How to Use Area Rugs Properly in a Small Home or Apartment

How to Use Area Rugs Properly in a Small Home or Apartment

There are some challenges that come with decorating and filling a small home or apartment – area rugs are one of these challenges. Area rugs are great to keep your feet warm in the winter and make a room appear cozy and comfortable. But when you have a small space how do you know what area rug to purchase? When choosing an area rug for your space, there are a number of things to assist you in finding the perfect rug for the perfect spot! Here is how to use area rugs properly in a small home or apartment:

 

Separating Rooms in Open Concept Homes

Area Rugs - Separating Rooms in Open Concept Homes

If your apartment is open concept, rugs are the perfect way to “separate” spaces. By adding a rug you are able to great a visual ‘barrier’ to the beginning and end of the ‘living room’, keeping it separate from the kitchen and dining room. It also lends itself to a base for furniture to sit on. This creates the sense that the furniture is within a designated area. The space is now defined with the rug that acts as the “perimeter” of a room. Easy and effective!

 

Use Area Rugs that Compliment Furniture or Decor

Use Area Rugs that Compliment Furniture and Decor

One of the biggest mistakes people make when purchasing a rug is that it clashes with the room (modern home with traditional rug). Find an area rug that compliments your furniture and décor. The best way to do this is to look around your room and get a sense of what style it is. Is it rustic, modern, classic? Once you have determined what your style is, selecting a rug to compliment the room’s style will be simple! Still not sure? Pinterest has plenty of suggestions based on room style!

 

Secure Under Couch or Table Legs

Area Rugs - Secure Under Couch or Table Legs

If the rooms in your home are small, it is likely that they will have high foot traffic. One common problem with rugs is that they get bunched up or caught when stepped on. Fix this problem by anchoring rugs in high traffic areas with your furniture! Secure those ends under your couch, table legs, bed, or perhaps a heavy vase or other decorative item! Keeping the ends secured will prevent your area rugs from moving around and causing gathering.

 

NOTE: When purchasing your rug, always be sure you have measurements in mind. A rug that is oversized (or even too small) can make the room look awkward. Select a rug size that comfortably holds all your furniture.

 

Use Contrast Patterns

Area Rugs - Use Contrast Patterns

Having rugs that contrast your room (instead of blending in with the background) bring colour and detail into a space. Add a rug with a contrasting pattern and place it under your dining room table, your couch, or your coffee table! This is especially beneficial for glass items (such as a glass coffee table). Having a designed or patterned rug beneath adds personality. Be sure that you choose a rug that is contrasting but not clashing with your other furniture and décor (see above point!). Find rugs that repeat a pattern, have similar colours to those in the room, or include a new pattern to your space.

 

Keep Your Lifestyle in Mind

Area Rugs - Keep Your Lifestlye in Mind

When selecting an area rug, consider the lifestyle that is lived in that room. Does your eating area experience regular messes? Do you have children who like to paint in the living room? Do you have pets that chew bones on the carpet? Keeping these things in mind will help you decide what type of rug you need (or if you need one at all). Some rugs require more maintenance for cleaning, while others are simple to remove a stain. Darker colours will show less mess, while thicker rugs will require deeper cleaning to get out all that dust, debris, and dog hair!

 

 

You will love your area rug! And keep in mind that it is not as permanent as a carpet, so once you’re tired of it, you can get a new one! Above all else, make sure you smile when you walk into the room.

 

 

 

Sources:

https://www.houzz.com/ideabooks/27627018/list/the-beauty-of-contrast-modern-rugs-in-traditional-spaces

http://www.diybeautify.com/2016/04/how-to-keep-area-rug-from-buckling.html

Residential Tenancies Act ( RTA)

Residential Tenancies Act ( RTA)

If you are renting in Alberta, please be aware that the Residential Tenancies Act (RTA) is in place to protect you as a renter. The RTA sets out rights and responsibilities for both the tenants and the landlords. To view the RTA go to the Service Alberta website at www.servicealberta.ca>Landlords/tenants>Legislation.

 

Service Alberta is responsible for enforcing the offence sections of the RTA and the regulations. If you have a complaint or dispute between you and your landlord, you can contact Consumer Services. The first step in any complaint process is to talk to an Information Officer in the Consumer Contact Centre. Toll free in Alberta 1-877-427-4088 or 780-427-4088 (Edmonton). They can give you information to settle the disputes on your own or advice you of your rights under the legislation.

 

Talk with your landlord, clarify information and put anything agreed upon in writing. Written agreements are always better, as it provides evidence should there ever be a problem. Keeping the lines of communication open between the landlord and the tenant can prevent any misunderstandings and potential disagreements.

 

The RTA applies to most residential tenants who live in one of the following:

  • A house, apartment, duplex or mobile home
  • A hotel or motel room if rented for more than 6 consecutive months
  • A rooming or boarding house (in most cases

 

The RTA does not apply to the following tenancies.

  • Rental premises that are occupied for business purposes that also have living accommodations attached and both are rented under a single agreement
  • People who share a landlord’s living quarters as though they were a part of the landlord’s family
  • Hotels, motels, trailer parks, tourist homes or other vacation accommodations if a person lives there for less than six consecutive months
  • Rental premises rented to a student by an educational institution unless the student has exclusive possession of self-contained rental premises
  • Mobile home sites as set out in the Mobile Home Sites Tenancies Act

Be aware of your rights as a tenant. Not all landlords out there are good landlords. Some landlords are not aware of the RTA and the laws set out to protect the tenant (you) and the landlord (them).

 

Be safe out there and know your rights.

 

Christine Versnick
CIR Realty
403-863-1276
www.christineversnick.ca

7 Cool Multipurpose Furniture Pieces for Small Apartments

7 Cool Multipurpose Furniture Pieces for Small Apartments

 

Depending on where you live, you may not always have the luxury of large spaces. Small affordable apartments tend to have less rooms and less room in those rooms, making it essential that you use every square inch effectively. Have you heard of multipurpose furniture pieces? These awesome inventions take an everyday piece of furniture and turn it into another useful item, eliminating the need for more furniture. Check out these 7 cool multipurpose furniture pieces you can use for your small apartment in Canada!

