A New Trick… Falsifying Accepted E-transfers

June 3rd, 2016 · Kids & Family, Property Management, Rental Property

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So in today’s new and disturbing tenant douche baggery, I have a tenant who had an NSF check, who then said he sent me e-transfer. That’s possible, I looked for the deposit and I couldn’t find it. He then sent me a copy of the Interac transfer dated May 31st 2016. Finally I called the bank to see what went wrong and it was falsified.

What the duck is wrong with people? It’s not like I wouldn’t notice or find out eventually.

Jerks.

 

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Landlord Lesson – Legal Possession

May 30th, 2016 · Kids & Family, Rental Property

we are not interested Here’s a bit of a brain twister for a lot of landlords, certainly the smaller ones and the landlords that have tenants renting parts of their home.
This is the concept of legal possession and how by accepting rent the landlord gives up some of the rights of legal possession and how the tenant gets those rights and then how to get the right of legal possession back.

Basically the owner of the property initially sets up a mortgage, and finalizes the closing and picks up the keys from the lawyer, and they get legal possession of the property. For this privilege, they have paid 5%-20% of the purchase price and signed off on a mortgage for the difference.  If the owner fails to pay the mortgage the bank can go through a legal procedure called foreclosure to get the right of legal possession back from the owner. Then the bank will have legal possession.

Unlike the property itself which stays where it is, the right to use it can shift around to different people.

Tenants and legal possession

Our enterprising owner then decides to rent out his place, perhaps a basement apartment, perhaps the entire house. Oftentimes, this might be done really casually, as it’s just a basement apartment or just to friends who need a place for a few months. What could possibly go wrong?

As it turns out during this casual transaction, upon trading the keys for money, the owner has given the tenant legal possession…

For this privilege the tenant may have paid $500 or $800 or $2000. If the tenant fails to pay the rent the landlord can go through a legal procedure at the Landlord & Tenant Board to regain the right of legal possession.  It can take several months, cost a lot in legal fees, and it can go be very traumatic if you are living in the same house.

Now this tenant has almost the same rights as you do, in “your” property, except it’s not “your” property because you leased your rights away.  It’s their property until you get that pesky right of legal possession back. The only right you have is to pay the mortgage (That right you still have)  and apply to the Landlord & Tenant Board for eviction.

Legal Possession is Serious Business

Make no mistake, when you hand over the keys in exchange for money, it’s a big deal with potentially serious consequence and ramifications. Legal possession is not be taken lightly.

I compare leasing an apartment to leasing a car. If you lease someone a car can you tell people to

  • How many people they can have in the car?
  • If they can put their pet in the car?
  • What if they want to have visitors in the car?
  • Eat smelly food in the car?
  • Smoking in the car?
  • Drive around late at night in the car?
  • Play loud music in the car ? (Between city bylaw hours)
  • Obviously you can’t just go into their car whenever you like.

Tenancy is a serious business relationship and before you hand over the keys and take the money, you need to evaluate if the tenant is a stable business “partner”. In Ontario that business relationship may last many years.

If there is one word of advice I would give to owners about renting it would be to focus on the quality of their future business relationship and the person in it rather than their impending mortgage payment.

“Patience and perseverance have a magical effect before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish.” ~ John Quincy Adams

Legal Possession is Important. Wait.

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Rental Market Much Stronger In 2016

May 14th, 2016 · Rental Property

Rental

Last year I was very concerned about the rental market. Condo buildings were getting built and condos were on the rental market for a good long time. Prices were flat with even a small decline, and you had the impression that you had to work every application, and get every single appointment or you might have to wait a good while before the next rental opportunity.

New buildings had an auction like atmosphere with tenants putting ads up on kijiji touting their high credit scores and what they were willing to pay for which building.

At the top of troubling signs was the lack of showings and lame turnout for places.  Places that would have seen lots of showings even a year before, lingered for no good reason. The only thing that seemed to matter or make a difference was price and tenants didn’t seem to care too much about anything else. If you had a place that was bigger or had a better layout you were virtually stuck with the same price as the less desirable suites, or no one would come to your showings.

This year is a different story, prices are actually rising, more around the GTA but even in the downtown core. North Oshawa is on fire. I’m getting multiple applications on “Open House” showings out there. Last week I had 20 people show up for a 3 bedroom detached out there and three applications.

I’m already running out of property to rent and it’s May.  The only softness in the market seems to be in the more expensive properties over $2000 per month depending on what it is.

I’ve been renting condos over at Sherway Gardens Rd for 5-6 years now and the rent started at $1200 and went up a little bit, we got $1295 a few years ago, prices went back down to $1200 and this year we just rented one for $1350. After years of only maintenance fee increases, landlords can use a bit of a break.

