I’ve seen more than my fair share of rental apartments. Most people would not believe some of the “apartments” that are on offer. After last night’s listing of an “apartment” for rent… I’ve been inspired to search my memory for the worst landlords ever.
Last night I approached a beautiful house with anticipation. Fantastic neighborhood, three car garage, separate entrance. The apartment is above the garage. So far it’s gorgeous. We enter the kitchen and there is no stove. So I say “There’s no stove”. The owner tells me that her bedroom is on the other side of that wall and she doesn’t want cooking smells to bother her. But apparently there’s another stove. You just have to go down two flights of stairs, across the house 40 feet. Oh and it’s shared with another person. A room. That she also wants me to rent.
I tell her that I don’t rent shared accommodations because they are a cause of endless problems. (I told her this before) She tells me that if I think it’s going to be a problem it’s going to be a problem. I agree. Not even 10 minutes later, I leave. I notice a lock box on the door on the way out. I look it up and there’s a listing and the place has been available for months with a real estate agent.
The solution is obvious, there are two very nice self contained apartments. Put a stove into the apartment and rent it. It’s not really rocket science. If you just want the money and can’t be bothered to offer a reasonable service, you probably shouldn’t rent it.
Laminated Nightmare On ??? Street
So this particular house was also in a really promising mature neighborhood. One of my employees took this on and after she told me it was “rough” I went to take a look. There also happened to be a Koi pond in the backyard, with no Koi, only algae that the landlord would allow the tenants to use for their Koi. Most people would call it a “death trap” or “pit” but you must be creative with rental listings.
You must also be creative with building materials and as you can see, laminate has many uses. Backsplash and front door liner? When I suggested the place needed some renovation, he told me that I was just telling him he needed a contractor because I was taking kickbacks from the contractors. I wasn’t far from his house and I put his keys right in that handy dandy mail slot you see right in that door.
The pictures do not really convey how fugly this place was and until they invent Smellovision you’ll have to remain ignorant of the odour of old cigarette ashtray and dirty socks that permeated the place.
There’s not a rental agent on earth that can rent your basement to someone who does not drink or smoke on your property. If you tell me that you’re going to evict them if they smoke outside on your property and that you’re going to check to their recycling for alcohol containers, well, I’m not renting your apartment. It’s hard enough finding decent people to pay the rent, if you have very stringent requirements on top of that your best solution is to find someone from your church or social grouping.
I’m not allowed to be discriminatory in ads and I don’t want to discriminate period so looking for the needle in the haystack with these kinds of rentals just isn’t for me. If the owner wants to spend hundreds of dollars and months of time weeding through applicants to find this miracle tenant, that’s ok. When you hire a service we do our best for you, but the numbers don’t lie, 50% of Ontario tenants now have pets and about 30% smoke, this leaves a measly 20-40 percent of people that are looking for an apartment that you will accept. Then add another 80% that will be totally turned off by your strange request and you have long months of paying for ads, showing your place and having people walk away. No Thank You.
Here’s another example of “kind of” discrimination posted here for eternity for when the ad comes down eventually.
“4 bedroom house with double car garage for Rent. Whole house is available for $1,700. Large Master bedroom with full ensuite and walk-in closet. Family room with wood fireplace. Small Deck in fully fenced backyard that backs onto Rouge River Conservation lands (walking trails etc). No houses behind for privacy. Good for nature lovers. 2 car garage (with remote control door) + 2 more car parking in driveway (4 car total parking). A/C. Fridge, Stove, Washer, Dryer, moveable dishwasher. Laminate floors throughout. TTC bus stop on street to Scarborough Town Centre and rush hour Express Bus to Kennedy subway station almost at your door. Not too far from 401 or north to 407. Renter to cut lawn, and shovel snow. Available : June 1st 2015. Showings : Cant show till next week as current tenant is packing stuff up. NON-SMOKER (due to owners allergies)NO DOGS (for religious reasons). All nationality friendly. Muslim friendly. Close to Islamic Foundation of Toronto Masjid on Nugget/Markham Rd. NOTE : I’m not renting to the first person with “cash in hand” or 1st person to apply. I will be looking at all applications and want to find the best family for my house. Will be doing a full Credit Employment References Check. Note 2 : Owner is a Registered/Licensed Real Estate Salesperson , I’m renting it privately (not on MLS), but have to declare that I am registered. Feel free to call (or text).”
This ad can be interpreted as discriminatory in my opinion and it would be just a discriminatory if it said “Christian friendly, St. Jude’s Church of the Vacant Property.” Asking about anyone’s religion is a big no.
I can’t tell you how many times prospective residents tell me that the houses I am showing look exactly like the pictures I take. That’s because for the most part I take the photos with my own phone and then post them. I don’t know what other people are doing. Maybe they are taking pictures out of Home & Garden Magazine or something.
You should probably take pictures of the the house you are renting not some other house. You should also avoid taking photos that make a condo bathroom look like 500 square feet. If you want to know how to take terrible pictures, you should check out this Terrible Real Estate Photos website for some tips.
I really don’t understand landlords who just want to trick people into visiting the property. You get paid if someone rents the place, not per visitor. It’s a rental not a museum. People notice when you say it’s a one plus a den and the den is non-existing or a 6 inch indent in the wall. (Lanterra @ 12 York St. & others (you know who you are))
The Landlord’s Job
The landlord business is much more regulated than other businesses. To compete in this market you must have a quality property in good condition, to attract good tenants. If your place is not up to standard, you’re at a much higher risk of vacancy and deadbeat tenants. God help the landlord looking for the tenant who agrees to fix the place up in exchange for a deal on the rent. No matter how low the rent, the landlord is always responsible for maintenance.
I’m Not A Perfectionist
I was accused of it, but asking a landlord to up their game to get the AAA+ tenants is just good business. I’ve helped too many landlords who get sued at the Landlord & Tenant Board to think there is any business sense in renting sub standard properties.