Posts Tagged ‘damages’

Alberta Landlords Speak Out: “Something Must Be Done About Midnight Move-Outs ASAP”

Sunday, October 29th, 2017

Alberta landlords speak out

Landlords Speak Out and Share Their Concerns and Opinions on the Rental Industry

As part of our “Let’s Improve the Alberta Rental Industry” we have invited landlords and tenants to share their opinions on how we can make these improvements. These opinions are from individual contributors and are not the opinions of the Alberta Landlords Association. We believe by fostering communication between landlords and tenants we can improve the Alberta rental industry. Landlords and tenants can share your thoughts and opinions by emailing us at landlordtenantsolutions@groupmail.com

Renters Did a Midnight-Moveout, breaking the lease and leaving $1,200 in damages to the basement rental

Renters did a midnight move out, breaking the lease and leaving $1,200 in damages to the basement rental

There Are Too Many Renters Who View Midnight Move-Outs As An Option To Break A Lease

As landlords for over 30 years we want the “powers that be” to be aware of something we didn’t really see before so much. Over the past year and a half we have had two renters pull what is called a “midnight move out” or a “midnight run” on us. 

They still had months left on the lease and we made it crystal clear from day one we expected them to fulfill the full terms of what they agreed to sign on for. We didn’t hide anything from them. We put the lease in front of them, explained the terms, and they signed the contract.

Fair and square, right?

The way consenting adults interact with each other.

No games played.

And what makes it even worse is they were unethical and broke the contract and didn’t even try to contact us to try to work something out!

We never had this type of calculated behaviour by our renters before. Sure over the years there were a issues we had to deal with.  Sometimes renters brought in some pets.  Another situation was a the boyfriend was charged with assaulting the girlfriend. 

A couple times we had to explain that cat pee on the carpet wasn’t wear and tear and they had to pay for the cleaning or replacement of the carpets. We had some people suffer job losses and we worked with them to break the lease in a way that both sides agreed to was fair.

Just about all of the challenges we’ve had were not really calculated to rip us off, but because the renters were having their own problems or were just careless.

In all the years we never had someone lie to our faces before so matter of fact. Lie to our faces that everything was good and then the rent check bounces and we go and see the place has been abandoned.

Going inside in both cases showed how disrespectful some renters are these days. The fridge wasn’t clean and the oven was full of grease. The bathrooms were not in good shape and there was some broken drywall. In one place they left a lot of garbage around that costs us money to clean up and dump. At least have the courtesy to dump your garbage.

Give me a break!

WE ARE NOT HAPPY AND THIS NEEDS TO BE FIXED BEFORE IT GETS WORSE

The bad news is we hear from other Alberta landlords midnight move outs are becoming more common these days. A lot of hard working landlords are losing a lot of money.  You just don’t lose it in lost rent, you lose it because it costs so much time and money to fix a place up to get it rent ready again.

Right off the bat don’t expect any “legalese” from me because I’m not a lawyer or anything. I’m a small hard-working landlord with a few rentals thanks to the hard work of my Hubby and me.So we don’t have the answer to how to fix this. 

Just something needs to be done because nowadays we even see in the news how shocking it is Alberta renters see a ‘Midnight run as an easy way to break the lease and screw the landlord!

Renters Need To Understand What Landlords Go Through To Market Our Rentals

I emailed in because I want to help other landlords and educate them.

What We Learned and Maybe This Can Help Others Out There

With all the people trying to rent out their units these days we made some mistakes that we don’t usually do. Hubby and me want to share what happened to us and what we did wrong.

1. We Didn’t Do a Credit Check

This was a big mistake as we thought past bad credit experiences was important but we needed to rent out our properties and not leave them empty.  But now it does like never before. DON’T RENT TO PEOPLE WITH BAD CREDIT BECAUSE THEY HAVE NOTHING TO LOSE! It’s not only the credit score, but you can see if they went bankrupt or if other people are chasing them for bad debts.

2. We Believed Their Nice Story

The people who ran from us had the best stories. It’s almost like they prepare to screw good landlords.

In our last case they had a really long 15 minute speech how they were hardworking people but their last landlords was a total bad guy who never fixed anything and they had to leave because they worried about mold. Oh, they were looking to stay for at least a couple years and probably more as the “put in roots in the community” and “when up the corporate ladder at their jobs.” LOL.

3. We Didn’t Take A Damage Deposit

Because so many landlords are urgently looking to end vacancies and fill their units we are not even demanding a security deposit. We did the same. This was stupid on our part!  With no Alberta damage deposit we get no protection.  Hindsight is 20/20 but we would have saved a lot of money waiting and not going against our usual tenant screening system.

The System Does Not Protect Alberta Landlords And It’s Getting Worse

The real problem is landlords not protected by the Alberta system these days.

It’s too easy for renters to use the system to rip us off and end up costing us some real financial losses. After many years in the industry we had two midnight move outs in a short period of time. It cost us a big chunk of our savings just to keep afloat and keep our rentals on the market for the next renters.

