10 Tips on Renting to The Worst Tenants

June 10th, 2010 · 16 Comments · Landlord & Tenant Board, Pest Control, Property Management, Rental Property

Vacancy will never be a problem if you follow this plan. Make sure you follow every step carefully so that your building is always full.

1 – Advertise Free Rent

You should definitely give away some rent! You can give away as much as three month’s rent according to the Residential Tenancies Act This should be the most prominent part of your advertising so that all the financially irresponsible who have already spent their first and last money will look at your ad and immediately think AHA ! My new home. Make sure that you make your apartments much cheaper than anyone else’s too.

2 – Don’t ask for ID or Leases

As an added bonus you can address any N-4’s to Resident. This is much easier and faster to spell than the peoples’ names. If it works for the credit card companies it should work for you too! Absolutely no leases! Leases are just more useless paperwork. People should just give you whatever rent they can afford.

3 – Don’t Ever do a Credit Check

What do you want to know all the private information for? People are honest and will just tell you if they are bad tenants. People who are moving every 4-6 months are just getting a string of bad landlords. Credit checks are expensive. Why spend money on stuff you don’t need?

4 – Go register your building at the Bed Bug Registry

Signing up is free ! Free is good ! People who find bed bugs to be entertaining and friendly pets will flock to your building. You can even highlight this with a big sign out front that has a nice picture of a bed bug with the caption “Never Sleep Alone Again”

5 – Don’t ever Clean

Cleaning is highly overrated. It’s expensive to hire cleaner for your common areas and to turn over apartments. People are getting free rent, they’ll love to pitch in and help get their new place ready. Hell you’ll even throw in some cleaning supplies. What a great landlord you are.

6 – Contact your local John Howard’s Society, Ontario Works, Homeless Shelters & Mental Hospital

You have to get the word out that you are offering really cheap apartments with no first and last required. You did after all become a landlord to help people and these people really need your help.  Do not ever discriminate in any way. Go every morning and post an ad at your local Landlord & Tenant Board. The best idea is to stick your ad over the daily docket so when tenants check what room they are getting evicted in your ad is right there! You can buy a banner ad on the Ontario Tenants Rights website too! Bye Bye vacancy problem.

7 – You Need Cockroaches Too

This one requires some work. You may have to go to your local grocery store and get some corrugated cardboard boxes and put them in your building. If there are no cockroaches wandering in the halls during the daytime you don’t have enough. People like animated walls. You need to feed the cockroaches as much as possible. DO NOT under any conditions ever hire a pest control company. If your staff happens to hire a company without your knowledge don’t pay them and they’ll eventually stop coming. It’s just cruel to kill cute little bugs.

8 – Alcoholic Super

You need a super who drinks a lot. Hopefully when you have job interviews you can find one who will show up totally pickled. Then you should pay him rather randomly to keep him hopping. Then they’ll be really happy when you give them their check a few days late. Gratitude is a great attitude. It will be even more exciting if you can convince him to date women from the building, especially if he’s married. Marriage is such an anachronistic institution.

9 – Proper Signage

Your signage should be inexpensive and promote recycling. Why buy a sign when you can reuse cardboard from your tenants moving boxes. Learn from the For Sale By Owner crowd. Write very small and in pencil so that people have to get out of their cars to see your sign. Once they are out of their cars it’s easy to walk into your rental office.

10 – Proper Landscaping

Your landscaping should reflect your commitment to love all and sundry. People love flowers and dandelions are flowers. You should never damage your hedges by trimming them in any way. Tree Haters !!  If the city comes to mow your lawn once it’s over 20 inches, sue them claiming that you are recreating a natural local garden.

Happy days! You are well on your way to providing a utopian environment. Rules are for idiots. People know how to manage themselves without any guidance whatsoever. Everyone will do the right thing if given a chance.


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16 Comments so far ↓

  • DavidV

    There are some programs offered by the government and the City of Toronto where if you offer below average rents you can get a lots of money $20k plus for renovations.

    What’s your thoughts on this? In theory you only have to rent it out for one year at a below market level and you get the 20k. But, as we all know it’s hard to evict…

    • Rachelle

      Actually the RRAP program rents are not really low. I forget exactly how much the rent amounts were now but this program is actually a viable way to improve your building. The paperwork is astounding they require a lot of documentation on tenants. Definitely worth looking into for those building that need some major upgrades.

