Why Landlords Should Learn The Law

August 2nd, 2010 · 2 Comments · Landlord & Tenant Board, Landlord Advocacy, Property Management, Rental Property

I wrote a story a while back about a tenant that had moved into our building and caused a flood and had been found by our super passed out cold next to a giant sex toy. I wrote it for Mike over at Money Smarts Blog. He finally published it. It is very funny. It’s called So You Think You Can Landlord – A Tenant From Hell Story

Know the Law So You Can Be Proactive

The point of the story for me though is that as a landlord you need to get serious about knowing the law. If I hadn’t been there and knew that this guy was not officially our tenant until the first of that month, we would have ended up with this guy as our tenant until he got kicked out for non-payment or something else. I had him out of our building that day.

The Public Is Bizarre

Anyone who deal with the public will tell you that people are absolutely bizarre. You can count on this. The more you get to know them the stranger they become. I don’t get friendly with my tenants for precisely that reason. I don’t need TMI (Too Much Information) I have had tenants that I want to punch right in the face for being disgusting pieces of human trash. One lady used to yell at her children abusively and call them names. You could hear her calling her kids little C#$% and B#$%#. Her beautiful daughters were 4-5.

These People Are Skilled Hiders

You need to know that apartment showings are similar to job interviews. No one comes out and tells you that they are extremely weird or have disgusting life habits or the hoard beer cans and newspapers. You get to find this crap out after they move in.

I even had a stalker/flasher one time. Nice eh!

Lots of this stuff is not illegal. Flasher Guy for instance flashed/stalked the other tenant from the safety of his apartment. It’s not illegal to be naked in your own home. The police wouldn’t charge him unless they observed him flashing.

So what’s a landlord to do?

It’s pretty fair to say that these habits are incompatible with communal living. Once I know about it I’ll do what I can to get rid of them. This include delivering a stack of forms from the Landlord & Tenant Board. I’ll write down their offensive behaviour and count on embarrassment to make them move. It costs $170 because you can combine applications. Even if I know that I won’t win, I will bluff. Tenants with these habits do not enjoy the public airing of their particular pecadillo.

The other thing you need to know is that I have had a lot of tenants. 90% of tenants are good but just in the one building I had 428 units. That means that at anyone time I had 42,8 bad tenants living there! If you have a basement apartment or a duplex you could go for years without ever having a problem.

The reason I tell these stories is to let people know that stuff like this happens. The more units you have the greater chance it will happen. You are not alone.

What about discrimination?

Well I don’t care too much about political correctness. Furthermore I guarantee you that the people who make these policies do not put their money where their mouth is. They make these pie in the sky rules and they have no idea what the hell they are talking about. Certainly if they wanted to they could rent out a room to these people if their present landlord didn’t want them. Funnily enough you never hear about this happening.

You want to avoid trouble by not necessarily stating why you are asking them to leave. In the story I never once mentioned the sex toy when I told the guy he was leaving. It was the flood that did him in.

Hopefully you’ll never have to deal with this kind of situation. If you do shoot me an email and I’ll do what I can to help.

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2 Comments so far ↓

  • jesse

    “The reason I tell these stories is to let people know that stuff like this happens. The more units you have the greater chance it will happen.”

    Or put differently, if you only have 1-2 suites, you can go through your entire life without seeing a bad tenant and proceed to jawbone at parties about how “simple” being a landlord is. Look in amazement as 10% of the crowd quickly divert their eyes and shuffle their feet. Ignorance is bliss.

  • Rachelle

    It’s statistics at work. I must say that some landlords have a skill for avoiding problems. That doesn’t comes so easily to others.