A New Brunswick landlord finds himself advocating for a change in rental laws after tenants wrecked his property in under two months.
According to a news report, the tenants told the sympathetic landlord that they were struggling financially and couldn’t afford to pay a damage deposit. They paid one month’s rent, and then defaulted. After receiving complaints from neighbours, the landlord attempted to contact his tenants, but they avoided the calls. Apparently, they packed up some belongings and headed to Alberta.
Unable to enter the property without proper notice, the landlord was forced to call police to confirm that the home had been abandoned. The property was left unlocked. Food, cigarette butts, and dog waste covered the floors, and the walls and doors were scratched.
Under current tenancy laws, the landlord then was forced to serve notice and provide the tenants the opportunity to clean up the mess and repair the damage before seeking an eviction order to recover the property.
After three weeks of administrative delays, the landlord now faces the daunting task of restoring the property. Still, he’s required to collect and store the tenants’ personal belongings.
The frustration has led this landlord to call for a policy change: the right to immediately evict tenants who are trashing a property. As this landlord points out, it’s highly unlikely tenants who remain three more weeks will fix the damage they’ve already caused, rather than compound it.
Unfortunately, many landlords believe that the eviction process ultimately will save them from bad tenants. But eviction is a remedy of last resort, is difficult to win even in egregious cases, and seldom ends with the landlord being compensated for losses.
According to the report, this landlord learned a lesson: rent with your head, not your heart. That’s good advice.
What can landlords do to avoid this income loss? The answer is to place more focus on tenant screening, and on holding tenants accountable:
Watch for red flags. Tenants like this typically use a sad story to lower the rent or avoid paying deposits. Maybe the stories are false, or maybe these tenants honestly believe that the world owes them a place to live despite a bad rental history. Either way, it’s seldom a risk worth taking.
Tenant screening can be more complicated when a problem tenant moves across country. It’s easier to conceal a prior tenancy gone bad. That’s one of many reasons for running a tenant credit check on an applicant who otherwise appears to be a good prospect. Credit information cannot be manipulated, and eventually the credit report will flag a tenant who does not demonstrate financial responsibility. Both components of tenant screening — credit-worthiness and rental history — are indicators of potential income loss.
A solid tenancy agreement provides authority for the landlord to manage the property. Failure to pay rent is a common reason for eviction, but not the only reason. A landlord may be able to boot a bad tenant for damage to the property, violating pet provisions, disturbances, committing crimes, or for breaking health and safety codes.
Another excellent strategy for holding tenants accountable is to sign up to Report Rent Payments through TVS. Tenants who don’t make regular payments go into a searchable database for other landlords. Also, the information is reported to a credit bureau and included in the tenant’s consumer credit report. Those steps serve as incentive for tenants to pay rent or risk being rejected the next time they apply for rental housing — regardless of where they end up.
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.