Posts Tagged ‘credit checks’

The Alberta Landlord Knowledge Vault

Thursday, October 12th, 2017

Alberta landlord knowledge vault

Get Real World “In the Trenches” Advice From Experienced and Successful Alberta Landlords & Property Managers

Experienced and successful Alberta landlords know there are a lot of great renters out there. For years Alberta has been a place hard-working people from across Canada want to come to.

Even with the recent economic downturn people see Alberta as the ideal place to find a job, start a business, put down roots, start a family, and invest in the future.

What Makes A Great Renter?

Long time landlords know the key to being a successful Alberta landlord is finding good renters. These are people who pay their rent on time, take care of the rental property, and respect their landlord and other renters (if it’s a multi-unit rental).

An Edmonton landlord wrote about her great tenants saying:

“They are a couple who moved here from Nova Scotia and found work. They keep the property clean, pay the rent with post-dated cheques and are just wonderful people.” 

A Calgary landlord who rents his basement wrote:

“There are still good renters out there if you have an attractive place at the right price. I rent to a younger guy who is working two jobs now and also studying at night! He says his goal is to land a good job and be a landlord himself one day!”

Be Careful Because Bad Renters Are Out There Too!

A recent story on the CBC news site is about a landlord named Jennifer Leeming who owns a rental property in Calgary. 

Jennifer did all the right things. She had a bright and spacious rental property on the market and had the best intentions to be a super landlord and rent out her beautiful rental property. It sounds so simple, right? A caring landlord with a wonderful rental property just waiting for good renters. It should be so simple…but it isn’t!

Dedicated, caring single mom landlord tried to help her renters out, and in return they destroyed her rental property

Tenants From Hell

Jennifer ended up with “Tenants from Hell” who played the system and ended up costing her huge financial losses.When the renters asked for a break this landlord tried to accommodate them and work something out. This was a big mistake as it only led to more damages to the rental unit, more non-paid rent, and bigger problems.

The new flooring was treated like an ashtray.  The renters didn’t even have the common courtesy to buy an ashtray at the dollar or go outside to smoke.

Alberta landlords rental vault 3

There were many holes in the drywall all over the property. And the stair railings were ripped out making it dangerous to go up and down the stairs.

Alberta landlords rental vault 4

The nicely renovated bathrooms were destroyed.

These “Tenant From Hell” caused tens of thousands of dollars in damages!

Just Follow the System, Right?

Wrong.  Look what happened.

When Jennifer started the eviction process the renters challenged her and said: “I’M NOT MOVING UNTIL YOU PROVIDE A COURT DOCUMENT! “ Unfortunately this type of rude and aggressive behaviour is common with bad tenants who are going to rip you off.

Tenants Finally Left…Then Vanished Without Paying a Cent

And when Jennifer used the RTDRS and got them out what happened? She got paid by the tenants for the amount the RTDRS ordered right? Unfortunately, it didn’t work out that way.

After she served the tenants, they did a midnight run and took off to Saskatchewan. They did all the damages and it will be basically impossible to ever to recover her losses from these “Tenants From Hell”.

Dealing With Alberta Tenant Challenges

When you rent to tenants you need to be aware of the system and the rules. The old saying “Knowledge is Power” really applies to being a landlord in Alberta these days.

And as Jennifer found out, just going through the system often isn’t enough and leads to huge headaches, drawn out evictions, and even bigger financial losses. 

According to landlord Jennifer:

“I feel it’s so unfair. I’ve worked my entire life to provide for my family and my child’s future and people have come along and taken that all away and that’s just so wrong”

Alberta Landlord Knowledge Vault

In order to help Alberta landlords succeed we asked experienced and successful landlords and property managers to come up with tips and strategies to help small residential landlords succeed.

Don’t Be a Victim of Bad Tenants

It’s more important than every before to learn tips and strategies to make sure your rental business is successful. The harsh reality is there are lots of bad renters out there and they can cost you thousands of dollars and months of headaches and heartaches.

Successful Alberta Landlords

There are a lot of great tenants out there. And there are also a lot of potential “Tenants From Hell”. With the Alberta Landlord Vault you can get the tips and strategies you need to succeed.