 

1. The Murphy Bed

Available at: Wayfair.ca

MurphyBed - Multipurpose Furniture

If you only have a small room to work with and are worried about a bed taking up most of the space, this “Murphy Bed” is what you need. The unique contraption has shelves along the sides to store your possessions (books, décor, lights, etc.) and a bed that, when folded up, reveals a desk. What makes this multipurpose furniture piece special is that the desk is never tilted or turned. During movement, the desk stays stable – keeping your workspace just the way you left it. Brings a whole new meaning to “sleeping on the job.”

 

2. Industrial Storage Coffee Table

Avaliable at: Westelm.com

Industrial Storage Coffee Table - Multipurpose Furniture

When you have a small space to work with, square footage needs to also include those areas off the floor. Why not look into furniture that doubles as storage? This multipurpose coffee table helps store loose items and keeps them out of the way. Fill it with books, blankets, or even serving dishes that don’t fit in your kitchen. If space is really limited, you can use the lifted plank as a desk as well! This coffee table/desk will maintain a tidy looking living room and acts as a stunning piece to feature amongst your other furniture!

 

3. Essex Tilt-Out Shoe Bench

Available at: ImprovementsCatalog.com

Essex Tiltout Shoe Bench - Multipurpose Furniture

If your problem is shoe storage, look no further than the “Essex Tilt-Out Shoe Bench.” This cute bench adds seating to your front entry (or bedroom), and also stores all (or some) of your shoes. Holding up to 9 pairs of shoes, the front panel pulls out for 3 organized rows of shoes. Depending on the style of your home, you can choose from 3 different wood finishes. A beautiful multipurpose furniture piece for your small apartment!

 

4. South Shore SoHo Ottoman Queen Storage Bed

Availble at: Walmart.ca

Queen Storage Bed - Multipurpose Furniture

If your apartment does not have any storage, it can be hard to find a place to put all of your seasonal clothing, décor, and excess ‘stuff’. Most beds have a bunch of empty space underneath, so why not invest in something that takes advantage of that space? The Queen Storage Bed is the perfect option to store away all your unneeded items, keeping them in a place that is easily accessible. If your apartment closet is too small for all of your clothes, you can even add bins under the bed to stay organized. Say goodbye to clutter and hello to organization!

 

5. Cristallo Table

Available at: ResourceFurniture.com

Cristallo Table - Multipurpose Furniture

Are you renting an apartment with only one main area, resulting in you eating on your couch? That no longer is a problem with this amazing and compact piece of furniture! Fold this table down for a coffee table or build it up to use as a full-size table or desk. Have some folding chairs nearby and your table solution is complete! In addition, there are two self-storing leaves that lengthen the table, perfect for having company over for dinner!

 

6. Palazzo Bed

Available at: ResourceFurniture.com

Palazzo Bed - Multipurpose Furniture

If you are a person who likes to host and have family over for the holidays, tight sleeping quarters may be something you are familiar with. With the Palazzo bed, you no longer have to worry about blowing up mattresses on the ground. This comfortable sofa easily turns into a secure bunk bed! The Palazzo bed is a wonderful alternative to taking up needed floor space and ensuring that your guests are comfortable throughout the night. And when they are gone? Lounge out and relax after a quick transformation to it’s couch form.

 

7. Ludovico Office

Available at: ExpandFurniture.com

Lidovico Office - Multipurpose Furniture

If your small apartment doesn’t have an office, the Ludovico office is your multipurpose furniture solution. All contained in a single boxed storage unit, you have access to a desk, chair, shelf, and drawers. Instead of using large separate pieces of furniture that take up half of the room, this multipurpose furniture option saves space by keeping it in all one compact location.

 

 

BONUS: Folding Picnic Table and Bench

Available at: Wayfair.ca

Folding Picnic Table and Bench - Multipurpose Furniture

Does your rental have a small deck or balcony? If so, get yourself this multipurpose furniture piece for the outdoors! This amazing piece is both a bench and a picnic table, transformed by quickly folding the movable pieces. The bench/picnic table is ideal for decks or balconies that have little space but are used for group entertainment. Now you have the option for outdoor meals or sitting and gazing out at the stars!

 

 

Sources:

https://www.wayfair.ca/Wallbeds-Modern-Birch-Murphy-Bed-WLB1177.html?source=hotdeals&PiID%5B%5D=7434236&PiID%5B%5D=20357372&piid=7434236%2C20357372

https://www.westelm.com/products/rustic-storage-coffee-table-g569/?pkey=ccoffee-side-tables%7Ccoffee-tables&isx=0.0.208

http://www.improvementscatalog.com/essex-tilt-out-shoe-bench/382157

http://resourcefurniture.com/product/cristallo/?utm_content=buffer7d19d&utm_medium=social&utm_source=pinterest.com&utm_campaign=buffer#.VAdCxvldX1E

https://expandfurniture.com/product/ludovico-office/

https://www.wayfair.ca/Leisure-Season-Folding-Picnic-Table-and-Bench-FPTB7104-L80-K~LSV1004.html?refid=GX173423372772-LSV1004&device=c&ptid=152976587580&targetid=pla-152976587580

https://www.walmart.ca/en/ip/south-shore-soho-ottoman-queen-storage-bed-60-rustic-oak/6000197124056?cmpid=sem_pla_google_en_none_6000197124056_100222109233238_650&cmpid=sem_pla_google_en_none_868544314_44651437635_None_%2010002_None&gclid=EAIaIQobChMIntjt3sGb1gIVjggqCh2W4QbhEAkYAyABEgJkVPD_BwE

 

How to Remove Stains from Your Carpet Before a Rental Walkthrough

How to Remove Stains from Your Carpet Before a Rental Walkthrough

Oh no! Your landlord is coming tomorrow for the walkthrough and you have a stain on your carpet! Life happens and accidents occur: spilt red wine, dripped wax, or exploding pens. What do you do when you only have hours to remove stains and ensure you get your safety deposit back? When cleaning a stain, it requires much more than simply soaking it up or spraying it with cleaner. You want to protect the carpet when cleaning the spot. It is also beneficial to use a substance that removes the spot completely. Here is how to remove stains from your carpet before a rental walkthrough.

