A landlord in Calgary is out $8,000 after trying to give her tenant, a single mom, a break.
Now, the landlord is just hoping she can collect some of what she is owed.
These cases, profiled in a recent story by CBC News, resemble the 8,000 others heard in Alberta last year. While officials say that the dispute resolution system works, they agree there is always room for improvement.
Still, landlords feel the system is stacked against them, and tenants quickly learn how to play that to their advantage.
Landlord Bill Biko has been through it all, and now offers tips and resources to other landlords in Alberta in order to help them survive the eviction process. “It’s a recurring theme, but the majority of landlords who contact me with problem tenants have given tenants the benefit of the doubt and at least one break if not more. If you are a relatively new landlord, this is the quickest path you can take to wanting out of the landlording business,” he explains.
Bill’s suggestion is to, at the very minimum, give bad tenants notice at the first sign of trouble. “Filing an eviction will cost you $75 in Alberta, and take several hours of your time, but if the tenant does come through and pays you when they said they would, you can simply cancel the hearing. You are out $75 and some time.”
That’s a far cry from losing $8,000.
“If they don’t pay you, now you still have to go through the process, you are a week behind and you still don’t have any rent money from them.” Bill continues. “By showing you are serious and acting swiftly you set the precedent. Be fair, but be firm!”
Landlords can take additional steps to help reduce the income loss that stems from an eviction:
Properly document all aspects of the tenancy in order to prove the case against the tenant. A landlord in British Columbia recently lost his bid for a monetary award against a problem tenant who damaged the rental unit. While the dispute resolution officer agreed that the tenant did cause considerable damage, the landlord could not recover a dime because the landlord’s itemization of damages was not substantiated by receipts.
It is also crucial to hold bad tenants accountable and take steps to collect what is owed. Otherwise, the tenants will take advantage of the next landlord, and the next. TVS members can report tenant pay habits each month. This serves as an incentive to tenants who don’t want to tarnish their rental history.
If the next landlord checks past landlord references and runs a credit report, this will minimize the likelihood of inheriting someone else’s problem tenant.
And that can save a landlord a lot of money.
Bill Biko is an experienced landlord dedicated to helping other landlords understand the eviction process in Alberta. Visit his website, http://www.albertaeviction.com/, for more information, including the Alberta Landlord Eviction Guide, eviction notice forms, and tips.
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Disclaimer: The information provided in this post in 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.