The Alberta Landlord Knowledge Vault

Alberta landlord knowledge vault

We asked some of the most experienced landlords and property managers to put together a vault of answers to help other landlords succeed.

And they came through big time – and we put their knowledge together in a professionally recorded audio CD that helps you through all the steps to running a successful and profitable rental business, in good economic times or bad.

Here are some of the issues answered in the Alberta Landlord Knowledge Vault to help you succeed as a landlord in Alberta.

What you get is a “start” to “finish” guide to becoming a successful Alberta landlord and how to deal with situations fast and effectively before they become like cancer and grow. No marketing hype, only real work “in the trenches” advice to help small landlords succeed.

Questions and discussion includes the following:

What really are the best ways to prepare my rental to attract the best renters out there looking for a place?

How can I convince the best tenants to rent from me over other landlords? How do successful landlords do this?

Do I need to get any type of special insurance for my rental to protect myself and my financial future?

What are good potential renters really looking for these days and how can I make my rental property special?

Is it a good idea to pay for a property manager or manage things myself?

I hear stories about some bad property managers out there! How do you choose the best property manager?

Is it a good idea to hire a real estate agent to rent out my property?

How do you set the best rental prices for your rental to advertise at attract premium tenants?

How do you do expert market research on your local rental market?

How do you ultimately decide how much the rent will be?

How do you pre-screen tenants to not waste time with bringing people you won’t don’t want to see the apartment?

How do experienced landlords really successfully screen tenants who want to rent from you?

How do you set times to show your rental property?

Tenants keep cancelling appointments on me and it’s driving me nuts. How do you fix this?

Do you screen everyone who is going to move in or is that not the way to do it?

Why is asking what renters are currently paying for rent important for me?

How do you avoid applicants who are just playing games and not serious?

How can I make sure the applicants say who they say they are and not playing games?

My applicants want me to explain to them! Do you tell your potential renters how you are screening them?

What’s the best way to verify if they are working or not? I want to avoid renting to scammers!

How do you go into really “in-depth” checking of their employment information and avoiding lying tenants?

How do you screen self-employed applicants to make sure they are financially sound?

How do experienced landlords screen applicants moving to Alberta from other provinces?

How important are personal references for Alberta landlords? How do you know if a reference is fishy or valid?

What do you do if the applicants refuses to give their current landlords information?

What do you do if an applicants refuses to provide their SIN number?

How do you run a credit check on a potential renter to find out the most important information?

How do you read a credit check to determine if you should rent to them or not?

What do you do if their credit history shows late payments?

What do you do if the credit check shows a lot of debt?

What do you do if there is a collection on the renter’s credit report?

What types of credit scores do experienced Alberta landlords demand?

How do you really choose the best tenants to put into your rental?

If you have two really good applicants, what is the real criteria to choose one over the other?

What do you do if the applicants have no credit history but seem like good people?

How do you avoid renting from professional tenants who will cause me to lose thousands of dollars?

How the heck do you notify the person you want to rent to?

Are there any tips or strategies when telling your applicant you will rent to them?

How do you make sure the renters are clear on the rules from day 1 to avoid future problems?

What types of leases do you use?

What’s a period tenancy?

What’s a fixed term lease?

What’s better, a periodic tenancy or a fixed term lease…and why?

What information should I include in my lease to protect myself. I’m looking for the most protection!

Does the lease have to be in writing?

Can I require proof of insurance as a condition of the lease?

Is it okay to say no pets are allowed in the lease?

Can Alberta landlords change a pet fee or not?

What happens at the end of fixed term lease?

Can I charge a security deposit? How does that work in Alberta?

Can I charge a non-refundable pet fee and also charge a security deposit?

Can I deduct money from the security deposit for carpet cleaning, painting, and other damages?

If two tenants are renting my place and one moves out do I have to return half the security deposit?

Do you do an inspection when renters move out?

What happens if the tenant doesn’t show up for the move out inspection?

What do you do if your tenants don’t pay rent?

Can I best do an eviction if the renters don’t pay rent?  I need to get this done fast!

What do you do if the tenant breaks a rule in the lease?

What types of notices are available if your renters are breaking the rules of your lease?

