This happens. You get 2 names on the lease and 8 people move in. Or the owner sublets.
The worst case of this I’ve ever heard of involved a property management company in Maple Ridge. This was one of the less reputable property management companies and they did absolutely no vetting of the individual before she moved in. She was eventually evicted by the city. While there, she managed to destroy the inside of the building, put locks on individual bedrooms and sublet to transient subtenants, and turned the yard into a garbage dump (which is why the city moved in). Of course, the neighbours were fit to be tied. She hadn’t been paying rent. There was a significant cost to the owner. He actually sued the property management company, and won the case.
Normally the cases aren’t this bad. But how do you stay on top of it?
Check references. If you find out that the entire clan was living at the last place, you have warnings.
If internet searches imply that they are living together, take that into consideration.
Inspections are also good. When inspecting, look at the furniture. Is it consistent with the number of people who are supposed to be in the place?
The neighbours, again, can provide very good feedback.
Make absolutely sure that you specify, on your lease, what qualifies as a visitor, and what qualifies as an occupant. You don’t want any tenants on your property without vetting them. Maybe the person who you vetted is as clean as a whistle, but his or her friend is bad news.
Check out this page for our hint on checking out whether a potential tenant is tidy. How are they dressed? Another trick? Their boots. Did they take off their boots? If they took off their boots (or shoes) did they leave them where they might be tripped over or did they arrange the neatly out of harms way? And, ask references. Especially former landlords and current and former employers.
Messy is subjective. You can’t necessarily evict a person because they are a slob. Typically the point where you can start taking action is when the mess is causing damage to your property, or when other tenant’s ability to enjoy their home is compromised. Different rules apply in different provinces so make sure that you know your law.
In all of these cases, the best way to win is not to play. It’s not terribly difficult to avoid these situations (although there is no absolute guarantee of avoidance) but if you follow these rules you’ll reduce your risks tremendously.
For some people, finding good tenants is to stressful, or too time consuming. This doesn’t mean they shouldn’t invest. It means they should outsource this part of the process to an expert. And you do have choices. You can use a property management company if you want all of your management taken care of. Or you can choose us if all you want is someone to get that tenant into your home for you, and then you’ll take it from there.
Stay tuned. We’ll be continuing our tax series next.