5 Things Tenants Tell Us and What They Usually Mean

on Condo, General, Landlord, Property Management, rental, tenant, Toronto May 20th

OK, after 25 years in the property management business, I may be a bit jaded.  However there are some things that we hear over and over again. Here are the most common ones that either make me smile or set off alarm bells.

1. Would the Landlord reduce the rent for a really good tenant?

It seems to be common to think that most tenants are bad tenants.  In reality, most tenants are good tenants. We only hear more about the bad ones. There is not much to tell about good tenants. They pay their rent, respect the other tenants and take pride  in the property they live in.

Some prospective tenants think that by telling the landlord that they are good tenants, they are offering something special to a landlord.  Despite experience and good judgment and credit checks, a landlord never really knows absolutely how good a tenant is until they have moved in and lived there for awhile.

If the rental is a well maintained property in a good rental location it will  attract mostly good tenants.  If a property is poorly maintained it will often attract poor tenants. It’s as simple as that.  Landlords do not have to reduce rent or make deals with tenants if they are offering  quality rentals.

2. My dog never barks.

Most dogs bark. The only exceptions, I’ve seen are dogs that wear ‘no bark’ devices and once one that had been surgically altered (yes,  really). Dogs owners become accustomed to the sounds of their dog and often don’t notice how much they bark.  Often the dog does not bark when the owner is home but when the dog is left alone, every time someone  enters or leaves the property the dog, who wants to be feed of walked or just noticed, starts to bark. Of course, the dog owner does not hear it but everyone else gets to listen.

3. I had to declare bankruptcy but it was my ex’s fault. He/She was the one with the spending problem.

I have to admit falling for this story several times early in my career. In each case, the tenant ran into financial trouble before long and had to be evicted.  Sometimes a prospective tenant  tells me that they did have some problems but they have  sold their house so they have sorted out their problems and will be able to pay the rent without fail.  When someone has just sold their house it does not necessarily mean that they had equity in the home. They may have been forced to sell.   It is always important to do a credit check and make sure there are no credit issues and good bill payment patterns.  Sometimes, this story leads to the next one:

4. I couldn’t pay my rent because I have a sick/dead relative. 

I’ve heard variations of this story countless times and almost with out exception, it’s the beginning of the end of the tenancy.  It’s a story that of course, I have to give the benefit of the doubt to,  but after hearing it so often with the same end result, I have to also consider the consequences of unpaid rent and do my best to mitigate the situation.

5. I’d like to pay my rent in cash

Sometimes when a novice landlord hears this they think that it’s good news: no bouncing cheques! However, this the the story that really sets off alarm bells.  If A tenant wants to pay rent by email transfer that is not a problem. It’s when they ask to pay ask to pay cash because they don’t have a bank account that I get concerned. This can mean that  they don’t have a bank account because too many creditors are waiting to garnishee any money the tenant has in a bank account.  This prospective tenant often shows up near the end of the month in hope of finding a landlord desperate enough to put aside any reservations he may have about poor credit.

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