 

Natural – Vinegar and Water

One of the most popular ways to remove stains naturally is to use a mixture of vinegar and water. The addition of vinegar to the spot creates a natural chemical reaction that works to remove other substances out of your carpet fibers. Make your mixture using 1 part vinegar and 2 parts water. Simply spray the liquid on to the carpet stain, letting it soak in for a few seconds. Then take a damp cloth and place it on top of the affected area. Turn on your iron and iron the spot for roughly 30 seconds, once you remove the covering cloth, the stain should be gone!

 

NOTE: If the stain was long-term, you may need to repeat these steps until it is completely removed.

 

Chemical – Ammonia

Ammonia is a chemical that is used to make your carpets as clean as you first had them. Take an equal amount of ammonia and hot water and mix them together in a spray bottle. Spray the mixture on to the stain (ensuring that the problem area is completely covered with the ammonia mixture). Just as you iron with the vinegar and water, do the same for this cleaning chemical. Place a white cloth or towel over the spot and use your steam iron to go over the stain. You may need to change towels frequently as they quickly absorb most of the stained elements. Doing this should detach the substance from your carpet leaving it clean once again.

 

Natural – Vinegar and Baking Soda

If you are looking for a safe and natural way to remove stains that will not require toxic chemicals, try this natural solution. Remove any debris or dirt nearby, and once the area is cleared, sprinkle baking soda over the stain. Fill a spray bottle of vinegar and spray the vinegar on the baking soda spots. This will cause a natural reaction and the substance will begin to absorb the blemish. Leave this to soak for about 30 minutes, then using your clean white cloth, dab the area to soak up the rest of the remaining pigment and vinegar-baking soda mixture. Then once your carpet is clean, simply vacuum the area and your floors will look as good as new!

 

NOTE: Remember, whatever the stain is (wine, pet urine, food, etc.), always blot the spot and never rub. Rubbing can cause further damage and affect the surrounding area.

 

Chemical – Store-Bought Stain Removers

A number of stain removers are available in stores. Each product uses powerful chemicals to remove marks from the carpet and bleach it back to the original colour. OxiClean, Spot Shot, Resolve; all of these products are easy to use and work to chemically remove marks from the carpet. Simply spray the product on the affected area, let it absorb, and then dab the stain away with a clean white cloth. Depending on the product you choose, each uses a number of chemicals (sodium hydroxide, chlorine, perchloroethylene, or 2-butoxyethanol) to remove odours, rid unwanted colours, and clean the carpet fibers deeply.

 

NOTE: Many purchased stain removers contain harmful or dangerous chemicals. Be sure that you isolate the area from pets and children while the carpet is being cleaned. Always read labels on products to ensure you take the proper safety precautions.

 

 

Now that you know how to remove stains from your carpet, be comforted that your safety deposit will be returned!

 

 

Sources:

http://www.organicauthority.com/spring-cleaning-tips-how-to-naturally-deep-clean-your-carpet/

http://www.lifehacker.co.in/jugaad/Use-Ammonia-and-Hot-Water-To-Magically-Remove-Carpet-Stains/articleshow/24155972.cms

https://experiencelife.com/article/8-hidden-toxins-whats-lurking-in-your-cleaning-products/

http://chemistrycachet.com/easy-homemade-carpet-cleaner/?utm_source=hometalkbloggerprogram

 

Content Insurance 101: Everything you Need to Know About Protecting Your Belongings

Content Insurance 101: Everything you Need to Know About Protecting Your Belongings

 

If you take a look around your home and begin to add up the cost of everything, the total may surprise you. In situations where emergencies occur, you want to be in a position that gives you full coverage for your items (aka: content insurance). Say that your home were to suddenly catch fire, would your insurance cover everything you owned? Although $25,000 may seem like plenty of coverage, when compared to the actual cost of items lost, it can be less than you need. We hope that something as devastating as a fire never occurs, but if it did, do you have the correct renter’s insurance to replace your belongings? Here is everything you need to know about content insurance.

 

Covering Your Belongings

Many insurance companies will compensate you for belongings lost at the price they are worth in the current market. This can be a loss for you depending on when you purchased the item. The television set you lost was 7 years old and is now only worth $100 in the market today versus the $1,500 you spent when you purchased it. If you are only compensated with the current worth of your items, you are going to have a hard time replacing things. It is beneficial to guarantee that your renter’s insurance will cover replacement costs to help you get an item that is similar in kind and quality. At Nuera Insurance, you can feel comforted that if your stuff was destroyed, your contents will be replaced with similar items. Nuera Insurance wants to see that you get just what you need to return to normal, and will cover items of like quality, not price!

 

How Much Content Insurance You Need

When loss does occur, you need to provide your insurer with a list of the items affected. This can be difficult when trying to remember all of the contents you possessed. That is why it is beneficial to prepare before incidents occur. Keep a detailed list of your items and, over time, jot down when you bought the item and how much it cost you. Keep copies of receipts, photos, and appraisals for items purchased as these will help you in your claim. Try to have these stored in an online format (Google Docs, Dropbox, etc.) so that if a fire was to destroy your home, you still have evidence of your purchases and the price you bought them at.

 

Keeping your Content Insurance Current

If you already purchased a content insurance policy but then bought a new high-ticket item for your home afterwards, go back and increase your content insurance limit! Contact your insurer and add on that brand-new expensive coffee table. You want to be sure that it is covered too! Taking action to keep your content insurance policy current will help you in situations when you need to make an accurate claim.

