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Discussion Starter #1
I've posted a bit about this in previous posts, but at the time I was considering we would continue our past experiences of renting rooms to students. We've had great success with this and enjoy having extra bodies around for security and company.

That said, I'm also contemplating recommending to my husband we consider buying units such as this: http://www.realtor.ca/propertyDetails.aspx?propertyId=9782404&PidKey=-181340355

This is only an example of course. We would live on the main floor unit and rent out the other two units. One question I have is, it seems sometimes duplexed homes sell separately (as in side by sides) and, in this case and it seems most often, as one unit. Is it possible to get separate mortgages on these two units - does anyone here have experience with purchasing duplexes? I'm asking as we would prefer to have two mortages, one on the rental and one on our main residence. This may not be possible but I'd still like to know for sure.

My main point of my post however is to get people's opinions on buying a multi-unit dwelling and renting out a suite or two. In our situation, it would be very close to Dalhousie and we would rent to students. It appears there are many students looking so we could and would try and get the cream of the crop, and we've had years of experience renting out rooms and our condo in Vancouver, so we're not new at this, just new to the idea of a duplex or triplex.

It appears we would get more income from renting out one or two suites than two bedrooms in a detached house, but I'd like please some input of what I need to consider. So far I'm considering:

1. Privacy (not a huge issue with us, and we prefer to have roomates anyway)
2. Utilties - we would have to make sure utilities are paid by the tenant if possible
3. Mortgages - can we have separate ones for our main res and rental unit
4. Insurance - we would be paying more insurance for separate suites than what we pay extra for roomates (suite occupants would pay for their own contents)
5. Location, location location.... much more important when renting units out than the actual unit itself, especially when it comes to students. As long as it's reasonable, we don't need a castle.

Any other things we should consider?
 

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1. Privacy (not a huge issue with us, and we prefer to have roomates anyway)
2. Utilties - we would have to make sure utilities are paid by the tenant if possible
3. Mortgages - can we have separate ones for our main res and rental unit
4. Insurance - we would be paying more insurance for separate suites than what we pay extra for roomates (suite occupants would pay for their own contents)
5. Location, location location.... much more important when renting units out than the actual unit itself, especially when it comes to students. As long as it's reasonable, we don't need a castle.

Any other things we should consider?
It's my understanding that a duplex is one house, with two 'apartments' in it. As such, I don't think you can get two mortgages. Otherwise, it would be a condo situation, where there are two separate legal residences. The way I think of it is, can I sell the apartment? If not, it can't have a mortgage.

I pay more for insurance on my duplex than I would if it's a single family. it's not a huge amount more $50? and there are restrictions such as any break ins must show forced entry.

Utilities are hard. Renting to students is easier than to the older people, and you can usually charge more rent. But, how do you make sure they pay the electricity? If it's only a rental building, you don't really care if the power gets cut off. If you live there, you care. You may just want to build it into the cost of rent, and make the rent 'all inclusive'.

Location is important, but I'd say the unit has to be nice. The nicer the rental space (and nice is relative to students) the better type of students. Grad students would be ideal.

Just my thoughts.
 

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One address = one mortgage. You would have to allocate the portion of your mortgage interest/prop taxes/utilities that is attributable to the rental and deduct those expenses from your rental income accordingly. I have never heard of a multi-residential property having two separate mortgages - except maybe a first and second mortgage, but not where each mortgage is attributable to a separate unit. How would that work for tax purposes?

As for separate utilities, many duplexes/triplexes are already metered separately, allowing for your tenants to put utilities in their own names It is a small investment to have them separately metered after you purchase. (This is how we do it. We don't want to be stuck paying utilities for someone who has stiffed us on rent - if your tenant stops paying rent, you as landlord cannot cut off their utilities, at least not in Ontario).

As for living in one unit and renting the other, we have never done that. I wouldn't want to be too available to my tenants. With some tenants it wouldn't be an issue, but for some of the higher maintenance tenants, distance is good. In fact we have a business address and our tenants don't even know where we live.
 

