When it comes to rental property management, a bad tenant is every landlord’s worst nightmare. And, unfortunately the laws of Ontario do not always work in favour of the landlord. There have been many instances where tenants have gotten off scot-free without having to pay a cent. Bad tenants are even known to abandon properties leaving the landlord to deal with major repairs and monumental move out costs. While there is no ideal solution for this problem, there are a few guidelines that a landlord can follow to help minimize the risk of acquiring a bad tenant(s).
Rental Property Management: How to Minimize the Risk of Bad Tenants:
Tenant screening, credit and reference checks are both critical and necessary steps in avoiding these bad tenants. Contact at least two or three past landlords, and pay close attention to any complaints. Make sure to obtain an employment letter and proof of income. Lookout for any evictions, criminal convictions and legal incidents, which are all red flags.
Tenancy Agreement or Lease
Having a well-documented lease agreement is mutually beneficial as it clearly outlines the requirements of both parties and will certainly help if you end up in court.
This is not negotiable as it helps to protect the landlord if there are any damages to the property at the end of the tenancy.
This should be clearly stipulated and documented in the lease agreement, for example, routine inspections will be conducted quarterly. This will help to prevent that there are major surprises in regard to maintenance issues or repairs. There should also be a move-in inspection as this allows for the tenant and the landlord to go through the property and assess whether there are any pre-existing damages, and to make a note of it. Any new damages that are not part of the normal wear-and-tear after the lease agreement is finished, will be the responsibility of the tenant. All inspections should also be validated with photos and signed off by both the tenant and landlord, where possible.
Maintain a Good Relationship
There is no harm in maintaining a good relationship with your tenant and keeping those communication lines open. Work towards developing a cordial, respectful relationship so that your tenant feels comfortable coming to you when an issue arises. As a landlord, try to always respond in a timely manner and fulfill your responsibilities as required.
Hire a Property Management Company
Bad tenants would prefer to deal with landlords directly rather than having to deal with a representative such as a reputable Property Management Company. The right company can assist you with nearly every aspect of the process, from tenant screening and lease preparation to rent collection and maintenance or emergency repairs as well as tenant eviction.
It’s true that the longer a property remains vacant, the more expensive it becomes for the landlord. However, do not let this rush you into accepting the first tenant that comes along. The implications of having a bad tenant will cost much more in the long run! So, due diligence is the key!