PF Weekly Grab a Brew

Should a landlord and tenant have basic rental responsibilities? PF Weekly Grab a brew #61

grab-a-brew-online-reviewRENTING IS A TOUGH BUSINESS

 

Being a landlord has its ups and downs depending on the space you own and the tenants you rent to.

The same could be said for a tenant and the landlord who rents them a place to live.

As a landlord you have lots of responsibilities and one of them is listening to what your tenants have to say as long as the requests are reasonable.

I don’t know if the Landlord Tenant Act is the same all around Canada but what I do know is there should be some standardization when it comes to maintaining a property.

You don’t have to jump at every single complaint but you must or at least should adhere to complaints that are of important nature.

It also takes time to get the right people in to get the job done so having reasonable expectations as a tenant is also important.

Wanting the paint color changed in your kitchen is not an emergency as a tenant but if your toilet is not working that is a different story.

 

Money in my pocket

 

Sure, renting is a lucrative business and if you can score a rental building, multi-unit house or even just a house to rent you are well on your way to cashing in. This isn’t as easy as it sound though.

Some tenants in Newfoundland and Labrador are complaining that these landlords are getting paid direct from social assistance yet the apartments are not being maintained.

Even so if the tenants complain to social assistance they are apparently told to move. That seems like the easiest answer to a problem if that is in fact the way it’s handled.

As we all know social assistance doesn’t offer much in the way of money so having a strict budget is imperative so finding a rental unit they can afford means slim pickings.

It sounds to me like a revolving door and no one is taking responsibility for anything. Almost the mentality of ‘suck it up buttercup you could be on the streets’. Not very motivating for many renters.

 

Being a landlord

 

My parents have owned homes in the UK for as long as I can remember and my wife’s parents have owned properties in Ontario as well.

Most times the renters were on social assistance of some sorts when my parents rented to them other times not, which was never a problem.

My parents wanted tenants who would pay their rent on time and respect the property while keeping it clean. Not too much to ask for considering they did their part as landlords. Not every landlord will be like my parents though.

Completing an appropriate background check is important but it’s not always that convenient for the tenant to landlord.

We hope in the future to be landlords ourselves but will do our best to maintain the property we are investing our own money in. Even if we had to hire outside help to maintain the properties you can bet we will be monitoring the progress.

 

Social assistance rental struggles

 

It’s not easy finding a landlord to rent to you when you collect social assistance/welfare because people tend to look down on the recipients. There are various reasons why people rely on the government system and we should not be there to judge.

In the end they are their own judges and if the rules are in place and our tax money is being spent on them because it is deemed necessary. We do have to put some faith in our system to make sure things are being conducted properly.

My wife said she struggled as a young adult to even rent an apartment in the city we live in now. It took her weeks of searching for someone to rent to a newly graduated student not working in her field yet. The struggle is not just for social assistance recipients but for many people.

I say we are all human and things happen for a reason. Just because someone is struggling to find a job and has to rely on the government system doesn’t make them lazy, dirty thieves who will steal and sell anything to make a buck. Gosh, that bothers me.

It’s a stigma that will be carried forever but none the less we are all human and as individuals we can rise to the top. Over the years my parents have had many phone calls from the tenants about problems at the houses.

There was never a time when my parents said, no we aren’t going to repair a leak or a door that won’t close or a refrigerator that won’t work.

That’s what being a landlord is all about. When you become what is known as the slum landlord you are known as someone who likes to take the money and run.

You don’t care about the people, the space and the way they have to live their life. Even if they aren’t the cleanest housekeepers that doesn’t mean you have to reduce your landlord responsibilities to only collecting rent.

 

Renters moving out

 

My parents just recently went into one of their homes where a couple split up and it was their primary residence before renting it out.

They couldn’t believe what they saw as the walls had holes in them and it was very dirty. You won’t always get what you want out of a tenant.

Sure they will be responsible for the damage but leaves me to wonder if some renters are creating this stigma put on them. Problem is we all don’t live by the same standards BUT there should be basic standards that must be met by both the landlord and the tenant.

If my parents knew this was the state of the place while they were in the house something would have been done about it.

A friend of ours who had recently went through a divorce and was not working had to collect social assistance until she could find a job as a personal support worker.

She didn’t think it would take too long but in the mean-time she had to sort some things out. Applying for social assistance wasn’t something she wanted to do but was what other options did she have if no one was hiring her?

She always had a tidy house when we visited and was pleasant to deal with. Struggling to find somewhere to rent was what happened to her.

You would think it’s easy but no one wants to rent to someone collecting social assistance/welfare. They think they will trash the place and not take care of it so why bother fixing anything.

