‘Serial’ tenants wreak havoc

by Jennifer Paterson –

The litany of sins committed by so-called “serial” tenants continue to hurt landlords and still those offenders get away with it.

“The ‘serial’ abusers – tenants who knowingly victimize one landlord and then go on to another and another – are of particular concern,” said David Hutniak of LandlordBC.

These types of tenants are pointed to as yet another example of the “ineffectiveness” of the administrative penalties introduced by the Residential Tenancy Branch last week. They were quickly criticized by West Vancouver MLA Spencer Chandra Herbert.

“I’ve had small landlords say to me that they have had tenants who know they can get away with it, because they’ve been getting away with it for so long and haven’t had to pay,” he added.

“The cost of going to the courts, getting an order and finding the tenants is prohibitive compared to the amount of money they’ve lost, so landlords think they might as well give up.”

A CREW reader and investor, Karyn wrote in the CREW Forum that she has lost at least three months’ rent due to negligent tenants writing bad cheques, another calling card of the “serial” tenant.

“There absolutely needs to be an avenue to [hold money] in garnsihee at the tenants’ cost and prevent them from renting again until all previous rent has been paid,” she added.

Tenants in Joe Rich, near Kelowna, B.C., recently trashed their rental house before moving onto the next one, and also left behind some dynamite. “It’s just so scary and hard to get them out once they’re in,” the landlord told Global News. “It’s a huge warning for anybody who is renting their property.”

The worst offender for Kathy Berner, owner of Regency Management & Real Estate in Regina, was a tenant who punched holes in every room, ripped off the cupboard doors and stealing the washer/dryer after he was evicted for failing to pay rent.

The same tenant is now set up in another rental after providing fake references to his new landlord. “He got away with theft, damages and stealing rent, and the police did nothing,” added Berner. “It’s very disappointing and frustrating that landlords get no support.”

Join the discussion in the CREW Forum to share your “serial” tenant stories as well as suggestions on how these tenants can be identified and stopped.

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