What are the reasons I can use to evict a renter?

If the renters are damaging my rental what can I do?

If tenants are threatening me or other tenants in the building what can I do?

My renters are playing their music super loud so what can I do?

My renters are dealing drugs what can I do? This is a very troubling situation!

The Tenants are leaving garbage all over the place so what do expert landlords do when this happens?

If the tenants refuse to leave at the end of the lease what do you do?

Can my tenants have lots of guests over at all times?

My renters want my contact information. Should I give it to them?

I don’t want to give my personal information for safety reasons but do I have to provide it to tenants?

One group of tenants is complaining other tenants are noisy so what should I do? It becoming a nightmare!

I’m selling my property so do I have to tell my renters?

The new buyer of my rental wants to keep the tenants so how do I handle this?

I live with my tenant and she is nuts and argues with me about everything so what can I do?

How do you fix problems with tenants who live in your house with you?

Can I go to the Residential Tenancy Dispute Resolution Service for problems with renters living in my house?

How to you handle renters who want to sublet?

Can I refuse a tenant who wants to sublet my rental property?

How do you reply to a renter who wants to sublet?

My tenant says he wants to assign his apartment so what can I do?

What are legal grounds to refuse a sublet or assignment as I don’t feel comfortable with it?

My tenants did some repairs and now are charging me! Do I have to pay?

The new people I rented to brought in bedbugs so what can I do?

How do you give notice if you are going into the rental to do repairs?

How do you give notice to your tenants to enter the rental property?

Can a contractor enter the rental property without the landlord being present?

My tenant said she doesn’t have to pay rent while I’m doing repairs. Is this true?

How do landlords deal with tenants who are smoking or growing marijuana?

My tenants are fighting over their shared laundry do I have to get involved?

My renters go laid off and want to break the lease so what should I do? 

How do you deal with tenant vs. tenant issues?

Do I have to give my tenants who are moving a recommendation?

My renters got laid off and want to break the lease so what can I do?

My tenants want to change the lease agreement and say I have to, is this true?

The current rent check is NSF what should I do and they didn’t move out! What can I do?

My tenants are rude and aggressive to me. I’m scared and wonder how I should deal with them?

I think I have “Tenants From Hell” and need help!  Renter trashing the unit, cops won’t help, drunk. What should I do?

Alberta Landlord Knowledge Vault – Get Help From Experienced and Successful Alberta Landlords and Property Managers

The Alberta landlord vault is designed to help landlords succeed.  Make sure you run your rental business the right way by knowing your rights and responsibilities and being ready to handle any challenges that might arise in a fast and effective manner.

Knowledge is power and by knowing how the industry works you can take control of your rental business! Get access the The Alberta Landlord Knowledge Vault in the Intermediate Services for a one time fee.

 

Calgary Landlord Regains Control Over Her Rental Property At Last

Wednesday, September 25th, 2013

September 25th, 2013

Bad tenants tenant screening freemen

Landlord said “I can’t handle it, I just can’t. I just want him to leave, get out. That’s all I want.

It appears landlord Rebekah Caverhill’s nightmare is finally over. We’ve seen written about bad tenants before but nothing like this case.

According to a report on CTV News, Freemen-on-the-landlord tenant Andrea Pirelli has been order to get out of his duplex apartment by this coming Saturday.

Pirelli was not in court to hear the judgment but he did have a representative there who refused to provide his name or approach the bench.

CTV News tried yet again to get input from Pirelli and a reporter went to the rental home for the second time in two days to talk to him.

Pirelli came to the window and took our photos but refused to speak.

He calls himself a member of the “Freemen on the Land” movement and believes Canada’s laws don’t apply to him. It’s news that reached landlords all over the country.

Background Story

Rebekah Caverhill rented out half of her Calgary duplex to a man who was recommended as a tenant by a friend. He moved in during November of 2011, but only paid her half of the rent they agreed on. And that’s not the worst part.

The tenant claims to be a ‘Freeman-on-the-Land,’ saying the home is an ‘embassy’ and no longer belongs to Caverhill. He went as far as to change the locks, and do renovations which he then charged Caverhill for…resulting in a lien against her home.

