I recently read several articles in The Toronto Star about nightmare tenant Nina Willis and how she managed to avoid paying rent for almost an entire year. Ms. Willis used her knowledge of the Rental Housing Tribunal and Appeal Court procedures to delay her eventual eviction, and in the process almost financially ruined the owner of the property she occupied.
This doesn’t have to happen and one way to help avoid situations like this is for landlords to properly screen their tenants.
Many small landlords rent out the investment properties they have purchased and get into the “landlord business” with no training in business or otherwise. Most small landlords rely on their tenants to pay the mortgages on their investment properties and can be financially ruined with just one bad tenant.
Some small landlords might have a rental agreement of sorts, documents they may have picked up from the internet, but most do not utilize the services of a paralegal to ensure that they have a proper enforceable rental lease agreement. Not all landlords conduct background and credit checks on their prospective tenants. Some Landlord’s may ask for employment letters, credit checks and references, but few follow up and actually contact the people whose names have been provided to them by prospective tenants. To not check a tenant’s employment, credit history or references is to rent to them at your peril.
Conducting employment, credit and reference checks should be the standard procedure that a Landlord utilizes to help weed out the good tenants from the bad tenants. Contact a paralegal to help you streamline the tenant evaluation process by providing you with an enforceable Rental/Lease agreement and information on the resources that can be utilized to help you protect yourself against unscrupulous tenants.
This article originally appeared on equipoiseparalegal