Bad Tenants Choose Paying Rent Over Going to Jail

by Chris on July 21, 2014

tenant screeningTwo tenants who have been subject to eight eviction actions have now paid $6,000 to a previous landlord in British Columbia to avoid going to jail.

The duo’s extensive eviction history was exposed by CBC news this year. Reporters calculate that the couple generated $39,650 in lost rent, fees, and costs to the eight landlords, and that they have lived rent free since July 2012.

The current landlord lost her bid to evict the couple, citing a technicality in dispute resolution. It appears the tenants may have thwarted the eviction attempt by making a rent payment.

But the previous landlord was successful when she pursued the pair in court to collect $7,900 in lost rent and costs. A judge ordered the tenants to pay the remaining $6,000 by June 9, or face time in jail. CBC reports that the couple came up with the money by the deadline.

Several landlords claimed that the tenants know the dispute resolution rules better than the landlords.

While serial bad tenants are rare, the damage they inflict is extensive, so it pays to be vigilant:

1. Avoid renting to tenants based on stories they tell about their background or circumstances. Take note of what they say, and compare that to what’s on the rental application, and what you see in tenant screening reports like a credit report.

2. Advertise that you require tenant background checks to deter those tenants who know they won’t pass.

3. Don’t allow an applicant to pressure you into breaking your tenant screening protocol, like renting to an applicant on the spot because they will pay cash, or because they need a place to stay immediately. Those are both trademarks of a problem tenant.

4. Verify the person’s identity. Some tenants assume fictitious names or steal another person’s identity to avoid tenant background checks.

5. Always run a credit check on an applicant, even when they seem like the ideal tenant. This report can expose everything from unpaid rent to undisclosed addresses, to stolen identity.

6. Don’t rent to an applicant until you speak with previous landlords to verify the person’s rental history.

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 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.

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