Frustrated Landlord Calls for Bad Tenant Registry

by Chris on February 28, 2011

Lack of Eviction, Criminal Records Costing Landlords

After a drug-dealing tenant trashed his rental property, a Saint John landlord is calling for a registry of bad tenants. 

The man told CBC News that he was in the process of evicting the tenant over criminal activities when the tenant decided to retaliate.  The damage–including leaving the water running, cost $20,000. Now, this landlord wants to form an association with others and compile a database of tenants who should be avoided.

In 2009, Ontario Eviction Specialist April Stewart created such a database after she witnessed the same tenants going through multiple evictions.  Because tenant names in eviction cases are protected from public disclosure, she was told she would have to shut it down.

New Brunswick recently passed the Safer Communities and Neighbourhoods Act which is supposed to make it easier for landlords to evict tenants who engage in criminal activities. Unfortunately, the Act does little to help landlords avoid renting to high-risk applicants in the first place by providing better access to tenant screening reports— and it does little to prevent property damages by tenants in the process of eviction. 

Where tenant eviction records are not available for public viewing, it is harder for landlords to conduct a thorough tenant background check to avoid income loss from bad tenants. But there are still a few steps a landlord can take to avoid costly mistakes:

It is always a good idea to request a tenant credit report.  While this report will give a landlord an overall view of credit history, it may also reveal some problems with rental history.  For instance, a judgment may appear for damages to a rental unit, or a previous address may come up that is not listed in the rental application.  If the person has little credit, significant assets, and no employer listed, it is possible they have a “cash” business, which could be illegal.

Make sure the applicant completes the entire application, and look for contradictions and  inconsistencies, especially with dates that don’t add up.

It is also very important to speak with the previous landlord whenever possible and learn about an applicant’s rental history.

Problem tenants look for landlords who won’t give them much trouble.  When a landlord advertises that a tenant background check  and references are required, that may discourage applicants with bad intentions. 

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.

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Dennis March 3, 2011 at 8:25 am

I looked into setting up such a data base in Calgary, but was told not to go ahead.
As some tenants could contest it in court.
You have tenants making the rounds with no accountability.
There’s nothing stopping me starting a private registry among my fellow Landlords.

Roger March 6, 2011 at 11:12 am

Add my name in the support of such a registry. Touch wood, I do not have any problem tenants at the moment; however, it’s galling to me that people are allowed to go around and be ‘professional shysters’ – never paying rent and be continually evicted from rental to rental. We must find a way to cut these people off at the knees, and stop being a drag on society. They have too much protection, where’s our protection?

Bob Pluss March 7, 2011 at 9:30 am

A bad tenant registry would be a great idea. And thanks for some great tips on what to look for when screening tenants.

Bridgette March 8, 2011 at 1:48 pm

Well that’s why we have TVS!!! I love this program and it makes it so very easy to get the facts on tenants. Also, I check the local court dockets on all potential tenants for any and all criminal background, this is public information that most counties have on line. If TVS provides former addresses in other counties and states, I check those counties and states for their criminal and municipal records as well. Then I call every reference they provide on my applications. You’d be surprised at some of the response you can get from these random calls. Of course nothing a fail safe, but bless God, I’ve been pretty blessed thus far! Hope this helps someone. And I’m sure TVS will let me know if anything I am doing is incorrect or hazardous to my rental business :-).

Caryn October 26, 2012 at 4:42 am

It would be fantastic to have a register to check for references. I recently had my house destroyed by tenants, this after I spent a fortune renovating it prior to them moving in. We ended up going to court. I recovered some of the costs for the damages, but not all, and definately nothing to compensate for the heartache witnessing the tenants utter disregard for my property. Unfortunately criminal and credit checks are costly and take time.

Chris October 29, 2012 at 9:06 am

Hi Caryn,
I agree that a registry would be a great asset for landlords, but keep in mind that criminal, eviction and credit checks may be the only way to avoid significant income loss from bad tenants. In addition, be sure to speak with the previous landlords before choosing a tenant. Check your local laws to see if you have the right to charge the tenant the cost of tenant screening.

Trang February 20, 2014 at 9:14 am

Has this registry for a calgary data base of bad tenants for landlords started?? I’ve just dealt the worst tenants. they destroyed my house, owe me $6000 in rent, left me two dump trucks full of garbage. and told me i can’t do anything to them. please help….!! i should’ve kicked them out long ago but i kept feeling sorry for them cause they are a young family with 3 children. and now i’m paying the price for being too nice. i am a single mom of two going through a divorce and now have to deal with this deadbeat

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