More Details

The tenant told her his name is Andreas Pirelli—which is believed to be an alias. There is a video of him on YouTube under the name Mario Antonacci, where he gives a lesson on what a ‘Sovran Unity Nations Embassy’ is.

Freeman-on-the-Land is a growing movement, that could number as many as 30,000 in Canada. It is also in the United States, where the FBI considers the group a domestic terror threat. ‘Freeman,’ or ‘Sovereign Citizens’ believe that law only governs them if they consent to be governed, and believe they live under ‘natural laws.’ This leads them to avoid taxes, mortgages and utility bills among things.

Caverhill says she’s tried to convict Pirelli to no avail, and police referred her to civil courts, saying it was a landlord-tenant dispute. Police are now talking to Crown to determine if any charges can be laid.

“It may have started out as civil, but this is criminal now,” Caverhill complains. “I have a fraudster, someone trying to take my home.”

Service Alberta is now involved in the case, but Caverhill has been told she needs to get a court order to try and force Pirelli out.

Alberta Landlords and Tenant Screening

This is just another example of why landlords in Calgary and all over Alberta need to make sure you screen your renters carefully.

The days of a simple handshake are over.

Fort McMurray Landlord Faced Nightmare Tenants And No One Helped

Saturday, December 1st, 2012

December 1st, 2012

.

Fort McMurray Landlord Rented Her Basement and Faced a Living Nightmare Tenant.  Seeking Help, The Government Came Up Empty

I Thought Fort McMurray Was a Landlords’ Paradise

I wouldn’t go that far but Fort Mcmurray is known to have the highest rental prices in the entire province of Alberta. With such high prices, a lot of people rent rooms or a basement to save up money to afford their own home in the future.

And lots of people who own homes decide to rent out a part of their home to earn an income.

It All Sounds Good

Except Fort McMurray is not immune from bad tenants. In fact, no one in Alberta is immune these days.

What Happened?

One Fort McMurray landlord faced such a bad situation she now asks to remain anonymous so the ex-tenant doesn’t try to retaliate.

What are the Details?

A homeowner wanted to make a secondary income so rented out her basement unit to what she thought was a nice family.

And…

After they moved in the landlord smelled an odour coming from her basement. When she opened the door leading to the basement unit she was blasted with odours that smelled like urine.

Urine? Yuck!

She looks at the stairs leading to the basement unit and saw strange stains on all the steps. She asked the tenants what it was and they lied, saying it was already there before they moved in. This was a big mistake on her part, as this was the time to evict these horrible tenants.

So the Landlord Went Down the Stairs…

She went downstairs and was shocked.

First, there was a huge amount of garbage on the stairs that she had to maneuver around. Once she finally managed to get to the basement rental unit she saw even more garbage.

“The amount of garbage in the basement was crazy! Food, old clothes, tampons, Q-tips…and what was left in the bathroom is unmentionable.” 

What Did She Do Next?

The landlord gave the tenants a notice for there eviction.

She also contacted Alberta Health Services to assist in cleaning up the dangerous mess downstairs.

Did Alberta Health Services Help?

No, not at all. They said they couldn’t help. So she called the police.

Did the Police Help?

She says the police told her landlord and tenant issues are civil matter and tenants have rights too.

Who In the Government Helped Her Deal With These Tenants From Hell?

The landlord says is was incredibly frustrating because no one in the government would do anything to help her.  She didn’t receive any assistance from:

– The Police

– Animal Control

– Victim Services

– Environmental health

No help at all. Nothing. This happens across the country.

What’s the Status of the Landlord and Her Rental Property Now?

The tenants moved out. Now the landlord will have to try to go to small claims court to attempt recover her losses. It’s a long and complicated process.

She is now having her basement rental inspected and will try to get it cleaned and back to where it was before her Tenants from Hell.

She asks: “What about my family? What about my son?” She suspects if her tenant had called the government for help, they would have done something to help.

The government often acts when tenants complain.

How Expensive Are the Damages?

At least $20,000. Plus the time and energy needed to clean up her trashed rental unit.

 

All This Could Have Been Prevented With Proper Tenant Screening, Including a Credit Check. Don’t Make This Landlord’s Mistake. Be Careful Who You Rent To.

