What Can a Landlord Do to Help Avoid Legal Problems?
A Landlord Can Follow the Tips Below As Well As Other Hints For Success That Are Drawn Upon From the Collective Experience of the Paralegals At Anderson Aylwin Begg & Co. Who Are Highly Focused on Helping Landlords.
Understanding How to Avoid Some of the Mistakes and Pitfalls That Landlords Commonly Fall Into
When a landlord is able to select a quality tenant that pays rent on time, raises few maintenance concerns, if any, and is a tenant who is appreciative of the various challenges that a landlord faces, a positive and healthy relationship can exist between between the landlord and the tenant resulting in fewer, if any, disputes that evolve into costly legal issues.
8 Tips to Help
The majority of tenant relations should be positive experiences whereas reasonable people treat others with mutual respect; and accordingly, common sense practices involving thoughtful appreciation go a long way towards minimizing troublesome issues. With this said, a landlord should still take prudent proactive steps to secure the best position possible for the landlord. Here are eight success tips that may help a landlord:
When you have a tenant problem act promptly without waiting in hopes that the situation will get better. Avoid writing a dozen letters expressing the same concerns over and over again. Instead, provide one warning via one letter and then take immediate steps towards termination by issuing the legally required Notice document as applicable to the specific situation.
For many common situations, the N5 - Notice to End your Tenancy For Interfering with Others, Damage or Overcrowding form, which instructs the tenant to correct improper behaviour, is remedial; and accordingly, if the tenant responds by correcting the behaviour, the problem goes away. Alternatively, when a landlord delays, the landlord simply makes the problem worse whereas the improper behaviour becomes more entrenched; and additionally, the failure to act by the landlord may result in the disturbance of other tenants; and accordingly, the landlord becomes legally exposed to meritorious compensation claims from other tenants.
Remember, a landlord is legally required to diligently address a problem tenant so to minimize any interference in the reasonable enjoyment of other tenants living within the rental complex. Delay fails to remedy the primary problem and may lead to secondary problems.
Tenant issues that landlords commonly fail to promptly address include, among other things:
- The refusal by a tenant to allow the landlord to enter a rental unit;
- The failure of a tenant to prepare for bed bug treatment;
- The failure of a tenant to prepare for maintenance;
- The disruptive conduct of a tenant such as unreasonable noise; and
- The prompt repair of undue damage by the tenant.
When a tenant moves out and leaves strangers behind, avoid trying to suck and blow at the same time! What is meant here is that it is a common reaction for a landlord to gladly accept rent from the occupying strangers and be happy with that; however, a few months later, when the rent is unpaid and damage or disruption occurs, the landlord will attempt to state that the occupying strangers are trespassers without the rights of a tenant.
However, the law forbids a landlord from changing positions whereas if the landlord begins treating occupying strangers as tenants, the landlord is unable to later take a different position.
Accordingly, when a tenant moves out and leaves strangers within the rental unit, the landlord must promptly decide whether to accept the strangers as tenants or whether to take steps to remove the strangers. If the landlord wishes to keep the strangers as tenants, then a proper lease should be put into place. If the landlord wishes the strangers removed, then an A2 - Application about a Sublet or an Assignment should be brought to the Landlord Tenant Board.
For more information about this type of situation, see the Landlord Tenant Board Interpretation Guideline #21.
Avoid sending your paid paralegal or lawyer to the hearing for a rent application without knowing that there are a number of alleged issues involving maintenance concerns, harassing conduct, insurance claims, etc., that are side issues going on behind the scenes. The failure to inform your legal representative of the full scope of issues involved, may result in a lack of preparedness resulting in an adjournment that It just delays the rent arrears case whereas the unpreparedness may include, among other things, an absence of evidence or witness that can testify about the issue. Remember, an adjournment causes delay and thus rent arrears mount even further.
Avoid making any side-deals with a tenant regarding payment of rent arrears after the Landlord Tenant Board has ruled and you received a conditional payment Order or a standard remedial Order. If you have an Order, and the tenant fails to comply withj the Order, file the L4 Form upon occurrence of the first breach of Order (or with the Sheriff on a standard order) and be done with the matter. If you start having alternate arrangement discussions with the tenant such may jeopardize the terms of the Order that is already received. Essentially, you may unintentionally provide fodder and power to the tenant to argue that a subsequent enforceable alternate agreement was put into place.
Refrain from allowing a tenant to move-in without providing payment of the first-and-last month rent and without proof of transfer of the financial responsibility for utilities, if such is part of the agreement. Have a properly written lease, using the legally required form, and which states that only the tenant holds a right to occupy the unit. Provide they keys and allow move-in only when these requirements and obligations are met. To assist you, buy our package of tenancy documents which is only $75.00 plus applicable tax.
Avoid implementing lease terms that alter, waive, or contradict, the Residential Tenancies Act, 2006 whereas the statutory law applies regardless of any lease terms that state otherwise. Any creative agreements made about rent, entry rights, maintenance responsibility, among other things, that fail to comply with the law are without force and affect. For example, it is the responsibility of the landlord to perform property maintenance such as snow shoveling or lawn cuttting, among other things. To learn more about these issues, see the Landlord Tenant Board Interpretation Guideline #19.
Use a N8 - Notice to Terminate a Tenancy at the End of the Term for persistent late rent along with an N4 - Notice to End a Tenancy Early for Non-payment of Rent for an arrears of rent. These forms, as the precursor for commencing a proceeding with the Landlord Tenant Board, are highly effective, less prone to attracting relief from eviction, are about conduct, rather than rent (in the event your tenant assigns himself into bankruptcy, you can still evict) and also provide support for a without nonsense Order rather than a merry-go-round of Landlord Tenant Board appearances.
Avoiding granting parking spots without using due care. Appreciate that tenants are without a right to parking access until you grant such a right and that providing a service, utility, or amenity, should be added by agreement only and for reasonable compensation. Parking rights are a valuable commodity, that you can make immediately available within the lease or as a negotiated add-on at a later date. Before you grant rights to a parking spot, make sure a parking agreement is signed as confirmation of an agreement that there is a monthly rate for the parking spot (which becomes part of the rent), and make sure that the tenant pays an update to the last month rent deposit that is equal to the parking spot rate before providing the right to parking. Be sure to make common sense clear rules within your lease regarding the terms of the parking arrangement.