Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Being a Landlord Has Its Benefits, but Be Wary of Nightmare Tenants

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Being a Landlord Has Its Benefits, but Be Wary of Nightmare Tenants

Article excerpt

Tips for landlords to screen out bad tenants


CALGARY - Joyce Klaver's experience renting apartments to students in Waterloo, Ont. has been mostly good, but there have been exceptions.

There was the young man who creeped out his roommates by making little altars out of animal bones and hair from the shower drain.

"That was pretty disruptive," she said. "I had to evict him."

Then there were the students that dumped half a truckload of sand into their common area and held a drunken volleyball tournament -- in the nude.

But overall, Klaver enjoyed her time as a landlord and made a good living doing it. Her son now runs the business, Waterloo Off-Campus Housing.

"Some of the kids I've met, I might see them 15 years later, much like a teacher," she said.

"I get to see these kids as they're going through their lives and I keep in contact with a few of them."

Becoming a landlord can be a good way to bring in some extra income, but it's important to do your homework to make sure you don't end up with a problem tenant -- and know how to respond if you do.

It's crucial to understand what your legal obligations are and what is required from tenants. The law varies greatly from province to province.

"I think the first thing you need to recognize is that as soon as you make the decision that you'd like to rent that you're now going into a business and it's a business that's governed by laws, by rules, by regulations," said Gerry Baxter, executive director of the Calgary Residential Rental Association, which offers courses and support to landlords.

"You have to take the time to educate yourself in how the legislation operates."

A lot of landlords like to think the best of people and don't effectively screen out bad tenants, said Rochelle Johannson, a lawyer with the Centre for Public Legal Education in Alberta.

"They really liked the person that came, so they let them rent even though they might not be a perfect tenant on paper. And then there were problems later on."

Just calling references may not be enough, as a friend can easily pose as a past landlord and sing a prospective tenant's praises. …

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