Posted by: Nick Fundytus

Question of the week:

Can I rent out rooms in my principal residence if I’ve purchased using the first-time homebuyer program?

As the title saids, I’m wandering when can I rent out some rooms if I used first time home buyer plan for my principal residence. Thanks!

Nick Answers Reddit

Every week, Nick answers a Redditor’s question about buying, selling, renting, investing or living in Ottawa. This week’s question is about whether it’s okay to dump a Realtor that’s not getting the job done in a Redditor’s purchase search.

Nick's Response

Hey u/Klutzy-Session-7130,

 

As u/MilesBeforeSmiles mentioned, its very, very unlikely that there would be any situation where your first-time homebuyer plan would be impacted by renting rooms, since:

  • The home is still your principal residence.

  • In most provinces, renting rooms individually is different than renting out a whole residence or a unit in an apartment building or triplex.

To elaborate what the other commenter has mentioned about doing your due diligence beforehand and finding good tenants, here are my suggestions:

  • Clarify what your (and your tenants’) rights and responsibilities are under your provincial landlord and tenant legislation. If you happen to bein Ontario you can find that here, and if you’re elsewhere in Canada I would Google “my province landlord and tenant act.” Pay particular attention to what you have to provide to a tenant when renting out a room, what standard forms might need to be used, and what the rules are for serving notice when terminating a lease.

  • Since your rental income will have tax implications, ask your accountant for the best way to track and record it, and any strategies to minimize the impact on your overall tax burden.

  • Ask tenants to use your province’s standard rental application form to keep things organized, and be sure to check references and credit scores of applicants, even if you “have a good feeling about them.” If you used a Realtor to purchase your home, he or she may be willing to run credit checks on applicants for you (there will likely be a charge of around $30-40 per check for these).

  • Run ads in various places, and if your local laws and regulations (including condo regulations if you’re in one) permit AirBnB, that may be an option as well. Airbnb can be a headache to manage, but you’ll generally be able to get more per night of rental than with a longer-term tenant.

Good luck on the search for roommates!

Source: I’m a Realtor in Ottawa, Ontario. I don’t generally deal with room rentals but I am familiar with rentals on both the listing and tenant side.

3 Quick Tips for Finding Great Tenants

1

Do the credit and reference checks. It’s a pain, but far less of a pain than evicting a bad tenant.

2

Be picky. It’s better to have a property vacant for a month (or more) than rent to a potential problem tenant.

3

Your REALTOR can help list rentals. Not everyone knows this. The cost to you should generally be around one month’s rent (plus tax).

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