3 Things Landlords Need to Know About Evictions

by Chris on May 21, 2018

Some landlords rely on eviction laws as a safety net to stave off income loss. Unfortunately, that net is full of holes:

Not every problem tenant can be evicted.

A British Columbia landlord recently discovered that she could not quickly evict a tenant for paying late and living in filth. Despite the headaches and stress associated with problem tenants, eviction is not available in every situation. The tenancy laws set forth very specific reasons for a tenant to be evicted, and tribunals do everything possible to salvage the tenancy, despite the landlord’s objections.

Evictions take a lot of time.

Even in cases where the landlord is likely to win an eviction, the process still takes time. And time is money when it comes to rental properties that are being damaged or not producing due to a bad tenant.

Although the laws on the books might provide for a quick resolution — Newfoundland, for example, is moving to expedite evictions when the tenant renders the property uninhabitable — the process for most landlords is painfully slow. A landlord will need to prepare and serve notice, wait for the notice period to expire, and then proceed to a hearing. Hearings can be delayed by the tenants, or the case may be dismissed when the tenant pays rent at the last minute. Later, the tenant defaults again and the process repeats. Meanwhile, the disgruntled tenant remains in the property and is more likely to cause further damage.

Eviction rights do not prevent property damage or income loss.

Nothing in the eviction statutes prevents the tenant from paying late, not paying, or damaging the property. In fact, tenants who are familiar with all the protections and loopholes provided will feel emboldened to game the system.

To prevent income loss, tenants need to be held accountable for their actions. That doesn’t come from eviction laws. Only when bad tenants are staying in a hotel or sleeping on someone else’s couch will they realize the consequences of their actions.

The best way to prevent income loss is to act as though eviction is not an option. At best, it’s a last resort. To avoid evictions, consider these strategies:

Before renting to the next tenant, take the time to read through the tenancy laws in your province or consult with a landlord attorney. Understanding what the process is like can serve as incentive for landlords to adopt a stringent tenant screening policy.

Screen tenants based on financial responsibility and past rental history. A tenant credit check can flag a tenant who pays bills late. That’s an indication of a tenant who likely will pay the rent only after paying other, more pressing, obligations. Speak with the previous landlords to determine if the tenant takes a tenancy agreement seriously. This is a crucial step in tenant screening that, unfortunately, if often overlooked.

Hold tenants accountable for rent payments from day one by signing up to Report Rent Payments through TVS and Landlord Credit Bureau. Include the Notice to Tenant in the tenancy agreement. Tenants who realize that late payments will be tracked and reported to a credit bureau are not as cavalier about dragging out rent payments over weeks or damaging the property.

Keep close tabs on the tenant. Don’t overlook breaches of the tenancy agreement, especially for unpaid rent. Give an inch, and you’ll lose a mile.

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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