 

So how much content’s insurance should you have? Go through your home and tally up the rough cost you would require to replace the contents you own. Whatever that number is, speak with your insurance company to discuss policy options. Renter’s insurance is one of the cheapest insurance policy’s you can purchase, and it acts as a precaution for unexpected events. It is better to know you have enough to cover losses than suddenly finding you can’t replace half of your belongings.

 

Don’t have renter’s insurance? Contact Nuera Insurance to get a quote today and safeguard your contents and belongings!

 Feature Community: Calgary, Alberta’s Aspen Woods

 Feature Community: Calgary, Alberta’s Aspen Woods

Located in the Southwest of Calgary, Alberta lies the community of Aspen Woods. Aspen Woods is filled mainly with residential detached homes, acreages, and breath taking views of the Rocky Mountains. This beautiful neighbourhood is close to city parks in the South of Calgary and has quick access to the mountains – a desirable trait for any who seek the outdoors. Since development in 2001, Aspen Woods is highly sought after for its quiet living and gorgeous properties. The community is a wonderful option for those starting out and looking to settle down, with a majority of the population being between the ages of 20-64.

 

Despite the quiet lifestyle of the community, there is plenty to do. Walking trails, recreation programs hosted by the SCA Community Association, or even driving to nearby parks such as Edworthy Park. Of course, if you are looking for a community with shopping, Aspen Landing Shopping Centre is a popular place to be. Filled with independent boutiques, diverse restaurants, a grocery store, and other services, everything you need is found in this “unique village concept centre.”

 

  • Sometimes the best part of being part of a community is the new experiences and services available close to home. In Aspen Landing, take up a new hobby in the fine arts or sign your child up for music lessons at Music and Play. Here you can choose from a wide variety of lessons: music, theatre arts, dance, or performance. Learning new artistic skills and getting involved is an excellent way to truly enjoy what your community has to offer.
  • If you are new to the area and are needing some new items for your kitchen or home, check out Kala and Lime! The store is fully stocked with the latest and most stylish kitchen products, or home décor items to make your space better.
  • Nothing is better than the smell of freshly baked bread and a nice warm loaf to come home to. The Lady Bug and Café is the perfect place to satisfy that baked-goods craving, grab an espresso and relax. Their café features organic, homemade, and local goods that your taste buds will thank you for! Head on over to this European styled bistro for breakfast, lunch, or a snack!

 

Whether you are looking for somewhere to eat (fancy or casual), shopping for clothes (adult or child), or want to paint some pottery, Aspen Landing is the place to go! The beautifully rustic-styled shopping opportunity is located beside Marjan Lake and Hashem Pond – the water provides that “out-of-city” feel. If you want a community that is situated in nature and is away from the noise of the city, look no further than Aspen Woods.

 

Aspen Woods is the perfect community to take you out of the city without having to make a long commute. Only a short 15-minute drive from Downtown Calgary, it is the ideal location for business people. If you do not have a car, the 69 Street LRT station is easily accessible as a commute option. Located in the southeast corner of the community the LRT is reachable from anywhere in the community by bus. Currently, on Rentfaster.ca there are 40 rentals available with an average price of $2,213. Compared to the nearby community of Springbank Hill, where average rental prices are slightly higher ($2,405) with fewer options available (14).

 

Aspen Woods is ideal for a slower pace of life and a close-community feel. It is the perfect location to stay close to work while still staying close to the mountains. If you are an outdoorsy-type person who wants to raise a family or settle down, Aspen Woods is for you. Check out Rentfaster.ca to view the listings in Aspen Woods and find your rental today!

 

Rentfaster Aspen Woods Prize Pack

OFFICIAL CONTEST RULES for the Aspen Woods Local Business Giveaway on Facebook (September 1, 2017)

No purchase is necessary and winner will be chosen in random draw. Each comment gives one entry; multiple entries per person allowed. Contest is open to any  Alberta  resident over 18 years of age. Contest is open until September 30, 2017 at 11:59 PM. Prize includes $150 certificate to use for any class at Music & Play, Kala and Lime S’well Water Bottle (750mL), and a $50 gift card to Ladybug and Cafe. No substitutes or cash replacement allowed. Skill-testing question required.

Winner will be contacted via Facebook within one week after contest close and has one week to respond to claim prize or a new name will be selected. Odds of winning depend on entries. Gift basket will be delivered via mail to winner’s address within six weeks of accepting prize via Facebook or email.

This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook. We hereby release Facebook of any liability.

 

Sources:

http://www.calgary.ca/CSPS/CNS/Documents/community_social_statistics/aspen_woods.pdf

http://www.great-news.ca/communities/calgary/sw/aspen/

http://www.calgarylistings.com/aspen-woods/

http://aspenlanding.ca/?page_id=2

 

Thank you to our sponsors:

Music and Play

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MusicandPlayCanada/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/musicandplay

 

Kala and Lime

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KalaAndLime/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/kalaandlime

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/kalaandlime

 

Ladybug and Cafe

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ladybugandcafe/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ladybugandcafe

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ladybugandcafe

4 Kinds of Rental References to Ask for as a Landlord

4 Kinds of Rental References to Ask for as a Landlord

 

As a landlord, you don’t have a lot of options when it comes to getting to know someone before they move into your home. You can do a security check and ask for payment documents, but when it comes to their personality – all you have are references. Once you make the decision to rent out your property to a stranger, it is up to you to do your due diligence and find a tenant who will respect your property as if it were their own, with little to go on. You will never know the person completely, and can only do your best in using your discretion to find someone responsible. Of course, you can do an interview, look at their resume, and take a peek at their LinkedIn page, but these tools are all based on how they see themselves and want the world to see them. It is necessary to speak with others who know the individual personally to see if what they say is true. These people will be able to give you a different perspective on how the person lives, works, and goes about their day. Here are 4 kinds of rental references to ask for as a landlord.

