Tenant Trashes Unit, Wants Deposit Back

by Chris on September 16, 2019

A Vancouver landlord recently detailed in the news how he found his rental unit after his disgruntled tenant moved out: cement in the drains, toilet, and appliances, holes in the walls, the dryer door glued shut, and the key glued into the lock.

Only three weeks into the tenancy, the landlord discovered the tenant, who at first seemed “like a good person”, broke the no-pets policy in the tenancy agreement by getting a dog — one that would not stop barking. The landlord says he gave the tenant the option of finding a pet-friendly property or another home for the dog.

The tenant agreed to move but wanted her deposit back before the landlord had a chance to inspect the property, according to the report. When the tenant left, the landlord discovered the damage.

There’s little a landlord can do when a tenant is willing to intentionally damage a property. However, there is a way to avoid bad tenants who have caused problems in the past, and prevent a repeat performance. The trick is to take a more diligent approach to tenant screening.

In a perfect world, a landlord could run a report and find out everything they need to know about an applicant: Was the person evicted, or evicted numerous times? Did this tenant cause significant property damage or disturbances? Unfortunately, finding the answers is not that easy. Even if there was such a report, there always will be cases where the tenant moves before any record of the dispute is created.

But prior eviction and property damage can be exposed. The best way is to ask for previous addresses in the rental application, including the dates those tenancies began and ended. Then, check to see if the dates add up. Does the tenant move frequently or at odd intervals? Did the applicant leave off the previous landlord’s name? These are warning signs.

Verify the dates of previous tenancies by asking the landlord to confirm when the tenant moved in and when he or she moved out. Be concerned if the information does not track or if gaps between tenancies are revealed. That could highlight a failed tenancy that the applicant is not reporting.

Look for warning signs that the tenant is in trouble: eager to move in on the spot or trashing the current landlord. Other red flags include offering cash on the spot to avoid a tenant background check.

Before agreeing to meet with an applicant, ask why this person is moving, and whether he or she has provided notice. Warn applicants that landlord references will be checked. That can discourage a problem tenant from applying.

Be skeptical of rental applicants. Each applicant is a stranger until vetted. A pleasant demeanor is not an indicator of financial responsibility or of respect for the landlord.

Not all landlords want to pursue bad tenants. That’s their prerogative. But allowing a tenant to cause damage or skip out on rent without consequences only emboldens the tenant to do it again — and again. Landlords have an option to work together to stave off bad tenants: sign up to Report Rent Payments, and expand the database provided by Landlord Credit Bureau. At some point, chronically bad tenants may realize they are running out of housing options, and that’s good incentive to do better.

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.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Ted Bugg September 17, 2019 at 6:18 am

“There‚Äôs little a landlord can do when a tenant is willing to intentionally damage a property”, Would someone please explain why the police don’t get involved, why these people cannot be charged.

Gargan Gargan September 17, 2019 at 10:19 pm

Exactly, i would expect prison would be the best option for these idiots.
If they want to play hardball, they need to be hit with the consequences.
Attach a criminal record to their name, that’s only fair.
As far as I’m concerned, they can live on the street.

Pamela Pothof September 18, 2019 at 7:09 am

These types of the tenant.
Could be a direct hit on all the landlords that allow your bathtub to be filled with human faeces
From sewer back up.
Or maybe EHO failed to comply with there own notices for 27 months.
Or no heat water stove .
Or maybe the RTDRS .
Fails to comply with there own code of conduct.
Or a landlord that allows a man to lay in his urine for 9 days .
2 degree burns that I called 911 on.
What about all tenants that get destroyed by the landlords. Etc

Marv Steier September 19, 2019 at 3:02 pm

First…Ted. Yes they should be charged. How do you prove it was them without witnesses? Therein lies the problem. Sue them? Sure! Do they have a job? More problems, hassles and waste of time. At the very least however, you should make a report to the Police complete with tenant name, DOB, address and circumstances. Even if they refuse to investigate, they should take the report. How does this help you? It won’t, but if there is a similar circumstance it might help someone else. If they apply for a job that requires a criminal record search, this information may be found in the indices of the BC Police Departments.
Pamela… http://www.tenantsinfo.com refers to landlord and tenant Rights & Responsibilities. There are landlords who don’t adhere to their responsibilities like tenants don’t adhere to their responsibilities. Fortunately those are few and far between, like bad tenants are few and far between. As a tenant you should also do some background screening on a prospective landlord. https://www.landlordcreditbureau.ca/things-tenant-should-look-lease-agreement.html this page will give you some tips and advice.

Landlords can report rent payments to http://www.landlordcreditbureau.ca Shortly they will be reported to Equifax Canada. Damage to rental property can be reported when rent report is closed. If you wish further information, email me [email protected]

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