Landlord Finds Tenants Turned Her Rental Property into A Huge Dump, then Vanish!

Sunday, July 15th, 2012

July 15th, 2012

 

A Warning For Other Alberta Landlords!

What Happened?

Tenants renting from a landlord in the Gibbons area transformed her nice rental property into a huge dump!

Did they Catch the Tenants?

No. The two tenants have vanished.  And she now realizes the legal system cannot help her.

This is why the landlord is issuing a warning to other Alberta landlords.

What is her Warning?

She doesn’t want anyone else to make the same mistakes she made and face the horrible mess she now faces.

Who is Sending Out the Warning?

The Landlords name is Pat Nielsen.

What Happened?

Nielsen says she rented her home to a couple of tenants for two years.

During the first summer, Nielsen took notice the two tenants were not properly taking care of the property.

For Example?

She saw the tenants never mowed the law or cleared all the weeds growing in the yard.  She would always have to ask them to keep up the property and it would take them a long time to get around to actually doing it.

What Did She Do?

Nielsen saw history repeating itself this Spring.  Weeds were overgrowing the property and the lawn wasn’t being cut.

And?

She decided “enough was enough” with these two tenants.  She issued them an eviction notice.  She made it clear she wanted both of them gone from her property within a month.

Did the Tenants Leave After a Month?

The tenants pleaded with her for more time.  Eventually Nielsen gave in and decided to give them up to 90 days to move out.  This meant they would have to vacate by the end of July.

What Happened Next?

Earlier this week, she posted a 24 hour inspection notice after their cheques bounced.  This wasn’t the first time their cheques bounced.

Nielson says she went to the property and the tenants were gone.  They had left a mess that was out of this world.


The mess included old equipment, rotten boxes and trash outside.

Inside was even worse.

There were cat feces, empty food containers, dirt in the carpets, clothing and damages to the property.

Horrible!  What did the Landlord Do Next?

The landlord contacted the police.  The officers showed their sympathy but  told her they couldn’t do anything because she failed to complete a “Move-In Report.”  This is an inspection that is required to be done under the Alberta Residential Tenancies Act.

A Moving In and Moving Out Inspection Report?

Service Alberta’s Mike Berezowsky states that according to the Alberta Residential Tenancies Act, landlords and tenants much both complete a Move In and Move Out inspection report.

According to Berzowsky:

“If there isn’t an inspection report done when a tenant moves it, if there’s a dispute later on it makes it more difficult if there are some problems.”   He continues,  “Say, for example, the landlord wants to seek some compensation to damages to the property, well, there’s no evidence of what kind of state the property was in when the tenant moved in.”

What is Nielsen’s Warning to Other Landlords?

Nielsen confesses not getting that inspecting report done was a huge mistake.  She hopes other landlords will learn from it.

She wants all landlords to hear her message: “Please don’t make the mistake I made because this is what can happen: that you can find a tenant that can just wreck your whole place.”

It Looks Like There Should be More to Her Warning

Even if she had done the “Move In Inspection” it may not have helped her. 

As the latest Tenant from Hell in Ontario has shown, bad tenants are tricky.

In order to collect money from Tenants from Hell you must be able to find them and take them to court.

Even if you win, you may not collect a cent.  Tenants with bad credit ratings or without stable employment are nearly impossible to collect from.

So How Can a Landlord Truly Protect Themselves?

One way is by doing a credit check on a prospective tenant before handing over the key.

Edmonton Landlord Meets Tenants From Hell

Saturday, April 14th, 2012

April 14th, 2012

An Edmonton Landlord Learned the Lesson of Doing Due Diligence

An Edmonton woman says she has learned her lesson about doing due diligence as a landlord after destructive tenants left her with a hefty repair bill.

Allison McMillan thought she had the ideal renter when she met the family with two small children and both parents had steady employment.

Reality Sets In

However, when the family was late with the rent McMillan tried to contact the family. She noticed a window was smashed and the place smelled like urine.

An Attempt at Eviction

McMillan tried to evict the family and took them to court to get the back rent, but the tenants didn’t show up at court.