When the vacancy rate was really low a few years back and a few landlords were being a bit unfair the media and the politicians were all over it. Where are they now that small landlords keep getting shafted?

The powers that be must find a way to stop this because it really us good people renting out good properties. If it’s so easy to rip of a landlord now who will invest in rentals in Alberta?

Word spreads fast and people won’t just invest to commit financial suicide! Landlords are hard working people and we need to be protected from the bad people out there who can’t afford to be ripped off. The real problem is landlords are not protected by the Alberta system these days.

You won’t hear this from real estate agents or people trying to sell you “how to make big money being a landlord in Alberta” but the reality is it’s too easy for renters to use the system to rip off landlords and end up ruining us financially!

Tuesday, January 11th, 2011

Home wreckers

By CHERYL BROWNE, SPECIAL TO THE EXAMINER

Her rental property damaged by her former tenants, owner Nancy Lowe is now trying to repair the damaged and receiving little help from authorities or her insurance. Nancy looks though one of the several broken windows left by her former tenants.

Nancy Lowe can only describe her house as a pigsty.

Walking into her rental property on Campbell Avenue the day after her tenants left, Lowe discovered damage to every room in the house.

“There’s stains everywhere, there’s holes in all the walls, it looks like they had anger management issues and punched holes in the walls and doors,” she said, shaking her head as she surveyed the damage.

Lowe bought the house in the Barrie’s central neighbourhood in June 2009 as a rental property.

She was impressed with the brand-new carpets, new hardwood floors and fresh paint job.

To keep her heating costs down, she put on a new steel tile roof and began interviewing prospective tenants.

After meeting the parents of one young man and calling the young woman’s boss, she felt she’d done due diligence and let the three friends move in.

While monthly payments weren’t the issue, a few incidents she now considers red flags cross her mind as she remembers the year.

Once, her husband dropped by the house after a large snowfall and had to tell the tenants not to snowboard off the roof of the old garage.

Another time, Mitch Martin, the upstairs tenant, called her about the destructive noises coming from below.

“It sounded like they had a couple of brawls,” said Martin, 29, who lived in the apartment above the tenants for the full year.

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There was confusion over the thermostat levels and blown fuses a few times that weren’t a big deal, he said.

However, loud music caused enough of a disturbance, the next door neighbour called the police on several occasions, he said.

“You don’t put your nose into other people’s business,” said Martin.

But when he heard a loud crash as if something was smashed against the basement door — he shares the stairwell and the sounds travels — he felt compelled to call the landlord.

The hole in the basement door suggests he might be right.

Lowe’s complaints — while some are simple wear and tear from a bit more than gentle use of the floors and carpets — stem from the three broken windows, a toilet that was rarely if ever cleaned, and huge gouges out of the enamel on the bathroom tub.

Fortunately, she said, she has before and after photos that show the extremely clean condition before the tenants moved in.

A walk through the central Barrie house now shows ripped tiles, a six-inch ragged hole made through a kitchen cupboard into a bedroom for an extension cord, and broken kitchen patio doors; Lowe can put her fingers through the broken frame.

Lowe complained to Barrie police regarding the destruction of her property, but there’s little they can do.

Const. Toni Dufour said there’s not enough evidence to lay a charge.

“We did contact one of the tenants, who said the damage was done by an unknown person — there’s been several parties since he moved in — but unless there’s a witness, we can’t lay charges,” said Dufour.

Her advice to the landlord is follow up in a civil court of law.

However, Landlord Legal owner April Stewart said she’s literally got binders full of judgments she hasn’t been able to collect on.

“You can’t get blood from a stone,” said Stewart.

The local paralegal said the services she’s created to assist landlords collect from destructive or non-paying tenants has kept her running off her feet trying to collect outstanding money owed to landlords.

“I want to stress, this isn’t necessarily a problem with 20- year-olds. I’ve seen just as many adults, right up to 60, who are irresponsible. And they’re enabled by this legislation.”

The biggest problem is the current landlord tenant act favours the tenant, she said.

Police can’t always prove mischief, or the tenant may even have a previous eviction notice, but the sheriff can’t legally tell a prospective landlord about it.

“There’s no freedom of information about this. There’s nothing in the system to protect the landlord,” she said.

In the future, Stewart said, when a landlord is approached by younger renters, ask the parents to act as guarantors for their children. Perform a credit check; it will show if a tenant has bounced cheques. And, ask to see photo identification; some renters will use a family member’s ID if they know a sibling has a better credit history.

“Visit in the first 30 days to see how they live,” said Stewart.

Landlords are required to give 24-hour written notice, but regular drop-ins are worth it.

Last month, a new tenant moved into the house on Campbell Avenue

He’s put up posters to cover the worst of the damage, steam-cleaned the carpets and carried the majority of the last owners refuse out to the garage — or just thrown it out for the trash.

He said he’s rented quite a few apartments, but “never saw anything as bad as this.

“I’m a patient man, I don’t mind waiting for her to fix this,” said the new tenant, who requested that his name not be used. “It’s not her fault, but it’s her responsibility to fix it.”

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