Yeah, right. In an alternate universe, maybe, but in Ontario, land of the RTA, residential tenancy act, it’s hard for landlords to acquire vacant possession.
On behalf of a coaching client, I recently reached out to Brian Dagenais, founder of Dagenais Properties, and an expert property manager, for his advice on this subject.
Here’s the issue my client wrote to me about:
I wonder if you could provide any suggestions for a problem we have.
A couple started renting one of my townhomes this past summer, and
never paid their full rent. Not once. Now they have arrears of over $6.000.
We got a paralegal agent to help us. We got them to sign a payment plan; however, the plan was ignored.
We finally got an eviction order sent to the tenant ordering them to move out by Dec 14th. Now they are appealing that order.
The couple are very knowledgeable–they know how to take advantage of the residential tenancy act. They have told untruths about everything and, according to our paralegal agent, this couple has done this before.
Do you have any suggestions about how to deal with this situation?
Thanks, Bill (not his real name)
Here’s Brian’s blunt advice:
• You are going to lose money on this event
• The only goal you should have is finding any legal way possible to evict them
• No payment plans, no second or third chances
• You need to hire a tenant board lawyer in my opinion–Michael Thiele is a good one
• You need to have kept or keep very good records–text, email/diary/journal, they’re all fine–never threaten and never use profanity–the rent board hates that
• A lawyer will help you win even a slam dunk case–because this appears to be a slam dunk case yet you haven’t won yet
• The lawyer needs to regularly do tenant/landlord law as it is a special type of law and there’s an art to it…
• You also need to amp up the pressure on the tenant–review the lease–what else are they breaking? Tenant insurance? Proper care and upkeep? Storage of flammables in the basement? Leaking oil onto your driveway from a broken down car?
• You have a legal right to inspect the premises
• I would recommend you get a competent third party to inspect your property as you’re likely emotionally compromised and it will likely only add to your stress if you do it yourself
• Obviously follow your lawyer’s advice, but I would suggest that, since they are depressed and sad and feeling generally blue about their financial situation, you should help them
• In mediation, I would offer to waive the $6,000 they owe you–take a moment and sit down and consider that the odds of you ever collecting that $6,000 is low–probably less than 5%; as such, use that money as leverage–they’re depressed, don’t want to spend money on moving, finances are tight, the stress of repaying $6,000 is causing them anxiety; fine–waive the $6,000 as a condition of termination; make the termination 45 days–until the end of January. Take February to repair your house and put it back on the market for March…
• Remember–a win is getting your home back
• Finally, going forward, always be sure to rent to people that have something to lose
• Keep good records and issue eviction notices reasonably quickly; you can always rescind but the system is weighed against you, you have to work probably twice as hard as your tenant to enforce your rights
Good luck, Brian
I also reached out to Christian Szpilfogel from Aliferous Property Management, https://aliferous.managebuilding.com/Resident/public/home, another expert. Here’s his take–
Eviction for non-payment of rent? There is a wide variance for this and I’m talking about tenants who don’t pay and refuse to leave on their own.
Here is the break down in an ideal situation:
So best possible case is maybe 5-months currently assuming the tenant has to be removed. But you can also see where things may go wrong:
In my experience, most tenants will leave on issuance of the N4 or make things right. And on the other extreme, there are professional tenants who use every trick in the book to delay eviction. And of course, there are those in between. I help a lot of landlords with these kinds of issues.
A key aspect of success is, in fact, to screen the heck out of new tenants. But again, human rights codes throw a few wrenches your way. For example, if your rent is $1,000 a month and the tenant earns $1001/month then you cannot discriminate based on income. #Seriously
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Bruce M Firestone, B Eng (civil), M Eng-Sci, PhD
Real Estate Investment and Business coach
ROYAL LePAGE Performance Realty broker
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