Tenants from hell

Being a small-time landlord is not all that it is cracked up to be. Sure, when the market is booming and condo prices keep rising, there is money to be had. However, there are lots of headaches for most landlords, potential losses for some and economic disaster for a few.

Deadbeat renters
Yes they exist and the small-time condo investor can be easy prey. Many condo landlords do not pay for professionals to approval their leasing applicants. This saves them a few dollars but that could lead to disaster.

In my old condo, one friend owned two units that he rented out. One tenant stiffed him for four months rent and another stiffed him for two months. Both tenants skipped out without giving prior notice. He wasn't making any money off these units and capital gains, if they come, will take years to appear as that condo corporation is going down market.

Many real estate agents advise clients not to rent to students. They may overcrowd the apartment with other students, damage the unit and they tend to be horrible housekeepers. Worse, they may skip out in the middle of the night owing several months of back rent.

A townhouse near York University caught on fire on 01 April 2013. It was up for sale at the time but it was so badly damaged that 15 students were made homeless. Fifteen students rooming in one townhouse?

Renters from hell
Other renters know how to use the Residential Tenancies Act to milk their landlords. If you get one of these, your life will be miserable.

In the fiscal year 2010-2011, Toronto's Landlord Tenant Board received 53,182 requests for lease termination for non-payment of rent.

How to request for a lease termination
From: The Grid

Trashing the unit
It is rare but sometimes a renter will trash a condo unit. The Toronto Star ran a column about a woman in BC who rented a house, brought in roomers and trashed the place.

The owner was successful in suing the company who he hired to find a renter and manage the property.

Economic disaster
For the second time in a few months, a drug lab was found in an east-end condo apartment.

On Saturday 27 October 2012, the Toronto police forced the residents on the top seven floors of 4091 Sheppard East to evacuate their apartments while the police removed large quantities of dangerous chemicals.

The police where afraid of an explosion so the residents were kept out of their homes until noon the next day.

No one was arrested.

Who pays?
It cost approximately $200,000 for the specialists to clean the apartment. The other costs incurred by government agencies, the condo corporation and the owners, including putting the residents up in a local hotel, came to another $200,000. (The owners who checked into the hotel will have to reimburse the government.)

The unit owner, who is living overseas, will be held responsible to pay at least some of these costs. THe insurance company will pick up the lion's share.

The owner could try to sue their tenant to cover the damages but I doubt that will work.

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