student rental Scam - fake rental and landlord

First of all, you should never have to pay to submit a rental application, or be asked for a deposit before you get a chance to see the place.   These scams are generally ads on sites like Kijijii and Facebook for rentals that look too good to be true.  They also steal MLS listings for homes and advertise them at lower rates.  I came across one recently through a family friend desperate for some student housing.  It was a big scam; and when I called them out they 'protested too much'.    Here's how to spot these scammers:

  • They demand payment to submit a rental application
  • They demand a deposit before you see the unit
  • Makes excuses why they are not available to speak to on the phone 
  • Will only communicate through messenger, text or email
  • The advertised price is way lower than other rentals
  • Their Facebook profile was just created
  • Their Facebook name does not match their user name ID (see the URL) 

2. Fake Rental Applications   

There are some very good forged documents out there.  I had some people submit an application on a lease I was advertising and here's what I found during the checks, among the other checks I did as above :

  • Inconsistencies in addresses on the application
  • Employment letter does not look real - no header or footer with information on the company letterhead

3. Forged Tenacy Papers

I had a call from a gal who had a great story, good employment, good credit, moving to Toronto from outside the city for work, can't come in to look for a place so needed virtual showings.  Could I help her find a place.  Sounds great right?  

Now I don't usually check tenants out before I help them (and I'd helped out a client with an out of town move this year already in a similar situation)  But with everything going on right now, I felt it couldn't hurt to see what her references would say.   So she sent in her application & 

then came the paperwork - the address of her job didn't match up with her story.  The company had never heard of her or her supervisor.  There was even no property listed at the home she had put for her address!  Other red flags for scammers include what she did:

  • get overly upset when called out 
  • provide complicated excuses for 'mistakes' on application forms
  • call the fact checker a liar, unprofessional, etc.

So be careful out there folks! 


A big thank you to the communities of Guildwood, West Rouge & Port Union for the terrific support last Saturday for my Community Shredding Event.  About 30 families participated - and their generous food donations filled our Jeep to the brim!   The food donations were taken straight to Feed Scarborough - the Scarborough Food Security initiative and will be distributed to local satellite food banks in the area.   Judging from the huge line up outside the Manse Rd. food bank Saturday, it's much needed. 

Chartwell Guildwood was my partner for this event and provided the venue and great snacks.  Thank you Kelly & Dianne for your wonderful support.  As always, Papersavers was gracious, friendly, professional and helpful!  

One interesting sideline - My husband, myself, Dianne and Alex from papersavers all grew up within the same area!   Such a big city/small world!