Hints to Landlords from the get go! To facilitate success in the event of a tenant dispute
- When initially having the prospective tenant complete an application, please ensure they provide complete information for references, and for personal information. The more information you have – phone numbers, addresses, email addresses – the better. Please also ensure that you obtain the tenant’s driver’s license number – this is an essential piece of information if we ever need to locate them. Also, please ensure you get an email address for the tenant.
- On your application form, add in a section asking them to consent to a credit check or applicable searches, if required. You can say that you may require a credit check. This allows for the ability to conduct searches to determine their current whereabouts should we be required to serve them with documents in the event there is a dispute.
- Please request that the security deposit be provided in the form of a cheque. The reason for this is that if we ever pursue the tenant and if we are successful in obtaining a judgment (meaning we win), AzPerLegal will be able to garnishee the bank account. In order to garnishee a bank account, bank and branch information is required. It is not good enough to know just the name of the bank, we are required to serve the actual branch of the bank with the garnishee documents.
- If possible, on a yearly basis. follow up on the tenant application’s information regarding employment to ensure that the tenant actually works for the employer listed. Again, if we are required to sue and we win, we will be able to garnishee the tenant’s wages. There is always the possibility that they may have changed employment. Updated employer information goes a long way to ensuring that if you do have to sue, we will be able to collect on the judgment more successfully.
- Please ensure that all move in and move out inspection reports are signed by the tenant. Obviously, if the tenant does a midnight move or is forced out, a move out inspection report cannot be signed, but it still must be completed and signed by the landlord. This is essential when claiming damages. Also, please ensure that receipts are kept for all damages repaired – again, this is essential for claiming damages – that is your evidence.
- If a tenant requests that they be let out of a lease agreement, be very careful how you phrase your response. If they wish to leave, make sure you state that if they vacate the premises, they will responsible for all unpaid rent until such time as you find a new tenant. If you do not clarify this, the RTDRS may take your “consent” to vacate the premises and breach the lease as waiving the tenant’s requirement to pay any unpaid rent until such time as it is rented to a new tenant. This is very important.
- PLEASE DO NOT DELAY IN REFERRING THE FILE – THE LONGER THE DELAY IN BRINGING ANY SORT OF LEGAL ACTION- whether it is a Demand Letter or Hearing – THE MORE DIFFICULT IT IS TO COLLECT.
- A Demand Letter is most effective right after the tenant vacates or is evicted and is the most cost effective way of dealing with the matter.
- If the matter involves damages, please ensure that as soon as you have all the receipts for repairs, you forward the file – again, the quicker the action, the more success on collection.