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Calgary Case Sheds Light on just how Creative Rogue Tenants can Be

25 September 2013

Just yesterday we talked about how the big banks are making changes to mortgage applications for income properties. Today though, we look at another problem – rogue tenants, and how landlords can help protect themselves against them.

The current case is taking place in Calgary. When Rebekah Caverhill needed to rent out half of her duplex in the upscale Parkdale neighbourhood, she took the word of a friend. That friend knew someone that was looking for a place to rent, and told Caverhill about him. Not only would he be a good tenant, said the friend, but he could also help the elderly landlord make improvements to the property, being a handyman-type of fella.

Caverhill met with the man briefly, but long enough to strike up a deal that gave him three months of reduced rent in exchange for him making the needed renovations to the property. The man moved in, and that was when Caverhill’s problems really began.

Not only did the man not pay full rent, but he didn’t pay any rent. Caverhill also started receiving huge bills for renovations that had been made to the property, few if any with her consent. When Caverhill tried to evict him for non-payment of rent, he simply didn’t leave. And when she visited the property, she found that the locks had been changed.

The problem may be on the extreme side in this case, but it does showcase just what can happen when a landlord doesn’t take the proper measures to ensure that they’re only accepting good tenants.

For example, if Caverhill had done a little digging and not just gone by the word of her friend, she could have looked on the tenant’s LinkedIn profile. There it says that he’s the senior chief justice at Tacit Supreme law court. Sound suspicious to you? And it probably would have to her too, leading herself to ask why a chief justice needs to rent a home in the first place. She also could have gone to the property regularly for inspections, instead of waiting until she had a stack of invoices and had run out of time to figure out the tenant was not a good one.

These are just a couple of things Caverhill could have done to ensure that she was only allowing good tenants into the property. She also could have interviewed the actual tenant beforehand, asked where he lived, and then contacted his previous landlord to ask how he treated the property and if he paid his rent on time. When things turned sour, she also could have hired a lawyer to see if anything could be done before the situation was made even worse.

Of course, it’s never the landlord’s fault when something turns this bad in a rental situation. However, landlords do need to do whatever it takes to make sure they’re protecting themselves and that they’re only accepting good tenants. If Caverhill had taken just a few more steps to do this, she may not be in the position that she’s in now.

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