Income Suite Must-Haves: What Renters Are Looking For

November 19, 2018

Income Suite Must-Haves: What Renters Are Looking For Featured Image

Since Canada’s new mortgage rules allow you to include income earned from an income suite to qualify for your mortgage, it’s never been easier to get into the home of your dreams. At Sterling, we’re prepared to include an income suite with the build of your new home, and grant money through the Cornerstones program will make it even more affordable to do this.

This means you’ll want a rental unit that attracts renters. We’ve put together a list of some of the things most renters are looking for in a home. If you include these things in the build of your income suite, you stand a good chance of getting someone in there soon after you move in.


There’s no doubt convenience is one of the most important things to renters. It’s the reason why rental prices in a downtown area are sky high while those further out in the suburbs tend to be lower. This doesn’t necessarily mean you need to have a place downtown to attract the best renters. However, you should think about convenience when you choose a community to build your home. Is it close to necessary amenities like grocery stores and banks? Can you easily get onto the Anthony Henday or other major transportation routes? If so, you’ve got a winner. Luckily, this will make your home a better place for you to live as well.

Green Spaces

Even though people want the convenience of living in a city, they still want to be close to some green spaces. One of the biggest advantages of owning your own home is having a backyard for parties. Are you willing to share your backyard with your renter? If not, are there open green spaces in the neighbourhood everyone shares? Is there a large park nearby? These things could make your rental suite more attractive to anyone.


You’ll also want to think about where your renter will park. You won’t have a large parking garage like an apartment complex would have, so you’ll probably have to share your driveway. Will you also share a spot in your garage? It may be worth including a three-car garage in the design of your home to accommodate your renter.

Income Suite Must-Haves: What Renters Are Looking For Kitchen Image

A Modern Look

Let’s face it. Expectations are pretty low when it comes to the interior look of an apartment. Everyone knows there are landlords who simply try to meet the basic requirements for income suites and cut design corners to save money upfront. You have an opportunity to buck those trends. If you’re installing quartz countertops and a tile backsplash in your kitchen, it won’t cost a lot more to include those things in your income suite as well. Even things like painting the walls a neutral colour other than white can make your unit stand out, and you’ll probably be able to charge higher rent than someone who opts for a bare-bones design. 


Think carefully about how you’ll handle utilities. For everyone’s protection, you should install separate meters for electricity and gas. This way, neither you nor your renter has bad feelings about the temperature reading of the thermostat. However, you might want to include things like garbage disposal or snow removal as part of the rent. This could make a big difference in someone’s decision.

Income Suite Must-Haves: What Renters Are Looking For Light Image


People like homes that are bright and airy. They want a home that gets a lot of natural light. This is sometimes hard to achieve when you’re adding an income suite in the basement or on top of the garage because the windows might not be as large as the ones you’d find in the rest of the home. Choosing lighter colours for cabinetry and the walls can help brighten the space up, but lighting choices can have a big impact as well. Talk over your options carefully with the Area Manager to see what would be best for your home and its position within the community.


Landlords don’t always have the best reputation. You’re in a unique position because you’ll be living very close to your tenant. If either of you has a problem with the other, it will make for some uncomfortable encounters. This can make tenants wary. As you show off your rental unit to potential renters, make sure you’re friendly and open. Give them a sense of what it will be like to live near you. If they like what they see in you, they’ll like what they see in your suite.

Income suites are a great way to build up your equity more quickly but don’t discount the importance of designing a place people like. The more attractive your rental unit is, the more money you can get.

Click here for your free guide to getting the perfect home! 

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