The announcement that British Columbia is doubling the filing fee required to evict a bad tenant underscores a simple truth: Eviction is expensive.
It’s not just the administrative fees. Evictions take time and that means lost rent. Disgruntled tenants are more likely to cause damage to the property. That’s not to mention the stress of preparing for and sitting through dispute resolution.
Avoidance is the better strategy. Here are some ways to make that happen:
Taking the time to screen tenants is by far the easiest way to avoid the hassle of evicting a bad tenant. The key is to have a tenant screening policy in place before you advertise the vacancy.
This protocol must include asking for a completed rental application. That information is crucial for determining whether the applicant in qualified for the specific rental property.
Income qualifiers, as well as personal preferences such as pets or smoking will dictate which applications move forward.
Once a qualified applicant is chosen, a tenant background check will reveal if the information provided is accurate and complete. A tenant credit check can provide confirmation that the applicant is financially responsible. To further determine tenant-worthiness, contact the references provided, especially previous and current landlords, to determine if the prospect has a good rental history.
Report Tenant Pay Habits
Once you’ve landed a qualified tenant, keep them honest by signing up to Report Tenant Pay Habits. This system rewards good tenants who pay on time by providing a Certificate of Satisfactory Tenancy to show the next landlord. Protecting good credit and rental history is a strong incentive.
Chronic late rent is a common reasons for evicting tenants, but the lease agreement alone may not guarantee an on-time payment record. A tenant who is signed up to Report Tenant Pay Habits will be more diligent about on-time rent payments. The knowledge that a late payment will be recorded provides that extra incentive.
Keep Up With Repairs
There are several reasons for landlords to keep the rental property in good repair. For instance, clean and well-kept properties attract the best tenants, and that staves off evictions. Also, tenants who become frustrated with the condition of the property are more likely to pay late, default, break the lease or ask for compensation.
In the event you do have to file for eviction, be prepared for the tenant to raise the issue. If the property is in poor condition, the tenant may win a reprieve, or even end up with some of your money.
Learn to Talk to Your Tenants
A successful rental business relies on the ability to build relationships. That’s not to say that tenants become your friends, but like all relationships, there needs to be strong communication.
Tenants cannot be reluctant to speak to their landlord, especially when it is to report damage or another tenant who is misbehaving. Those who feel they are ignored or not wanted will prepare their exit strategy. Once tenants are in that state of mind, they are far less likely to pay rent on time — if at all — or to care for the rental property.
Be professional, firm, but kind so that tenants are comfortable. You took the time to find the right tenants. Don’t discourage those individuals through tense interactions or apathy. Not only is a good relationship less stressful, it makes good business sense.
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 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.