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In the link you show the property is two addresses and possibly you could get two mortgages.

Royal the site you gave sucks, doesn't deal with rentals except for allowing free listings of rentals such as craigslist.

The Real Estate section of CMF is just as good a place as any I have found to ask this question.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks Berubeland, perhaps I should have mentioned there were two addresses - I assumed people would check the listing but even then it may not have stood out.

The duplexes that I'm aware of can be one address, basically a house with a suit in it, or side by sides (which aren't truly duplexes I suppose, but similar) which can indeed be owned by different people, so no problem with two mortgages, and it's not a condo type ownership.

The question I have is, what entitles there to be two mortgages (or two different owners)? I have a feeling that the listing I pointed out can NOT be owned by separate people, which would mean probably not having two separate mortgages, however, I'm not sure and I don't know who to ask about this. I'll try a realtor, I have one in mind but I'm not sure if she could explain it best, or if a mortgage broker could explain it better.

I'm assuming it has something to do with the land titles act, some stipulations it has but I'm really not sure.
 

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It's what we call a semi detached here in Toronto.

Basically what happened is that there were 2 addresses and the property could be owned by two separate people as the owner has not allowed the city to join it.

This is actually a money making strategy. You can buy a property with separate addresses and sell the pieces.
 

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My father owns duplexes that are side-by-side - 1 address and 1 shared driveway, 2 tenants with 2 entrances side-by-side

I live in a semi-detached - my own yard, my own driveway with entrance at the opposite end, just that my neighbors house is attached to mine. It saves space and maybe heat
 

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I've seen places been called duplexes that aren't strata-tiered, but side by side ...
Once again, the exception proves the rule (at least in Toronto).

(The other thing about semis is that they discourage redevelopment. In North Toronto, many of the small SFH have been demolished and replaced by upscale three storey homes. Last fall, I sold the family home for $550k and it is now an SFH valued at $1.2 million.)
 

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Hi, have you ever meet any students before?

1. they have no money
2. they are drunk all the time and fornicate like rabbits.
3. see 1 & 2

You want to buy 600k house to share with students??:eek::eek::eek:

my dear, this is student house, that will serve you well as a cash cow.

http://www.realtor.ca/propertyDetails.aspx?propertyId=9765820&PidKey=-60535820

You'll notice it's not far from the university either and it just saved you half a million dollars and lot of headaches.

btw, student take things called buses or bicycles to school, if they actual go that is.
 

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*laughing* ... Hmmm, it is tempting to buy that $26,900 property, even if it is in the wrong side of town, needs to be knocked down and rebuilt. Given it's location, it's bound to appreciate at some point in time.

I must disagree with Chaudi's #1 and #2. You can get great students who have money, and actually study. Where Addy's location is the best part of Halifax to live. To be honest, I think she could easily get professors, docs or nurses to rent there, as it's near the QE hospital complex. That's who I'd get. The only negative about docs is that they have weird hours and may get up in the middle of night to answer a call, but the advantage is that they're almost never home.
 

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Chaudi,

That can apply to any age group. My aunt is a nurse at a seniors home and what goes on there would make you blush.

The trick as always is to find people that have money and rent to them.

Finding people who don't fornicate, well I'm not sure why you'd want to do that anyways. Good Luck.

Students can be very pleasant, just like many tenants.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I second Berubeland. I've mentioned a fair number of times we have, for many years now, rented to students and have throughly enjoyed it. I'm not sure where you get your stereotypes from, but it sure isn't from any reality I've experienced in the past 12 years.

And, from my experience over the past dozen or so years, students do NOT want to bus or bike to school. Therefore the places closest to the schools are very easy to rent out.

Perhaps you should learn a bit more before trying to educate someone who knows a fair bit more than you, and drop the stereotypes while you're at it.


Hi, have you ever meet any students before?