 

1. Friend or Family Member

When you contact a tenant’s friend or family member for reference, you can assume that the review will be glowing. These are the people who know your prospective tenant the best and generally want them to succeed. They will be able to provide clear and helpful insight about the prospective tenant’s characteristics from experience. As a result of being close to the individual, the feedback received from these references is often biased. It is beneficial to have this information, but it is necessary to review it critically.  Use the information you gather from other references and compare it to the information given by the individual’s friends and family members.

 

Questions to ask a Friend or Family member:

  • How long have you known the prospective tenant?
  • Where does the individual currently work?
  • Would you say the individual is responsible and reliable?
  • Would you rent your own home to this individual?

 

2. Employer

A valuable rental reference to attain is the prospective tenant’s current employer. It is this reference that will help you verify if the individual has enough income to pay rent, is responsible, and has good work ethic. Does the individual show up on time? Does the individual work well with other employees? Employers are the ones who conduct performance reviews and monitor the job being done, making them the perfect reference to recognize reliability. If an employer is happy with the individual’s work ethic and responsibility, you are one step closer to finding the person to rent your home!

 

Questions to ask an Employer:

  • How long has the prospective tenant worked at this position?
  • Has anything occurred for you to doubt their reliability?
  • Can you verify the total income made by the prospective tenant?
  • Would you recommend I rent to this individual?

 

3. Previous Landlord

One of the best rental references you can get is that of a previous landlord. Not only will the landlord know exactly what you are looking for in this stage of the rental process, they can verify if the individual is a good tenant. They have had first-hand experience renting to the tenant and can inform you of payment tendencies, damages, and basic traits. If another landlord is unwilling to rent to this individual again or reports that the tenant was asked to leave, you may need to speculate why. That said, it could have been a personality clash or issue that arose from the landlords side, so don’t always write off a tenant immediatedly.

 

Questions to ask a Previous Landlord:

  • Did the prospective tenant pay rent on time and in full?
  • Was the property taken care of, or was there any damage done?
  • Did the individual have a disruptive behavior while renting?
  • Would you rent to this individual again?

 

4. Co-Worker

A co-worker may have a different perspective than an employer, as they worked “in the trenches” with the prospective tenant. They have an inside view on how the person conducts their job, what their work ethic is really like, and how they interact with others. An employer can only see so much, as they are responsible for supervising an entire team. Meanwhile, co-workers are always working alongside the individual and have a better idea of their personality. It is these references that can give you the best idea of how your prospective tenant gets along with others – a trait important to maintaining a landlord-tenant relationship.

 

Questions to ask a Co-Worker:

  • How long have you worked with the prospective tenant?
  • Does the individual have a good work ethic?
  • Does the individual get along well with others (customers and co-workers) at work?
  • In your opinion, would you say the individual is responsible?

 

 

Most times you will get a clear idea of just what the tenant will be like. If you find that the responses from references vary, it is best to trust your instincts and move to the next candidate. Once you have contacted all the rental references and asked the necessary questions, be confident in your decision. Soon enough you will be finished the rental process!

Walkthrough Checklist: Everything a Landlord Should Look for on a Walkthrough

Walkthrough Checklist: Everything a Landlord Should Look for on a Walkthrough

 

Renting out your home involves a lot of trust. You need to trust that you have selected the right tenant to take care of your property while they live in it. While it is common practice to do a rental walkthrough at the end of any lease agreement, it is also beneficial to perform landlord checks every so often to make sure the place is not turning into a rental horror story.

 

Once a tenant has decided to move on (and move out) all landlords must do a walkthrough to ensure that there is no damage that would have to be covered by the deposit. As most know, a deposit of 1 month’s rent is held by the landlord at the beginning of any lease, an given back at the end (if warranted). So, what do you look for on your walkthroughs? How do you ensure that your property was taken care of and is not damaged in any way? Here is your complete walkthrough checklist to make sure your property is in top-notch condition for the next tenant.

 

Marks on Walls/Scuffs on Floors

Walkthrough Checklist - Marks on Walls

As you add items to your walkthrough checklist, closely inspect the walls and floors for any damage or marks. This is especially important if you clearly identified in the rental agreement that no holes were to be made in the walls. If any pictures were hung, dents were made, or marks were left on the walls they will need to be fixed by the tenant or taken out of the deposit. Also look at the bottoms of walls and on hardwoods, as when placing furniture on moving day, it is possible scratches or damaged was done.

 

Stains

Life happens and sometimes stains are the result. In most cases, stains will come out of the carpets, but in cases where a professional has to be brought in, it can cost you. Check to make sure the rugs and carpets do not have any serious stains or burns or markings on them that would require extra care to remove.

 

Look for Any Broken Items

Walkthrough Checklist - Broken Items

A good item to have on your walkthrough checklist is looking for any broken items or appliances. If your rental included specific appliances or furniture, take a second to make sure each is in good condition: Turn on the oven and burners to see if they are in working condition, check the legs of furniture, and any glass for cracks and chips. It is also beneficial to take a look inside other appliances (fridge, washer, dryer, dishwasher, etc.) to see that the tenants maintained them and kept them clean.

 

Outdoor Fixtures

Depending whether your rental has outdoor space or not, check the structures and layout of the outdoor areas. Decks can have damaged boards, loose nails, and other hazards that may need attention. Are any of the boards, railings, or walls wobbly? Having this information allows you to bring it to the attention of the tenant and plan possible fixes if necessary.

 

Smoke Detectors

Walkthrough Checklist - Smoke Detectors

Some landlords may have a documented schedule of when to change fire extinguishers and smoke detectors. For those who don’t, be sure to add “check the smoke detectors” to your walkthrough checklist. It is crucial that smoke alarm batteries are properly replaced periodically. Depending on the rental agreement, it is the landlord’s responsibility to ensure that proper safety procedures are in place. Landlords should guarantee the working order of all smoke alarms and fire extinguishers while doing a walkthrough.

