Tenants From Hell (and How to Avoid Them)
They make up a small percentage of renters and as much as we’d like to think they don’t exist, tenants from hell are out there and you need to know how to avoid them
You’ve heard about them and may have had one, or two yourself – late rent payments, excessive partying and noise that disrupts the entire neighbourhood, and let’s not forget the ones who through plain negligence destroy your property, resulting in hundreds to thousands of dollars’ worth of damage, not to mention the headaches and legal fees that come with evicting them. The Tenants from Hell – a landlord’s worst nightmare.
Recently, a Toronto couple’s story made headlines when they discovered that their four-bedroom Victorian home in the Dundas and Ossington area was turned into an illegal boarding house while they were working abroad. Journalists Wilf Dinnick and Sonia Verna rented their home to a man who said all the right things – he was a successful business development executive at a Toronto tech company, drove a Range Rover, had over $44,000 in his chequing account and even offered to pay $4,000 per month in rent — $400 above asking to secure the lease when other potential tenants showed interest.
The tenant, Jesse Gubb, created a number of partitions in the house and illegally sublet the rooms, housing up to 16 people at a time, charging each person up to $560 per month in rent. Upon inspection, nine violations were logged resulting in over $50,000 in fines that the landlords were responsible for. Luckily, the fines were dropped due to their cooperation in the investigation leading up to Gubb’s fraud conviction. They also later discovered he was no stranger to the law, having been convicted on previous fraud and drug possession charges.
We’d like to believe that up to 99% of tenants are good people, however, there is that lingering one percent that you’d need to watch out for. Although the boarding house incident was an extreme case, it still serves as a resounding wake-up call to landlords and property investors. Properties don’t run on autopilot and damages don’t pay for themselves. One must be knowledgeable about the legal intricacies involved in renting out a property as well as the work involved. Hiring a reputable property manager to deal with everything from background, reference and credit checks, to repairs, routine maintenance, inspection and rent collection gives investors security and peace of mind, knowing that their property is being cared for and has not secretly turned into a circus venue.