It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time – Tenants who won’t pay the rent or vacate

March 2023

It seemed like a good idea at the time.  Rent your home to others and make some money.  Perhaps double down by purchasing a second rental property.

Many thought this was a great idea, have learned an expensive lesson and now know the risks.  Here are a few of the many stories out there.

A London, ON man is $20,000 in debt after his tenant has not paid rent for seven months plus legal fees in an attempt to have him evicted.  The tenant had refused to vacate the property by a mutually-agreed-upon date, and stopped responding to calls and messages.  The tenant agreed to leave in return for a payment of $20,000.

One individual owned two houses but now sleeps in his car and is “drowning in debt”.  He is unable to evict his tenants who have not paid their rent for ten months.

In Abbotsford, BC, a tenant refused to pay rent for 18 months in 2021 and 2022.  When finally ordered to evict, he destroyed the interior including cutting support beams in the roof, tearing out drywall and destroying insulation.  The police were unwilling to lay charges because tenancy issues are outside their jurisdiction.

Closer to home, one Brampton family is sleeping on one mattress in the basement of their house.  A couple renting the main floor refuses to leave.  The family can’t afford to go elsewhere.  The last full rent payment was in December 2021.  The Landlord and Tenant Board refused to expedite the case because the landlord was unable to prove he was experiencing “significant financial hardship”.

Tenants in default have been found to have provided fake documents – credit score, pay stub and job letters – to secure a tenancy.  Nobody made calls to verify documents are real.  Once they move in, tenants fail to pay rent.  Once the landlord catches on, the wait for a Landlord and Tenant Board hearing can exceed ten months during which the landlord is not receiving rent.

In British Columbia, the government no longer allows stratas (condominium corporations) to impose rental restrictions in their communities.  This is expected to provide a greater obligation for condo management and boards to act as a co-landlord along with owners renting out their units.

So far, Ontario has not enacted similar legislation.

While rental properties in themselves are not problematic, landlords and communities suffer when forced to provide accommodation to individuals unwilling to pay their rent or act in a civil manner.  Protections for renters failing to honour their obligations is a growing problem.

Condo-landlords come to regret a decision to rent out their unit after dealing with a problem tenant.  When tenant issues occur in a high-rise condominium building, problems are magnified.  The owner-landlord has a serious problem they can only resolve at great cost and after a year or more of effort.  During this time their condominium corporation is likely sending them legal notices that will eventually be paid by the condo owner.  Neighbours are disrupted, angry and may add to the landlord’s woes by filing a dispute with the Condominium Authority Tribunal which will likely add to the landlord’s headaches and financial woes.

Being a casual landlord is not as easy or profitable as some believe.

Find Vendors in these Related Categories