Jane Schweitzer says writing an ad for an available rental property has become a minefield thanks to the glaring eye of the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC).Schweitzer, a Hamilton resident who owns several rental properties and Assistant Moderator of the Ontario Landlords Association forums, says the commission’s recent campaign to address “discriminatory housing advertisements” goes too far. (more…)
Posts Tagged ‘tenant screening’
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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
* 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.
By MICHELE MANDEL, Toronto Sun
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.”
Recently a Newfoundland landlord found himself in a controversy regarding a rental ad he posted on Kijiji.ca.
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.
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)
Information posted on one of Canada’s most popular websites:
A: Help! I’m breaking my lease, but the new landlord needs a reference from my previous landlord!
B: In case you havent figured out – most tenants put on a cell number of a friend for the reference, then claim that person was the landlord for either your present place, or a previous place. Same for work reference for tenant applications. Think about it for a second – most places you rent are private residential properties. The owners aren’t too thorough! I trust you know what do, something that is already done by probably 70% of the other applicants!