Apartment by Gareth Saunders
Since Max Weber’s times, renting has always been considered one of the best economic activities you can do. In today’s more complicated world, landlords and tenants have many different rights to protect them. They generally work well until someone starts to use them to his advantage. Let’s take a look at the tenant-landlord relationship from the latter’s point of view.
I rented my property to a tenant that refuses to pay or to move out
For those of us us who stay in the business a long time, this is quite a common story. The tenant convinces you to accept him, then he moves into your property and immediately stops paying the rent. He also has the contract so he is legally protected.
What does this mean to you as a landlord?
That you are in the weak position and it will take months get rid of him.
How to deal with this type of situation?
Money by Images of Money
I agree with those who are in favour of the cash for keys strategy. It can be the easiest and fastest way to have your property empty again. But it demands something very difficult: accepting that you have been conned and you have very little possibility for retribution. The principle is quite simple. You offer the tenant cash (for example one month’s rent) in exchange for him leaving your property immediately.
From the tenant’s point of view, he enters a different process of decision making, when he is confronted with a lose-win strategy. Accepting your money in exchange for moving out is the winning scenario for him. You will not sue him, and he will get some cash. In the lose scenario, he would decide to stay in your property, you sue him and he will be kicked out in the end. And of course: no cash involved for him.
What is in it for you if you decide to give him cash?
First it will save you time. Second, it will probably save you money. Imagine the whole process of dealing with your tenant. It starts with filling in the Notice to Quit signed in front of the Commissioner or Notary Public. Then you have to wait and if he does not respond you send a Demand for Compliance or Possession, signed again in front of the Commissioner or Notary Public. You must also consult the Compliance or Possession with your lawyer, because if you do not do so and you entitle the tenant to leave in a shorter time than is his legal right, he can attack you in court. In an average case, the return date would be six days later. If the tenant does not respond, he can be evicted in ten days. If he does respond, then the court gives a date where it decides about the next proceedings. The tenant can be forced to leave in five days with an execution notice or he can be given another three months to stay (when he pays his due rent). If you want precise information about Ontario Laws, visit the Ontario Document Centre, where you can also find additional information about other tenant/landlord problems.
What else problems could you possibly have?
1. It would be of no surprise if you were conned by a professional. The Internet is full of stories from landlords who accepted half of the rent in advance and never saw the rest of it, while new tenants moved in and stayed for many months without paying a single month’s rent.
Tap by Jacob Bøtter
2. There can be problems with the damage to the interiors of your property. An angry tenant who has been expelled is able to do many things. Accidents also happen. Water leaks, broken heatings, damaged floor, and many other possible problems can turn irresponsible tenant into your enemy, refusing to pay anything or defending himself with the claim that the damage was done before he had moved in.
3. You rent a place to one family and soon after more families move in. In the end, you have to deal with all kinds of complaints from neighbours about problems with your new tenants. You can also be forced to deal with a person that is behaving aggressively and is threatening everyone. You can feel really uncomfortable with this situation.
Cash for keys should resolve your problems with tenants who are reasonable and don’t want to have additional problems. It can be a humiliating experience for you, but the pros are obviously higher than the cons. To avoid the situation coming this far, I will try to give you some basic advice.
First step to success: find reliable tenants
I can not stress enough how important the initial search for a new tenant is. Do not underestimate this part and be ready to do some investigation by yourself. The best recommendation for renters without any previous experience is to ask your real estate agent for assistance. They should be able to give you a hand. Finding the right person with a stable income and a good record is the best deal you can make.
Don’t fool yourself: you know the person who wants to rent your property. Do not accept any kind of promises, especially about payments. It would be you who would lose money in the end. Make the deal clear. If your property is equipped with furniture and electronic devices, ask him for two to three months’ rent in advance. If the property is completely empty, one month’s rent should cover it all for you.
Be Fair but Be Hard!
You can always avoid the majority of problems. But it can be difficult and a certain level of experience with people is needed. How should you deal with an unknown person who wants to rent your property? Ask for the ID and previous landlord references. If the person cannot provide any, tell them to pay more in advance to protect your interests. You have the keys and you have the right to decide.
Damages by Herman Yung
Ask them, whether they are satisfied with the property as it is. If they say no, they should be able to name the changes they want. Warn them that any inappropriate changes would lead to the end of the contract between you. I have witnessed many cases where the new tenant repainted all the walls in the apartment with crazy colours like deep purple and pink and then moved out after four months without paying a single month’s rent.
Try to avoid accepting the rent in cash. If you do so, you expose yourself to the risk that one month the tenant could say she already paid you and you do not remember it. Keep records on all financial operations connected with your property. People are smart enough to figure out how to cheat you. One example is the cheque bouncing and cancelling monthly money orders. You should be prepared for any type of excuse.