Converting your garage into an apartment can be a lucrative move, no question, but there are perks and perils to using part of your home as a rental property. Here are eight things to keep in mind before taking the plunge.

Rental properties: Do it legally, or don’t do it – Just because you have space for a renter doesn’t mean you’re allowed to get one. Some municipalities don’t issue permits for secondary suites. If you build one anyway (there’s always a contractor out there who will do work without permits), and you’re discovered, you can be forced to pay fines and even dismantle the rental property. Fire exits and insurance must be kept up to code as well.

You probably won’t pocket the entire rent – it’s taxable and there are expenses – You’ll need to issue a receipt to your tenants for the rent they pay on their rental property, and they may use it to claim a deduction on their income tax. Even if they don’t, you’re expected to declare the rent as income and pay tax on it accordingly. Tax aside, landlords face other expenses. On average, plan to spend the equivalent of a couple months rent every year on home maintenance and upkeep of the rental property (painting and cleaning services when tenants move out, appliance repairs, and fixture upgrades or replacement).

The space you have might not attract the tenants you want – Especially if you share common areas like a driveway or yard, you want to be extra careful about who you get in there. To preserve your family’s privacy, your rental property might need more than dry wall and a new shower stall. Make sure your electrical service can accommodate more people (you might have to upgrade). Don’t spend lavishly on decor but make sure the apartment is one you would want to live in—that way you’re more likely to land a tenant you want to live with. A subdued colour lets your tenant imagine their own life in the space and is one less thing for them to ask you to contend with before moving in.

Once they’re in, it’s hard to get tenants out – Rules vary across the country, but all renters are protected by provincial legislation and governing bodies, and the requirements for eviction are high for good reason: No one should feel their home could easily be taken away. Tenants can leave before a lease is up (usually by giving two months’ notice), so you want to ask questions to determine that they’re staying a while. Why? The longer you keep a tenant, the cheaper it is for you in the long run: when tenants move out, you need to show the space, get repairs done and wait for the next appropriate candidate. This can take weeks during which you won’t be collecting rent. Remember, too, that you can’t protect yourself from all risk. You can—and should—ask for first and last month’s rent when your tenants move in. You should also know that not all clauses in a lease are binding. For example, if you write into the document that there are to be no pets or children in your building, and your tenant agrees by signing, but later gets a four-legged companion or a bundle of joy anyway, you can’t evict them.

So, before making the decision to be landlord for a property that you own, make sure that you are full aware of the pit falls that can come your way!

To find out more about where you can, as a landlord, be protected; you need to contact the experts in property rentals – The Property Partnership. From leasing to buying, The Property Partnership will be able to assist you. To find out more about the services on offer through The Property Partnership, contact their website