1. they have no money
2. they are drunk all the time and fornicate like rabbits.
3. see 1 & 2

You want to buy 600k house to share with students??:eek::eek::eek:

my dear, this is student house, that will serve you well as a cash cow.

http://www.realtor.ca/propertyDetails.aspx?propertyId=9765820&PidKey=-60535820

You'll notice it's not far from the university either and it just saved you half a million dollars and lot of headaches.

btw, student take things called buses or bicycles to school, if they actual go that is.
 

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"Perhaps you should learn a bit more before trying to educate someone who knows a fair bit more than you, and drop the stereotypes while you're at it."

If it means spending that kind of cash in halfix to house students, then i guess i don't.

Here are some stereotypical statistics, probably written by communists.
"Just released: 2009 Ontario Student Drug Use Study by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health

23% of Ontario students report that they were offered, sold, or given a drug at school in the last year. That's about 219,000 students.

42% of Ontario students surveyed have used an illicit substance in the last year.

83% of Ontario students in grade 12 drink alcohol. 49% of gr. 12 students admit to binge drinking.

The top four substances used by Ontario students: 58% alcohol; Cannabis (marijuana) 25%; Non-prescribed use of prescription pain relievers such as codeine, Percocet, Percodan, Demerol, or Tylenol #3, 17%; Tobacco 11.7%.
:eek::eek::eek::eek:
 

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Chaudi, I personally don't find your statistics damning at all.

I work at a University very closely with people of all levels, high school students, undergrads, grad students, post-docs, profs etc. You would be amazed how many of the PhD/MDs, your future researchers and medical doctors and every other type of professional 'use' some of the substances you list.

Many of these are highly acclaimed individuals and somehow maintain to keep all their obligations, social, financial, familial etc.

I think many here would acknowledge your comments show how little insight you might have on this matter. All these 'terrible' potential tenants you believe exist are just normal people, maybe they have a drink from time to time, and perhaps they partake in carnal relations, that doesn't make them bad tenants.
 

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much as i'm interested in flash topics like fornication & drug use, could i please hijack this thread for a few moments & request thoughts on a much more sedate kind of neighbour problem.

i like my neighbour & try hard to maintain a good relationship, so when she wanted to demolish her rear deck & build a bigger one & asked me not to alert the city building inspectors, because she doesn't have a building permit, i agreed.

as it happens her deck is joined to mine. The 2 houses are semi-detached. The 2 back doors are side-by-side. That's how they built em a century ago. It violates today's building code, but the old buildings are grandfathered.

out the back doors, my side is the original from 1895, so it's tiny. It's only the top stoop to the back stairs. But over the decades the deck on her side has grown larger & larger. Both decks are resting on a series of protruding joists that are embedded in the masonry of the foundations. There's a central joist that i suppose belongs equally to us semi-detached owners, just like we share the mitoyenne wall.

the weight has caused this central joist to sag. In other words, the 2 sides - my small stoop & her big deck - now slope down slightly to the mid-line.

yesterday the contractor demolished the neighbour's deck, exposing the central joist. I thought to myself that some of the posts & beams could have been saved & re-used to prop the sagging central joist. Right now, when the joist is exposed at length, is the only time that this can easily be done. So i went outside & asked the contractor. No, he said, he has no intention of reinforcing any support for the joist. This is the problem with today's builders & tradesmen. They just want to do the minimum for max money.

now i'm also concerned that she's planning an even bigger deck, smack up against my back stairs. This would violate the municipal fire code regulations which stipulate that new wooden structures must be kept at least 3 feet away from the property line.

oh, my. If she'd had to get a building permit most of these details would have been considered. She & contractor would have had to submit drawings, plans, even elevations (the muni is fussy.) But the city doesn't know about this secluded backyard caper, so i have no one to turn to.

fortunately she's always been a reasonable & good-hearted person. My plan is to wait & see how it goes. If they start to build something outrageous like the Mother of all Decks only 6 inches from my back door, i'll speak to her or send her an email. Only in a worst, worst, worst case scenario would i finally ratfink to the city building inspectors. Because if i do, down the tubes will go what has been, for years, a decent relationship.

ie i'm willing to go 60 or 70% to maintain a good neighbour. But the things we do for them !
 
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