  • Money Smarts Blog

    Hilarious. Thanks for the link.


  • Bruce Teague

    I agree with Mike… Hilarious. I got a good laugh out of this one.

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  • Still Angry at ex landlord.

    >4 – Go register your building at the Bed Bug Registry

    Been there on the tenant end. Here are 4 easy steps to make a life-long enemies out of several otherwise good tenants:

    1) When one tenant gets bedbugs from sources unknown, be sure to keep it a secret from your other tenants, so they don’t know to learn about the signs of an infestation (I barely knew they existed).
    2) When the tenant who’s door is directly across the hall from infestation number 1 finds a bedbug infestation in their suite a few months later, lie about it. Claim your building has never had bedbugs. Then pretend to be understanding, but serve them an eviction notice 1 hour before you know they’re going overseas for two weeks, blaming them for bringing the bedbugs. This could neatly avoid the deadline for them to submit a rentalsman office complaint. Ideally, also try to charge them for the pest control.
    3) Keep lying – even better, be sure to lie about facts about your tenant that can be easily disproved with government documents. That looks really great during the hearing. Also, try to hide your real name so it requires a title search to find out who you are, and use the fact your manager is ESL strategically.
    4) Continue to refuse to tell any of your other tenants that there is a problem, so they don’t know to look for the little nasties, or how to reduce the risk of them. This really helps the problem spread throughout the building. It also leaves the bedbug registry as the only option to warn others.

    There you have it. Admit nothing, deny everything, make counter-accusations, and especially, treat your tenants as the enemy! You too can have a whole building of infested suites, a bedbug registry listing, and a reputation as a sociopath!

    • Rachelle

      I hear you. I was talking to a tenant the other day who rents in 77 Jameson Avenue here in Toronto. It’s so bad there that the bedbugs are crawling in common areas. He’s spent over $2000 in prevention to keep from being infested.

      I also had to get rid of bedbugs myself in a townhouse complex in Oshawa that I managed and it cost over $750 just to do one unit. We had to spray 3 times. The tenant had to do all the prep work 3 times. We need better poisons and landlords who want to get rid of bedbugs building wide need funding. Landlords cannot afford the cost required. This is a public health issue. Recently they found bedbugs in two Hospitals around here. There is a risk of bringing the little suckers home from any public place.

      It’s getting gross!

  • Mr. Cheap

    Very funny, nice post!

  • Ignonnawaitte

    Very Good site, thank yo mister, it’s help’s me!

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  • Roy Weldon

    ——–I was a landlord with two duplexes+ one fourplex in the armpit of Hamilton for seven years, however with the advent of cheap mortage money! anybody and their dog can buy rather than rent.
    ————–I always went with the premise ‘go in well,and you come out well!’—–refering to doing due diligence with tenants BEFORE they move in, ‘cos it willcost you a bloody fortune,and lotsa’ grief trying to get a bad tenant out!———————-if they only want to fill out part of the app form for example should sound the alarm bells!—-without COMPLETE details for every question don’t waste you time with them!————I would not show an apartment until I had approx seven to ten people, cos they will assure you they will show up, but only one or two arrive


    I laughed and laughed when I read “10 tips on how to rent to the worst tenants”. Absolutely hilarious. I have had revenue properties for 22 years. I have had some experiences. I rented to a really nice couple from the Maritimes. I came back to collect the 2nd months rent and found that they had two pitbull puppies and a crocodile in a glass tub in the living room. The puppies had already damaged the carpet. I paid them to move, because they just could not afford it. They had enough they said for groceries. It was worth every penny. Oh what fun. Then there was the couple that had two huge huge huge cats. I had inherited this couple. When I did the walk through on the day of closing I found they not only had these huge cats, but had a Boa Constrictor – about 6 feet long and so I tripled their rent, which we can do here in Alberta and they moved. Of course!! And I made sure they took their snake with them. I have had my experiences. My biggest problem is I am a professional social worker and I tend to be “kind”. That costs me. Now I have my rules and if they do not fit the criteria, I do not rent to them. Follow the rules and you will not have problems. If the unit sits empty, it is better then paying out thousands to renovate and clean up and waste your time hauling and money hauling stuff to the dump.
    Renting properties is a tough business. But the pay off comes when you sell the building. Usually the property greatly increases in value.
    I like Rachelle’s comment. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.