A retired British Columbia couple in their seventies shared their frustration after their tenants disappeared during the province’s eviction moratorium, leaving the fixed-income landlords with over $4,500 in unpaid rent.
To add insult to injury, at least one of the tenants was receiving benefits, but failed to apply any of that money to rent. Now that the eviction ban is lifted, the landlords were able to obtain a monetary judgement. But the tenants are nowhere to be found, and the landlords hold out little hope of recovering the loss.
The landlords describe the government’s action in halting evictions for nonpayment of rent for months a legislated form of theft, according to a news report.
In another recent eviction case, the landlord was awarded over $18,000 in unpaid rent — nearly 10 months’ worth — against a tenant who stopped paying three months before the pandemic. Whether the tenants can pay the outstanding judgement is yet to be seen.
Another landlord failed to obtain an order for possession or a monetary award after her tenants defaulted during the eviction moratorium. The landlord received a rent supplement of $500 for three months, but the tenants failed to pay any of the remaining balance on their $3,400 monthly rental during this time. The tenants since resumed making payments and remain in the unit. Because the landlord could not produce satisfactory proof that she had reached a formal repayment agreement with the tenants, the case was dismissed.
It’s clear that the intent behind the eviction moratoriums across the country was to lessen the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Unfortunately, by passing sweeping temporary orders like the freeze on evictions, landlords were forced to shoulder most of the financial burden, along with the administrative responsibility of working out repayment plans.
Most tenants did make payments and continue to do their best. While that’s little consolation for those who are owed thousands in back rent, it does provide reason to expect that the next tenants will do better. But a temporary eviction ban highlights the need to restore tenant accountability — something the emergency orders took away — so that tenants pay their fair share.
Maintain accountability with your next tenants:
Speak to the previous landlord to get a sense of the applicant’s rental history. Only work with tenants with a good rental history or those who did their best to work out issues with their current landlord.
Choose tenants with good credit. This is one of the best indicators of a person who takes responsibility for their finances and pays their debts.
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).
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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.