The House was “Destroyed”

McMillan then found the home destroyed. She says floors and carpets were caked with dog urine and feces, furniture and garbage were left behind and walls were covered in bingo dauber ink.

“The filthiest bathroom you can imagine. The smell was incredibly overwhelming,” she told Global News, “The downstairs bathroom was where they did the most damage because they flushed rags down the toilet. And some other things that I don’t even want to mention.”

Repairs could run more than $16,000. McMillan let the family only pay half the damage deposit of $600.

Landlords can protect themselves with a detailed contract, inspections and by scrutinizing tenants carefully.

Did the Landlord do a Credit Check?

“(They can do a) credit check,” explains Mike Berezowsky of Service Alberta, “they can do an employment check to make sure that person is gainfully employed and they should also do a reference check with previous landlords if that’s possible.”

“It was me who picked these renters,” she says, “I’m the one who didn’t do proper background checks. I’m the one who should have got better background checks, but I trusted them as a family.”

What about a Secure Lease and Move-In Inspection?

She also didn’t have a rental contract or written move-in inspection.

Landlords can take a tenant to court or residential tenancy dispute resolution service to evict them or get compensation. However they have to find the tenant first. That won’t be easy for McMillan, a student who now is taking a second job to try to fix the mess left behind.

 

 

 

As a small business landlord, I highly recommend TVS!

Saturday, December 4th, 2010
I have to admit that while I’ve been a landlord for a while I have never done a credit check. I always looked at work references and called the previous landlord. Not that long ago I did these screening techniques, it was all fine, and I still got burned when the tenant changed jobs. I have now joined up as an OLA member and have started making credit checks using TVS (Tenant Verification Systems).  TVS has been very helping in screening tenants.   I have verified tenant applications and found ‘holes’ in some applications that I never would have seen before.  I would recommend doing a TVS credit check for every applicant you are thinking of handing over the keys to!
R. Francis
Toronto

Tenant Screening Advice from the Debt Collector Who Tracks Them Down

Saturday, September 11th, 2010

By Kristen Fraser, TVS Staff Writer

Collecting tenant debts is an unfortunate aspect of renting.

Having the proper tenant screening information will save you time and money.

Michael Tinant, an employee at Wiggins Adjustments, a long time established collection agency in Vancouver, explains that the “more information given on a rental application, the easier it is to track down renters.”

He recommends that landlords, Realtors, and property managers keep a file of all tenants’:

* Social Insurance Numbers
* Dates of birth
* Previous addresses
* Employers
* Personal references

Having such information on file can also act as a deterrent for tenants considering delinquent behaviors.

Collecting tenant debt can be stress free with the help of a tenant debt collection agency. Most agencies only require payment from the landlord when payment is collected from the tenant. Generally, collection agencies charge around 35% of the money collected. Be careful to read the small print as many agencies charges increase if the collection is less than $250. Individual agencies vary, make sure to research different agencies and choose the service that best suits you.

To minimize the risk of tenant debt, it is strongly recommended that landlords, Realtors and property managers have the prospective tenant read and sign a Notice to Tenant form available from Tenant Verification Service alerting the tenant that bad habits will be reported to TVS, a tenant credit reporting agency.

These forms make a very strong impact statement and will reduce the risk of tenant debt and of late rent payments.

The Bentley-driving tenant from hell

Thursday, August 26th, 2010

By MICHELE MANDEL, Toronto Sun

She’s b-a-a-a-a-ck.

The Bentley-driving, condo-trashing tenant from hell who likes to claim she’s a Persian princess is back before the Landlord and Tenant Board for the umpteenth time.

Call her Mojgan Amir-Davani — or by her other six known monikers: Mozhe Aamere, Mozhe (Mozhgan) Avanni, Mozhe Amerjhajar, Mozhe Sheena Mere, Mozhgan Amere Ghajaar or Amiri Mojgan.

Whatever her alias, her modus operandi is the same: She’s terrorized at least four high-end condo owners in North York, convincing them she’s a successful broadcasting executive only to turn into a destructive squatter who expertly plays the system for months of free rent before she’s finally turfed out and moves on to her next victim.

