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We can help with bad tenants

It would be a win, win, win if we could just clean out all the bad tenants for the landlords across our country.

Bad tenants can bring down neighbouring property values. You may be a landlord yourself or you may know wannabe landlords who have been frightened off because they heard too many stories about bad tenants.

As a landlord and former tenant myself, I have come up with a new concept that should be explored by Realtors and our boards.  A recent story about a tenant who stiffed the landlord for 18 months of rents compelled me to write this. Time and time again we see that the judicial system and landlord tenancy acts are broken. No landlord should have to be hung out to dry for 18 months like that.

What I am about to explain is simple. The proper terms to meet the legal issues can be addressed and amended but here goes. We need a bond (like a surety bond) in place by tenants. Where a tenant goes to a third party and pays an amount to get a triple AAA rating that he can take to a prospective landlord to show that they are in good standing. The tenant may pay a one-time fee to set up the initial bond and a small annual fee to the bond company to keep their records up to date. The purpose of the bond is to keep track of tenants, good or bad. To provide a fund where landlords can apply for any outstanding money due, over and above damages from bad tenants. It could replace or supplement the damage/security deposit needed up front by most landlords. Instead the tenant could pay in smaller installments, the last month’s rent.

So you get the drift of where I am going with this idea. A tenant must keep the property in the same state of repair that would be expected when the lease or term of rental runs out and if there are any issues, the co-operating landlord will inform the bond company. The landlord may seek compensation from a fund that would make repairs on behalf of the tenant. The tenant in the future would lose their triple AAA rating and would have to pay more to get another bond at a lower level, which would be disclosed to future landlords.

There would be educational access for landlords and tenants about how to properly assess normal wear and tear and how to rate tenants and how tenants may rate their landlords. Landlords could also be bonded and rated based on their contractual promises to tenants. This would help tenants, landlords and politicians, along with Realtors, establish accountability in this small business venture that up to now has been exploited time and time again by bad apples.

But to get a bond business like this up and going one would need the ears of the local, provincial and possibly federal level politicians. We need politicians to get on board to make the necessary legal changes to current acts about landlord tenancy. If organized real estate could get the ball rolling on this through their PAC, it would help everyone in the end. It would be an incentive for landlords to keep their units in good shape. Help increase property values. Help minimize habitual legal issues by bad apples. This is just an idea, a concept, something to bite into. I planted the seed, now you or some enterprising group can make it grow!

This article was written by Calgary Realtor Doug MacCallum and published in REM Online. Doug kindly gave us permission to reproduce it here. What do you think? Is this something that would work? Given that in Ontario landlords may not keep a damage deposit, it could be very welcome. I’d love to hear opinions from some landlords.

If you have any questions, call me at (613-238-2801). Doug can be reached at (403-949-3583) or email: dougmaccallum@remaxmountainview.net

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