 

Water Damage

Water damage can be one of the costliest repairs, depending on the severity. Checking for water damage is especially important for landlords who have multi-level buildings to manage. If water damage occurs on the floor of one rental space, it could mean water damage on the ceiling of another. Observe the areas surrounding bath tubs, showers, washers, and sinks to see if any water damage has occurred. While checking these areas, watch for any faucets or taps that may be dripping as well. Those will need replacement or fixing as soon as possible (and not at the expense of the tenant)!

 

Sealed Windows

Walkthrough Checklist - Sealed Windows

As you observe the rooms, take a look at each of the windows to see if they are properly sealed. Windows that have loose seals, do not close properly, or are broken in any way can seriously affect your energy bills. In colder months, the heating will have to work harder to warm those rooms that have cool drafts coming through unsealed windows. Identifying these problems early on can help avoid costly bills and unhappy tenants later on. This will fall under your own expense as a landlord, unless it is obvious that the tenant tampered with them.

 

 

Once you have completed everything on your walkthrough checklist, you can feel confident that your property is in good shape. If there is damage or problems with the rental, bring it to the attention of the tenant and have it priced out in advance. The tenant should be given the opportunity to fix items themselves (filling holes, renting a carpet cleaner, etc.). If the costs do not total the deposit, you must give the remainder back, with accumulated interest. After everything is fixed up – take note of the new state for the next tenant.

15 Coolest Airbnb Rentals in the World

15 Coolest Airbnb Rentals in the World

Traveling is a wonderful opportunity to see new places, experience new cultures, and taste new foods. But when travelling, where do you stay? While Rentfaster is the place to look for long-term rentals, city hoping is served well by Airbnb rentals! These amazing rentals are situated across the globe and each rental is different than the next. Perhaps you are searching for a gorgeous beach house or a cozy cabin, or maybe an authentic castle is your dream getaway. No matter where your travels lead you, there will be an Airbnb rental that has just what you are dreaming of. Home is always where your heart is, but sometimes a trip away from home can be just what the heart needs! Here are 15 of the coolest Airbnb rentals in the world!

 

1. The Gatehouse to Ayton Castle

The Gatehouse to Ayton Castle - Airbnb Rentals

Location: Eyemouth, Berwickshire, United Kingdom

Price: $169/night

 

Have you ever dreamed about living in a castle of your own? Dream no more, because with Airbnb rentals like this you can have a small castle to yourself. Located in the north of the United Kingdoms, this quaint castle is as good a getaway as any beach resort. The cozy castle, fit for two, features a log-burning fireplace, spiral staircase, and is only a four-mile drive from beautiful beaches. If you want to stay in a castle with the comforts of home, check out The Gatehouse to Ayton Castle for your next vacation.

 

2. One-of-a-kind Converted Magic School Bus Adventure

One-of-a-kind Converted Magic School Bus Adventure - Airbnb Rentals

Location: Salinas, California, United States

Price: $72/night

 

If a house or condo is too blasé to peak your interest on vacation, there are more unique experiences available. Introducing, the Magic School Bus. This fun and unique rental is perfect for those who want to get away to the outdoors (but not too outdoors). This fun bus is equipped with LED lighting, recycled redwood walls, and an optional Kundalini yoga session (complete with gong mediation). Situated on 5 acres of land, bus renters are free to explore the area. Defy the norm and choose Airbnb rentals just like the one-of-a-kind Converted Magic School Bus Adventure!

 

3. The Cozy Palace

The Cozy Palace - Airbnb Rentals

Location: Marrakesh, Medina, Morocco

Price: $56/night

 

If you get excited when you think of exotic places, The Cozy Palace could be just the Airbnb rental for you. In Morocco, this quaint gorgeous Riad is the ideal place for those looking to feel like the upper class of the Mediterranean. The rooms are inspired by Moroccan culture and art, and a terrace on the roof gives you the perfect opportunity to stare out at the horizon. The tranquil palace will offer peace and relaxation in a traditional Moroccan home!

 

4. Windmill in the Netherlands

Windmill in the Netherlands - Airbnb Rentals

Location: Abcoude, Utrecht, Netherlands

Price: $422/night

 

If unique is what you desire in your Airbnb rentals, then this windmill in the Netherlands will leave your head spinning. With true rustic, large wooden beams, you will live inside the windmill body itself. Complete with kitchen, dining area, bedrooms, and bathrooms, inside looks just like home. When rented, the entire windmill is yours to occupy, up to the tiny bedroom hidden the higher beams of the structure. The rental is close to Amsterdam (15 minutes away) so you can enjoy the capital while also experiencing the countryside.

 

5. Bird Island

Bird Island - Airbnb Rentals

Location: Stann Creek Dist, Belize, Belize

Price: $775/night

 

Your perfect island vacation is waiting for you in Placencia, Belize! Although this private island is more expensive than other Airbnb rentals available, you are definitely getting your money’s worth. On Bird Island, you cater to yourself and make your schedule as you go – the remote island offers total privacy and is fully accessible to you alone. Activities involve kayaking, snorkeling, swimming, and all-day hammocking! If you are looking for a rental that gets you away from the busy city, Bird Island is as good as it gets!

 

6. Secluded Intown Treehouse

Secluded Intown Treehouse - Airbnb Rentals

Location: Atlanta, Georgia, United States

Price: $489/night

 

Some Airbnb rentals allow you to immerse yourself in nature, but how much closer can you get than a treehouse? Secluded in the middle of Intown Atlanta, this treehouse is a ‘young at heart’ paradise. It has 3 separate rooms connected by a rope bridge, each room offering its own wonderful unique experience to unwind in. The rental is only able to cater to 2, which is all that’s needed for couples to spend some quality time together in the trees. For those who are not ready to commit to the outdoor lifestyle, there is a washroom available as well as a fan and mattress warmer to battle the elements. The treehouse is complete with twinkly lights, giving the rental a magical feel.