We first told her tale here in January, of frustrated landlord Jane Randall who rented her investment property to the dark haired beauty only to be stiffed with $12,000 in unpaid rent and thousands more in damage.

Claiming to be suffering from cancer and refusing to move, her dog’s feces spilling off her balcony, the carpets stained with blood and urine, Amir-Davani was brilliantly manipulative.

When Randall repeatedly turned to the tenancy board for help, she was told to wait. And wait some more.

Six months later, she finally left only to move down the street into a Hollywood Ave. condo owned by another small landlord who’s now going through the same horror story.

We’ll call him Frank because he’s too embarrassed to use his real name. Renting out his two-bedroom luxury unit for the first time, the 35-year-old scientist was counting on the $1,920 monthly rent to help pay off his student loans and mortgage.

He figured his realtor had found him the ideal tenant when she arrived in a chauffeur-driven Bentley to sign the deal in February.

She said she was newly arrived from California and provided a reference no one seems to have checked.

Within a few months, his kitchen was damaged by fire, tenants below were complaining about feces dripping from her balcony and her rent cheques began to bounce as hard as a rubber ball.

Amir-Davani didn’t respond to a request for comment.

During a recent inspection, a contractor told Frank it will cost $9,800 to repair the damage so far. He’s also out $2,000 in legal fees and at least $6,000 in arrears.

“It’s hard to sleep some nights,” Frank admits. “The financial cost is one thing. But then there’s the emotional thing: Is she ever going to be out?”

He’s turned to Harry Fine, president of Landlord Solutions and the paralegal who helped evict Amir-Davani from a Harrison Garden condo in 2007.

“I see it every week and my heart goes out to them,” says Fine of naive landlords scammed by professional squatters. “They don’t check references. They don’t do credit checks.”

She finally agreed to move by Aug. 7 as long as Frank waived her back rent and damages. Not surprisingly, the date came and went, with her still comfortably ensconced in his ruined condo.

What she didn’t know is that Fine arranged for her to be confronted by Frank, Randall, and her 2007 landlord when she arrived at her eviction hearing Aug. 9.

“Like a husband walking into a room to be faced by his three ex-wives who had been exchanging stories, the tenant walked into the hearing room Monday morning to find not one but three of her victims,” Fine recalls. “She was furious.”

A landlord and tenant adjudicator gave her until Aug. 31 to leave. But Frank’s hardly home free: As soon as Amir-Davani files an appeal — and she’s vowed to do so — he’ll be back waiting for yet another hearing and yet another eviction date.

“The legal system just takes forever and is so weighted to the side of tenants,” he complains.

Which makes even less sense when this notorious tenant has been the subject of so many eviction hearings.

“She’s been in the exact same hearing room and still it goes on? How does someone get away with that?” he sighs.

“She’s the tenant from hell and beyond.”

http://www.torontosun.com/news/columnists/michele_mandel/2010/08/20/15092061.html

Landlords Burned by Internet Scammers

Monday, July 19th, 2010

Recently a Newfoundland landlord found himself in a controversy regarding a rental ad he posted on Kijiji.ca.

After advertising his condo rental, the landlord was contacted by a potential tenant who referred to an ad for the same                                                                    

property on another Internet classified site, Craigslist.

Suspicious, the landlord researched Craigslist and indeed found his property advertised by an impostor.

The fake landlord was asking half the rent, and allowing both smoking and pets on the property, which the actual landlord had restricted.

The local police found there was nothing they could do to stop the fraud.  Craigslist also failed to pull the ad or warn potential victims of the fraud, so the landlord took matters into his own hands.  He contacted the fraudsters directly, and posed as a tenant to gain more information.

He was told to send a deposit, and upon receipt of the funds, the “landlord” would ship the keys.  He was invited to view the apartment on his own.  Eventually, the scammers became suspicious of the real landlord’s probing inquiry, and pulled the ad.

In a related incident, a RCMP officer went undercover to bust an Internet rental scam in Kelowna, B.C.  In this case, a teenager and her 21-year old friend posted an ad for a rental on Castanet. The 17-year old posed as the landlord’s daughter.  A victim deposited some money in the “landlord’s” bank account without becoming suspicious of the scam. The victim believed that the property could not be shown at that time because it was currently occupied. A few days later, another victim posted a warning on the Internet regarding that ad.  That prompted a call to the police.

