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.
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.
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.
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.
“(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.”
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.