Rejoice for there is hope!

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Unauthorized Occupants – So Annoying

February 27th, 2016 · Property Management

No Trespassing

I got hired to manage a condo because the owner was having some issues with the tenants. One of the leaseholders had said that he was leaving the country but he had managed to find someone to take over his lease for the last several months. Then it became a big deal for the rent. The new tenants did not possess the skill of getting the rent to us. Every month was a brand new month of discovery on how to pay the rent. One month was “Come pick up the cash” the next was deposited to my account, then an e-transfer.

This month, no rent came at all, but fortunately I’d had an N-4 ready to fly immediately. Next came a surprising amount of disconnected telephone numbers.

Floor Inspection Time

Eventually the owner and I decided to do an inspection of the floors. The laminate floors installed by the builders had a strange wear pattern/defect I’d noticed. Basically little specks of paint had worn off the floors throughout the place. I had noticed that the tenants did only wear their socks in the house so we decided to investigate and report the problem to the builder, but first I had to show the owner.

Some Guy Named Hassan

We’d sent a message that we were coming by to look at the floors by phone and email. When we knocked on the door a stranger answered.  We told her, we are the landlord and we are here for our prearranged floor inspection. Last time I had been there it was 4 single guys living there. So we ask who she is, she hands the phone to us and we speak to her husband Hassan. He was supposed to pay the rent and then he was going to be able to make a lease with us. That’s what he had been told by the tenant. I’m like “No” that’s not how it works. The owner and I end up calling the police to try and figure out what is going on.

Mohammad had left the building and the country and told these people (possibly relatives) they could stay.

Truer Words Have Never Been Spoken

I end up shouting at some point, “This is an $800,000 condo, not an old shoe you can pass around to all your friends!”

Moving Out & Leaving The Condo Trashed

They left yesterday and they left a lot of garbage behind, including a plate of some unspeakable food in the fridge. Then they shut off all the power, so the fridge was interesting when I got there, but fortunately with the food down the chute and the fridge back on, we’ll be able to just give it a wash. A fridge turned off with some decomposing food in it, is not salvageable after a few days. You will never get the stench of rotting unspeakable stuff out of it. So we got lucky there.

Damages

Mostly garbage and a paint job and steam cleaning of the carpet and some serious cleaning will get the condo up to snuff and ready for rent in a few days.

Dealing with Unauthorized Occupants

I would say that we dealt with the situation properly. The police came out and I was quite forceful with the boundary setting. Quite strange and awkward to meet someone you absolutely not expecting. It was not the unauthorized occupant’s fault, they were misled by the tenant who thought the condo was some type of flophouse instead of a place where you sign a lease and take things seriously. We could have had to go to the Landlord & Tenant Board but they moved out pretty much right away.

All’s Well that Ends Well

 

 

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Evictions – The Travels of Jimmy the Cat

February 21st, 2016 · Property Management

Jimmy the catEveryone with a job can tell you that there are some bad parts to almost every career. Evictions are something I’m not sure I will ever get used to. Landlords can and do call me to help with very difficult tenants. While I don’t generally mind, late 2015 found me dealing with three difficult and wearing evictions that were all occurring at the same time. Frankly I became emotionally exhausted, and these situations just dragged on and on. So here’s a list of the situations I was involved in as a property manager hired to deal with the pain of awful tenants.  Jeff Shabes of Jems Paralegal did the legal work.

Eviction 1

This one was a tenant on tenant violence followed by mental health and hoarding issues. Basically one tenant severely assaulted the other and so we went ahead and made an agreement with him to move out through mediation. We had overwhelming evidence. The victim tenant had stopped paying rent but really was scared and just wanted to leave. We met and we agreed to terminate the tenancy using the N11. They did not move.

Next, we filed at the Landlord & Tenant Board against the victim this time and we had a hearing. When we got to the hearing, we got notified that the tenant was in hospital and so the entire issue was delayed for 2 months. The tenant still did not move. During this period I went and did an inspection and found that the place was hoarded up and the smoke alarm had been disabled.

Finally the tenant moved out. This eviction took over 6 months and both apartments were trashed and needed lots of renovations. It was very stressful for everyone. The owner has since let me go because they are selling the property. I’m happy I never need to see that place or think about it again.

Eviction 2

These people had already been evicted 2 times this year and pay up on the day the sheriff comes. This time they were unable to come up with all the money. They gave me part of the rent and they were locked out. They then paid up all the rent and filed a motion to void. This can be filed by a tenant that is evicted one time during their tenancy. There was a bunch of rushing around to meet the sheriff, then give them back the keys.

