Published in The Northern Sentinel, Kitimat BC April 2018
In a perfect world, a homeowner would wholeheartedly believe that when they entrusted their personal home and investment to someone, that the property and its contents would be treated with respect and care.
Since our world is far from perfect, many apartment complexes and homeowners face thousands of dollars in repairs and cleaning expenses when a tenant has left a big mess and caused damage to walls, appliances, floors and windows.
Thankfully, there are many respectful people that genuinely care and return rental property back to the homeowner in good and clean condition. During their tenancy they paid their rent on time, every month. Leaks, plugged drains, broken items and other issues were reported to the homeowner as soon as they were noticed. When it was time for the tenant to move out, they gave proper written notice and left the home cleaner than they found it. Snow was promptly removed and the lawn was kept clean and was regularly mowed. These types of people are referred to as “Good Tenants’.
The evil twin to the Good Tenant is the Bad Tenant. Bad Tenants come in all shapes, sizes, economic backgrounds, ethnicities and education levels. One thing is certain…a Bad Tenant will cost you a lot of time and stress and may even cost you a lot of money.
How to spot a Bad Tenant:
A Bad Tenant is almost always late on rent and has a new excuse every time. They don’t particularly care about housekeeping – who needs to see the counters or floors anyway? A Bad Tenant will not report any leaks or issues until it becomes a big problem; then they will blame the reconstruction inconvenience on the homeowner for not knowing there was a leak or problem to fix in the first place.
A Bad Tenant will move out without proper notice and will most likely leave the home or apartment in a huge mess by leaving behind all the junk and garbage they couldn’t or wouldn’t haul out themselves. Many times, this results in pest control problems, such as fruit flies, because food is left inside the home in garbage bags or the fridge is full of meat or vegetables and the power has been cut off.
How do you avoid a Bad Tenant?
The simple answer to that is, you can’t. Every tenant is different so every tenant is a gamble. Some Bad Tenants come with all the right references, they have a good job, they have excellent credit and first month’s rent and the security deposits are paid in full. Some Bad Tenants know the system and can charm you with their promises and dishonest references.
The only way to avoid letting a Bad Tenant carry out their evil plan of destruction and abandonment is to inspect the home regularly. Friend, family, co-worker or arch-enemy – they are all the same. You might think that your long lost niece from Vancouver or your high school best friend can be trusted with your house, but you are wrong.
My #1 piece of advice to anyone that wants to rent out their property is to inspect, inspect, inspect! Your revenue property is your responsibility. Be diligent about protecting your investment. It could literally mean the difference between fast rental turn over and shelling out thousands of dollars in cleaning and repairs.
The blah-blah-blah part…I am not a licensed Property Manager, but I have managed over 1400 units in 10 years as a Resident Manager. The subject matter and its contents are based on my professional experience and are my personal opinion.