Landlords sometimes have to make difficult judgment calls about whether or not to provide rental concessions to a struggling Tenant or to protect their real estate investment.
And these two things don’t always work hand in hand.
For Tenants who are struggling to pay rent, Landlord’s need to consider a couple of factors:
1. Is It A One Time Issue?
If a tenant misses a rent payment and has a valid reason, it may be beneficial to work with them to recoup the rent for the month instead of starting the eviction process. If the Landlord can afford to miss the month’s rent and recover it over a period of a few weeks or even months, the Tenant doesn’t lose their home and the Landlord doesn’t end up out of pocket.
2. Is It A Recurring Problems?
If a Tenant is consistently late with rental payments or misses them entirely without providing a valid reason, it may be time to look at the eviction process. If there’s a new excuse every month about why they can’t make the rent, it’s probably time to remove them from the property and find a new Tenant who is reliable and will pay the rent on time.
But What Is The Eviction Process?
Landlords sometimes, naively, think if they give a Tenant an eviction notice, the Tenant will quickly move out and that will be the end of the process. Usually, that happens, but in circumstances where the Tenant doesn’t leave at the end of the notice period, what can a Landlord do?
a) Eviction Notice
The first step in removing a Tenant is issuing the appropriate eviction notice. Depending on which Province the home is located in, the rules vary, so Landlords should check with their local Residential Tenancy Office or Landlord Tenant Board. Generally, the eviction notice gives the Tenant a certain amount of time to pay the rent. If they fail to do so, they have a further number of days to vacate the property.
b) Order Of Possession
Applying to the Residential Tenancy office for an Order of Possession is the next step. This provides the Landlord with an Order that the Tenant must vacate by a certain date. Again, the Tenant usually leaves at this point, however, on rare occasions, a Tenant will continue to live in the home.
c) Writ Of Possession
If the Tenant still doesn’t vacate after an Order of Possession has been issued, the next step is to apply to the Provincial Supreme Court to get a Writ of Possession. This allows the Landlord to hire a Bailiff Service to have the Tenant and all of their belongings physically removed.
The eviction process can be long and arduous. Paperwork must be completed and served properly and depending on the backlog at the Residential Tenancy office, it may take weeks or even months. Depending on how difficult the tenant makes it, the entire process can take several months.
Weighing the options to determine whether or not a tenant is making a serious effort to pay outstanding rent is based on the landlord’ relationship with the Tenant. Only then can a decision be made about either helping the Tenant weather a difficult period or ending the tenancy altogether.
During the pandemic of 2020, Residential Tenancy rules were tightened and evictions in many places were banned. This left Landlords holding the bag on unpaid rent which often creates other issues – particularly if the Landlord relies on the rental income to pay the mortgage.
Rental concessions to help the Tenant through a difficult financial period can ensure the home is occupied and the Landlord isn’t out potentially thousands of dollars. Lowering the monthly rent for a period of time, or deferring rental payments for a month or two have been widely used during COVID-19 and Landlords have been forced to get creative. Whatever arrangements are agreed to, the Landlord should make sure to document the agreement and have the Tenant sign their acceptance of the terms.
Evicting a Tenant is not a small decision and each Tenants’s situation is different. There are no “one size fits all” solutions and Landlords must consider each case on its own.
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