Honestly I have no idea what these people’s deal is. They are by all accounts decent people, they work, they are clean, they are polite, they just don’t pay rent until the Sheriff comes.

Eviction 3

This was an another tragic case. I had a couple in a an apartment of several years and they have never managed to pay the rent in full and on time. The other tenants would complain of fighting. Finally the second time of trying to evict for non payment of rent, we were forced to take a payment plan. I rarely refuse payments plans, but in this case I was forced to by the Landlord & Tenant Board.

The tenants paid all their payments except the small last one. Around that time, I got a call that the tenant had severely beat his girlfriend, and was in jail. She had to be taken out of the house in an ambulance.

Around this time I ended up filing for a breach of the original order to pay. The girlfriend was not on the lease (even thought they rented together) and so she had no legal standing. Then the guy moved out his stuff but she was still living there with her kids. If she was able to pay, I could have drawn up a new lease, but she simply didn’t have the ability to pay.

Almost every day, she would call me after a few drinks, check in and tell me she was moving for several months. EVERY DAY.

Finally the sheriff came, and she came and got some of her stuff.  They’d had 2 cats, but one was very sick and they couldn’t find him a home. So that’s how Jimmy the cat came into my life.

Obviously after dealing with all these issues for months, I was worn out, and so I’m not sure why but Jimmy was like a symbol of hope. Finally among all this suffering I could possibly do something to change his fate. I would finally be able to do something good.

Jimmy the Cat

Jimmy was a super friendly cat and when I was changing the locks with the sheriff, Jimmy was purring and winding his way around my legs and generally acting like a one cat welcoming committee. Unfortunately Jimmy was also sick, he could hardly breathe. He was also extremely skinny, and looked like he was on his last legs. I thought, I’ll take him to the vet, get him some antibiotics and he’ll be fine.  It was not fine.

The picture above is Jimmy at his first vet visit and the first thing they did was feed him. He weighted 3 lbs. So I got him some antibiotics, and that did help, he gained about a pound initially and he never really got better after that. I brought him back to the vet 2 more times and gave him Lysine and Steroids but nothing helped very much.

My husband and nephew are allergic to cats, so I was driving to the house everyday medicating and feeding and patting the cat. I fixated on Jimmy the cat, surely after everything I could at least fix one stupid friendly little cat, right? He was happy and didn’t seem to be in pain so I didn’t feel right taking him the Toronto Animal Services on euthanasia day. I contacted a few rescues, and no wants a sick cat. They’re afraid that it will spread to the other cats. Jimmy’s prospects seemed really grim.

Fuck Cancer

Then I found out my disabled sister has breast cancer. I’m going with her to Sunnybrooke Hospital for her staging tests, then going to feed and medicate Jimmy the cat everyday. By this point it had been over a month and I loved the little critter he really captured my heart with his snotty nose and cuddles. Then I reached out to Toronto Humane Society and set up a surrender appointment, I faxed Jimmy the cats medical records over, and trusted that they would do whatever they could for him and gladly paid the $50. I really did not know if the kindest thing would be to put him to sleep. At some point I’d lost all perspective.

Toronto Humane Society told me that they wouldn’t let me know what had happened as it was against their policies. I had to be satisfied that I had done my best for Jimmy.

Then came a dizzying round of tests at Sunnybrooke with my sister. I’m still dealing with that, the cancer was discovered too late and she’s Stage 4 already so no cure is possible and obviously that’s really awful.

Back To Jimmy

Last week a I got a phone call from the Toronto Humane Society. Jimmy ended up having nasal polyps and they were able to perform surgery and he found a home. One friendly little cat saved. Jimmy became a symbol of being able to do one small positive action while awash in negativity I could do nothing about. I was trying hard, but I ended up feeling worn and ineffectual.

For Eviction #1 It would have been ok if we evicted the tenant who assaulted the other, and the other tenant was protected and stayed, but instead the victim of the assault ripped off the poor landlord for 6 month’s rent and endangered everyone else with her hoarding.

For Eviction # 2 I am taking them back to the Landlord & Tenant Board for the 4th time for eviction for non payment in a year.

For Eviction #3 The victim ended up being an alcoholic who used her trauma as an excuse for her bad behavior. It ended up being very hard for me to feel for her. She really played the victim card and I ended up being really annoyed by her unwillingness to help herself. Going up North to hang out with your new boyfriend and not move your stuff and calling me drunk every single night to tell me about your lack of progress was exhausting and infuriating.

But I did save Jimmy the Cat, so there’s that.

Just do your best and screw the rest.

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