 

7. Ultimate Modern Escape – Golden BC

Ultimate Modern Escape – Golden BC - Airbnb Rentals

Location: Columbia-Shuswap A, BC, Canada

Price:$449/night

 

Perhaps your vacation goals are to get you into the trees, but not be “roughing-it.” Introducing the modern cabin – they best way to stay in the trees while having access to everything you need. This modern cabin has large windows, vaulted ceilings, and beautifully designed bedrooms and a fully functional kitchen. All your needs will be met inside, so you can enjoy your adventures outside. The cabin is located on the Blaeberry river and is surrounded by the best hiking trails and mountain views. This is one of those Airbnb rentals that is good for any time of year, but is especially cozy for those Canadian winters!

 

8. St Pancras Clock Tower

St Pancras Clock Tower - Airbnb Rentals

Location: London, England, United Kingdom

Price: $216/night

 

Staying in London? Want to stay in a clock tower? This guest suite available in the clock tower apartment of St Pancras Station is one of a kind. The apartment looks out over the famous Kings Cross Station and is fully furbished. The style of the rental is cozy, with brick walls and wooden flooring, complete with modern touches in other rooms. Many of the rooms include filled bookshelves, enough to convince any bookworm to stay for months!

 

9. Heward’s Fully Restored 1920’s Sheep Wagon

Heward’s Fully Restored 1920’s Sheep Wagon - Airbnb Rentals

Location: Shirley Basin, Wyoming, United States

Price: $163/night

 

Step out of this Airbnb and right into a scene from ‘Little House on the Prairie’! Understand what the sheepherder lifestyle was like by renting out this restored sheep wagon. The tiny but unique rental truly offers an experience of a lifetime, as you live in extremely close quarters. The wagon contains one bed, a small table, a wood burning stove, and cold boxes to keep your food cold. Located on 30,000 acres of a family ranch, you are able to explore the area and its activities (hiking, fishing, hunting, and biking). Once you have lived in this wagon you will get a glimpse of what it was like to live in the past!

 

10. Castle in Périgord

Castle in Périgord - Airbnb Rentals

Location: Montferrand-du-Périgord, Aquitaine, France

Price: $199/night

 

Instead of staying in a castle with the comforts of home, you can stay in a castle with the comforts of stone! This beautiful castle in France (dated back to the 1400’s) has all the features of a traditional castle like those seen on the big screen. Spiral staircases, stone walls, arched doorways and windows – this rental will fulfill your medieval fantasies! A few villages are located close by that allow you to explore Aquitaine, France during your stay. This is one Airbnb rental that will offer you peace and quiet and amazing views while you treat yourself like a king.

 

11. Geodesic Dome

Geodesic Dome - Airbnb Rentals

Location: Facinas, Andulasia, Spain

Price: $79/night

 

Laze in the sun, enjoy the fresh air, and sleep in a geodesic dome. One of the coolest Airbnb rentals is found in Spain – a giant igloo on a wooden platform. The group of dome rentals is an open concept that has a community kitchen and a risqué outside shower and Moroccan styled-toilet. The domes are quite small and have only a single bed and limited furniture, everything else (table, bathrooms, etc.) is outdoors. This is one rental where you are free in nature – and with a gorgeous view to boot!

 

12. The World Famous Seashell House – Casa Caracol

The World Famous Seashell House - Airbnb Rentals

Location: Isla Mujeres, Mexico

Price: $389/night

 

All Airbnb rentals have their own unique charms and qualities that draw interest, but none so much as the Seashell House. This world-famous rental is made for any beach-seeker who would prefer to avoid the crowds. Once rented out, the entire home is available for private use including the gorgeous house-front pool. Not only is the beach theme on the outside of the house, but is carried inside with its sand-sculptured furniture and seashell décor. In this Airbnb rental, you can truly feel like you are living under the sea!

 

13. Here be Dragons…

Here Be Dragons - Airbnb Rentals

Location: Westhall, United Kingdom

Price: $502/night

 

Are you a fantasy nerd? Come and stay in this creative house and enjoy the colors and sights of the “fascinating and unexplored.” With the surprising dragon located on the top of the house, the interior is just as curious. Each room has unique colors and design, filled with books, one of a kind furniture, and cultural artwork that will keep you in awe. While staying here, you have access to the summer house, which is a finely decorated outdoor space perfect for reading, taking a nap, or just relaxing. Come and explore the creative, because anything could happen when there be dragons about!

 

14. Afghani Yurt

Afghani Yurt - Airbnb Rentals

Location: Nuremberg, Bavaria, Germany

Price: $46/night

 

If you are searching for something a little more spiritual, this Afghani Yurt in Germany will ground you. The yurt has a comfortable bed, electricity and candles, but all else is outside. There is no running water, and if water is needed a basin is available. Located in a garden, the pool is the best enjoyed on hot days (with a shower available). This serene area will have you on a spiritual journey in no time.

 

15. Underground Hygge

Underground Hygge - Airbnb Rentals

Location: Orondo, Washington, United States

Price: $326/night

 

If you are a fan of The Lord of the Rings or The Hobbit, there is an Airbnb rental awaiting your arrival! Located in Washington, United States, this underground hygge rental allows you to live like a hobbit with the home’s round shaped door and natural décor. The earth home looks out on to the Columbia river as well as stunning local hills and orchards. Inside the small home is a bed for two, a fireplace, small bathroom, and a quaint sitting area. If a trip to New Zealand is not in the budget, this hobbit hole is second best!

Top 10 Things You Need to Know About Calgary’s New Basement Suite Rules

 By: Kahane Law

Recently, there has been new legal developments impacting basement suites in the City of Calgary (the “City”). On July 22, 2015, the Calgary City Council passed a bylaw that makes it easier, cheaper and quicker to either construct a legal basement suite, or legalize an existing suite. Since then, over 383 families in Calgary have applied to have their basement suite legalized. Here are the top 10 things you need to know about developing or legalizing your basement suite.

 

1.      What is a Secondary Suite?

A secondary suite is a defined as a separate living space created within a main residence that is designed to accommodate a single family. Examples of secondary suites include basement suites, garden suites, in-law suites, and above-garage units.

Secondary suites must have their own sleeping, kitchen, living and bathroom areas. They may also include shared areas such as a backyard, parking spaces, laundry and storage area.