The fraudsters made the mistake of continuing to communicate with their victim and demanded the rest of the agreed-upon payment. But instead of meeting with the victim, the cons met an undercover officer.  Both were arrested and charged with fraud.

In the U.S., landlords have been warned by the F.B.I. of a rash on similar Internet scams.  Perhaps the most notorious was a couple who moved across country to an Arizona home offered for rent in Craigslist.  The family of nine could not believe the luck of finding a large house with a swimming pool for such low rent and immediately sent a deposit to hold the property.  In this case, the tenants were given access, and actually started moving into the property before the real owner returned from vacation to find the  family in her home.

In an act of great kindness, the owner allowed the victimized tenants to remain for some time until they could find another place to live.

While some of these frauds may seen obvious to landlords, who understand the normal rental process, they are not so obvious to renters.  It is estimated that scammers often net thousands of dollars from each of these fake ads.

Some landlords are becoming skeptical of posting Internet ads, and relying instead upon rental signs, or newspaper classifieds. Others post warning within their own ads, for instance, advising that all applicants must meet with the landlord personally, and the approved applicant will undergo a credit check before they will be asked to pay a deposit.

This post is provided by Tenant Verification Services, Inc., helping landlords reduce the risks of renting with fraud prevention tools that include Tenant Screening, Tenant Background Checks, (U.S. and Canada), as well as Criminal Background Checks, and Eviction Reports (U.S. only).


Wednesday, July 7th, 2010

Tenant Screening: Tips for Verifying Applicant’s Income

by Chris on July 5, 2010

While performing a tenant background check, it’s important to keep the focus on profitability.  Does this candidate possess the potential to pay rent for the entire term of the lease?

Tenant Screening for the Traditional Applicant

The majority of rental applicants will have traditional employment.  An employer reference is a crucial part of your tenant background check.

Be certain that the company you are seeking a reference from is a legitimate business concern,  not a fiction or a business wholely owned by the applicant.

Some employers are reluctant to discuss an employee over the phone, or may insist they do not offer employee references.

There are two ways to handle that situation:

First, you could offer to fax a copy of the verification statement from the application to the employer to show the employee’s authorization to release information.

Alternatively, you may place the onus on the applicant to ask their personnel office to release the information you need.  Be persistent and do not move forward with the applicant until you are able to verify the applicant’s employment history and salary.
Tenant Screening of Self-Employed Tenants

Many entreprenuers prefer self-employment to a standard job.  Today, self employment is a popular alternative to unemployment; however, more than half of these businesses will fail within the first four years.

When verifying income of the self-employed candidate, job history becomes a crucial part of the tenant screening process.  A candidate who has chosen self-employment as a way of life is probably more suited for the business world than someone who is scrambling to recover after a job layoff.

The self-employed applicant may not keep payroll records, although that may be required to properly assess taxes.  Indeed, the payment of taxes – or rather the incorrect payment of taxes and fees, may be what puts the business under.  Perhaps the biggest risk a landlord faces when renting to a self-employed tenant is having a business  creditor garnish the income.

Successful candidates will have banking and tax records to verify income.

Tenant credit reports are indispensible in showing if the self-employed candidate is overspending, or struggling to fund a business venture.

When conducting a tenant background check on the self-employed, look for:

  • Appropriate licensing
  • Listings in local business directories
  • Banking statements
  • Corporate records
  • Client references

If you find little evidence of the self-employed business outside of the rental application, you may have cause to worry about this tenant’s  potential.

Once you have collected the income information you need:

Decide if the applicant’s  income is enough to justify the rental price of your property.  Typically, rent should not exceed one-third to one-half of overall income.

Determine whether the applicant has a steady work history.  Bouncing between jobs is a sign this candidate may not possess the commitment needed to be a good renter.  Periods of unemployment foreshadow bills going unpaid.

Also, look for clues that  the applicant is spending beyond their means.

This post is provided by Tenant Verification Services, Inc., helping landlords reduce the risks of renting with fraud prevention tools that include Tenant Screening, Tenant Background Checks, (U.S. and Canada)