A landlord in Ontario is reeling after he evicted his tenant for failing to pay rent and then found two abandoned dogs and heaps of trash inside the apartment.

According to a news report, the landlord estimates he is out $20,000 in lost rent and property damage. The cabinets were broken and, along with animal waste, the property was littered with syringes. Two large, starving dogs were rescued by animal control. To add insult to injury, the landlord was picking fleas off his legs as he walked from room to room.

Now, the landlord says he is forced to borrow money from his family to get the property — one of two units this landlord owns — back in service again, according to the report.

Eviction a Costly Option

Evicting a bad tenant is seldom cost-effective. Even in the best case, a landlord easily will lose two or more additional months of rent while waiting for the hearing, the appeals periods, and the sheriff to execute the eviction order. In many cases, the wait is much longer. Meanwhile, the tenant lives rent-free and trashes the property while the landlord has little hope of recovering the losses. That’s why vigilant tenant screening is so important to landlords.

Screening Tenants in 3-D

A tenant may have excellent credit and still be high-risk due to a bad rental history — wild parties, property damage. A tenant with average credit can be low-risk where the person has an excellent rent payment history and cares for the home. A renter on government assistance and one with a full-time job are equally reliable. It depends on the person. Tenant screening requires a multidimensional view. Each bit of information obtained sheds light on the applicant from a slightly different angle, and no one factor governs. It’s the totality of circumstances that determines the level of risk.

Landlords should focus on applicants with verifiable income, a history of paying rent on time each month, a sense of financial obligation with revolving credit, and no history of property damage. Look at a photo ID, demand a fully completed rental application along with supplemental documentation, and verify the information independently, including calling references. Then, run a tenant credit check for an objective view of the tenant’s willingness to meet the demands of the tenancy agreement.

Consequences Key to Avoiding Income Loss

Not every nightmare tenancy can be avoided but providing consequences can force some problem tenants to rethink their exit strategy. Signing up to Report Rent Payments monthly will give a bad tenant cause to reconsider skipping out on rent or leaving behind a costly mess for fear that, one day, the tenant may not qualify for rental housing.

Landlord Credit Bureau maintains a database of information on both high-risk and low-risk tenants. By reporting rent history and property damage, landlords create consequences for bad tenants who seek rental housing in the future, and reward tenants who pay on time.

Move quickly at the first sign of trouble. Consider legal options, but do not wait to act. Bargaining with a bad tenant may only delay the inevitable and increase income loss.

This post is provided by Tenant Verification Service, Inc., helping landlords reduce the risks of renting with fraud prevention tools that include Tenant Screening, Tenant Background Checks, (U.S. and Canada), as well as Criminal Background Checks, and Eviction Reports (U.S. only).

Click Here to Receive Landlord Credit Reports.

Disclaimer: The information provided in this post is not intended to be construed as legal advice, nor should it be considered a substitute for obtaining individual legal counsel or consulting your local, state, federal or provincial tenancy laws.

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A rental applicant who offers to pay in cash may seem like the dream tenant. No worries over bounced cheques. In reality, cash payments are a red flag. Rather than streamlining the leasing process, a landlord needs to use extra vigilance when screening these applicants.

Here are four reasons to scrutinize tenants who offer to pay in cash:

1. A common reason that tenants offer cash is that they have bad credit. Offering to pay in cash — especially paying in advance — earns that applicant a pass on a tenant credit check. The landlord won’t know this person’s true financial situation for several weeks — and by then it’s too late to avoid income loss. If this person is not relying on continuing income or investments to pay rent, what happens when the cash runs out?

2. There is no good way to verify whether the cash the tenant is offering was obtained legally or whether the tenant has legal income. Offering cash is the calling card of a tenant who is involved in criminal activity or running a scam. That puts the property — and the landlord — at risk.

3. Accepting cash eliminates the ability to see information on cheques — address, phone, bank — that may not mesh with the photo ID, rental application, or previous cheques.

4. Handling cash creates unnecessary risks and attracts crime. Leasing agents who accept cash payments need to take special precautions to avoid being targeted by thieves. This can increase a landlord’s costs. Renters who pay cash may suffer the same risks. Accepting cash also exposes the landlord to false claims that the rent was paid.

While there are tenants who may rely on savings or choose not to use banks, these cases are outside the mainstream and a landlord must exercise due diligence to avoid scammers. For instance, if the person is claiming to be so wealthy they carry that kind of cash in their wallet, does it make sense that they’d be renting the specific property? Can they provide any proof of funds along with a photo ID? Does that information track with the tenant credit check?

An applicant who has sufficient income to pay rent is going to be able to substantiate that with documentation, whether it’s a letter outlining benefits from government assistance, pay stubs, automatic deposit records, trust disbursement records, or a savings account statement. Anyone who can’t provide a paper trail likely is telling stories.

That’s why it’s crucial to run a tenant credit check on the final applicant after the information in the rental application has been verified. Otherwise, it may not be possible to catch someone who is using a fake identity or misstating income. Even a seemingly wealthy applicant may have a history of not paying bills on time. The risk of tenant fraud is too great to take someone’s word for it.

This post is provided by Tenant Verification Service, Inc., helping landlords reduce the risks of renting with fraud prevention tools that include Tenant Screening, Tenant Background Checks, (U.S. and Canada), as well as Criminal Background Checks, and Eviction Reports (U.S. only).

Click Here to Receive Landlord Credit Reports.

Disclaimer: The information provided in this post is not intended to be construed as legal advice, nor should it be considered a substitute for obtaining individual legal counsel or consulting your local, state, federal or provincial tenancy laws.

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Why Standard Tenancy Agreements Fall Short

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The idea of a standard one-size-fits-all rental lease is appealing in theory, but it rarely works out that way in practice. Simply stated, standard leases are too generic to do the job. Another flaw in some standard tenancy agreements is an underlying misconception that a lease is about protecting tenants from unscrupulous landlords and must […]

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Lawmakers Blame Tenant Screening for Lack of Housing

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Tenants Want Landlords to Report Rent Payments

July 22, 2019

The ability to report rent payments each month to a credit bureau is a significant breakthrough for landlords in the battle for on-time rent. Before that service became available, landlords were the most likely creditors to be ignored. A new survey points to another compelling reason landlords should report rent payments: tenants want them to. […]

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Facebook Rental Ads Under Scrutiny in Canada

July 22, 2019

The Canadian Human Rights Commission and the Ontario Human Rights Commission are expressing concern that rental ads placed on Facebook Canada potentially are discriminatory. The concern was triggered by a lawsuit filed in the U.S. against Facebook alleging that its rental housing platform allows — and even encourages — discrimination. The lawsuit was brought by […]

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