 

2.      What Are The Benefits of Developing/Legalizing My Basement Suites?

For home owners, owning a legal basement suite can pay off by: 

  • allowing you to rent out the suite, boosting your income and helping you pay down your mortgage quicker or offset the cost of property taxes and home maintenance
  • providing you extra space to provide accommodations for visitors, such as your elderly parents, disabled family members and children
  • increasing the value of your property

 For tenants, legal basement suites are beneficial because: 

  • unlike condos or apartments, basement suites are primarily located on the ground giving you access to outdoor space like a backyard
  • legal basement suites meet the requirements under Alberta’s Safety Codes Act

 

3.      What Safety Features Do Legalized Basement Suites Have? 

On November 1, 2015, the City introduced changes to the Alberta Building Code (the “Code”).

Legal basement suites are required to meet Alberta’s safety codes, which can help protect tenants in emergencies, such as fires. Legally, all legalized basement suites must have three key safety features: 

  • Bedroom Windows – there must be at least one window in each bedroom that you can open from the inside, without the use of any special tools or keys. The window should be accessible, unobstructed, and large enough so that anyone can fit through it in the event of an emergency. If the window has security bars, they should be operable from the inside, without having to use any tools.
  • Smoke alarms & Carbon Monoxide Detectors – each unit in the property, such as each bedroom and common areas, must have working smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors that are connected to each other. This is so that when one alarm is activated, all the alarms within the units will sound. Both the landlord and tenants should test these alarms and detectors on a regular basis to ensure they are maintained according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Exits – each unit within the home must have at least one exit leading to the outside. There must also be solid core doors that have self-closing devices.

Tip: Landlords should hire contractors who are familiar with the changes to the Code. It is cheaper to get things done right the first time than to fix them to meet legal requirements later down the road.

 

4.      What Was the Old Process to Legalize a Basement Suite? 

Prior to the changes, the old process of legalizing a secondary suite included applying for a development permit AND a building permit.

The process of applying for a development permit includes things like checking whether the zoning of the land allows for a basement suite, whether the use of the land is permitted, if the parcel meets size dimension requirements etc. 

The process of applying for a building  permit is similar. It ensures that the basement meets the legal requirements in the Code.

 

5.      What Is the New Process to Legalize an Existing Basement Suite on Zoned Land?

Currently, landlords wishing to legalize an existing basement suite on land that is zoned, can skip applying for a development permit (DP) under the DP Exemption Program if the suite meets the rules of the Land Use Bylaw. Each district has different rules. To find out whether basement suites are allowed in your district, enter your property’s address in the property information tool.

If eligible for the program, you can save around $2,200 and hours of paperwork, such as commissions for architectural drawings. Instead of taking up to three months to process, getting a basement legalized can be processed in a matter of days.

 

6.      What If My Property Does Not Qualify For the DP Exemption Program?

If you want to apply to legalize an existing basement suite on land situated in a district that does not list basement suites as a listed use, you can apply for a Land Use Re-designation Application. This application allows you to apply to change the district of a property. Currently, the City is waiving the application fee.

 

7.      How Do I Find Out If a Basement Suite is Legal?

On September 28, 2015, the City launched an online Secondary Suite Registry and registered sticker program. This allows individuals to verify if a basement suite meets the Alberta Building Code requirements at the time of an inspection by the City.

Individuals can enter in the property’s address, community, or registry sticker number to identify whether a basement suite is legal. Landlords who register their legalized secondary suite can also receive a registered sticker that they can use to market their suite to prospective tenants. For a map of all verified basement suites, click here.

 

 

8.      I Want To Build a Legal Basement Suite In My House – How Do I Apply for a Building Permit?

Thinking of developing a legal basement suite on land situated in an area zoned for secondary suites? Follow these steps to apply for a building permit:

Step One: Make sure you have prepared the items set out in the building permit complete application requirement checklist.

Step Two: Book an appointment online.

Step Three: Fill out the application forms and submit it for review at the 3rd floor counter at the Municipal Building.

Step Four: After completing the steps, you may begin construction on your legal basement suite. Make sure the suite is built according to the legal requirements outlined in the building regulations assessment checklist.

Typically, the application process will take about three to six months.

 

9.      What Happens If I Do Not Apply for a Legally Require Building Permit?

If you fail to apply for a building permit before starting work on your basement suite, you may risk: 

  • being subject to a stop work order issued by a City inspector
  • receiving a fine
  • being forced to undo work already completed
  • issues with selling your property or filing an insurance claim in the future

Call before you dig. As a homeowner, make sure you know if a building permit is required before constructing your basement suite. Even if you hire a contractor who claims that a building permit is not required, you will be held responsible if fined.

 

10.    How Do I Find Out If I Need a Building Permit to Develop My Basement Suite? 

You are legally required to apply for a building permit if: 

  • you are developing an existing basement
  • the renovations are more extensive than mere cosmetic upgrades
  • you wish to add or remove walls
  • you plan to make structural changes

Still unsure if you need a builder’s permit? Contact the City’s Planning Services Centre at (403) 268-5311.

Note: it is also your responsibility to make sure that the work you are planning does not violate any existing restrictive covenants, caveats, or any other restrictions against the property.

 

Real Estate Lawyer Help with Basement Suites

Thinking of legalizing your basement suite? Applying for a building permit to upgrade your illegal basement suite or looking to build a legalized one? Now is a better time than ever to apply for permits as the City is currently waiving application fees for Development Permits AND Land Use Re-designation. Contact Kahane Law Office’s team of highly experienced real estate lawyers. We can help simplify the process. Call us today at 1-877-225-8817  or, if you are in Calgary, 403-225-8810. You can also email us here directly.

 

Verifying a secondary suite in Calgary 

RentFaster.ca has worked with the City of Calgary so property owners and managers can mark their listing as a certified secondary suite just by including their permit number. You’ll see an icon on applicable listings that will show the updated information from the city.