Not everyone is like this, heck there are people who have money and professional careers that can’t even support their own property. You’d be shocked to go in some people’s houses.

Then you have landlords who will rent to social assistance recipients because they know the cheque is as good as in the mail each month.

There’s nothing worse than having a tenant who says they can’t pay the rent on time for one reason or another. The problem is lots of these low-income housing estates are full so it’s a struggle to get in.

 

Taking care of business

 

Plenty of landlords don’t upkeep the buildings like they should and maintenance requests from tenants go unanswered or ignored for weeks and months on end. This is taxpayer money they are stashing away at the expense of the tenant.

Some never get repaired or even looked at. I’m not sure why some landlords let their properties crumble to the ground the way they do. It shouldn’t be that way.

If everyone including the landlord took pride of ownership then these places won’t have to be what some call a slum place to live because of lack of property maintenance and tenant upkeep.

No one should have to beg to get a landlord to fix a serious problem in a rental unit.

Most tenants fear getting evicted if they complain and it’s a real struggle for anyone to secure a new rental unit. So the tenants take the living conditions as they are and improvise just to keep a roof over their heads.

 

Landlord Tenant Act

 

Sure, being a landlord is tough but you have to take the good with the bad. Not everyone is a pain in the arse when they rent no matter where the money comes from.

Landlords should uphold to basic maintenance rules and the Landlord tenant act should force these landlords who pocket the rent money and get rich month after month while their tenants suffer.

There are great landlords out there and there are landlords that don’t care one bit about the tenants and those are the people who need to smarten up. A business is a business, so treat it like one.

Sure I’m generalizing saying they are getting rich and we know that may be far from the truth but that’s what it seems to people on the outside looking in.

We perceive only what we think we know even if it’s not true, like the millionaire next door. If you can’t fund a property the way it should be then sell it to someone who can.

Same goes to some of these tenants, it’s not your property to trash so take pride of what you live in and the stuff that you own.

No one should have to live in below standard rental environments and I’m sure if you as a landlord were in their position you certainly wouldn’t want to either.

Our friend by the way ended up having to move in with a friend and live on her couch because her landlord refused to finish a renovation in the rental unit. There was no refrigerator and the ceiling was leaking in the bathroom from the unit above.

Have your say:

Should landlords be forced to uphold some sort of basic maintenance for tenants in low-income or any rental unit? What about the tenants? What conditions were you forced to live in?

 

Top recipe

 

Frozen Strawberry Dessert

If you don’t already know I have a second Facebook page online called The Free Recipe Depot where I share recipes from other Foodie Bloggers from around the world.

Once a week I pick one recipe that has been submitted as my Top Recipe of the week. Trust me when I say this is no easy task as some of these foodies can cook up a storm.

This week that recipe goes to a food blog called Bunny’s Warm Oven. I thought since we are freezing our tails off in Canada at the moment there’s nothing more fitting than a frozen treat.

Sure a hot chocolate would be nice but heck might as well join in the cold fun. Enjoy this lovely Frozen Strawberry Dessert. It looks delicious.

 

Weekly CBB posts

 

If you missed any CBB posts from the week here is the list of posts you can catch up on reading!

 

Weekly reads

 

Every week I share a few of the best personal finance blog posts that I read online over the past week with all of you so please enjoy my top picks.

 

Well, that’s a wrap for this PF Friday’s Grab a brew #61. Happy budgeting and I’ll see you here again next week when I do it all over again.

-Mr.CBB

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5 Comments

  1. We own one rental and will likely buy another one in the future. So far so good on our first one but we have good tenants. In my opinion the quality of tenants is one of the most important aspects of rentals. If we had bad ones we’d be faced with constant headaches and extra costs. Finding good tenants is somewhat of an art and definitely takes a certain skill set. But quality tenants are worth their weight in gold

  2. My Dad has a rental right now, only the one now. He has had another house that was rented out but it was sold a while back. He has been fairly lucky tenent wise. The house that was sold had a couple in there that owned a house out East so they were not interested in buying one here. They rented the house until he retired then they moved back East. Dad was sorry to see them go as they were very good tenents. Over the years he has had a couple that were not so hot. One family owed him the last months rent and were to bring that over with the keys when they moved out….didn’t happen. Dad finally found the keys in the mailbox after the family was long gone. He had to clean the house out of empty booze bottles and such before he could get new tenents in. His usual method for things in the houses was that what needed doing was done, if it was something like painting a room, he bought the paint and they did the painting.
    Our daughter rents. She has since college. We had to co-sign the first place as she was only 19 and going into college. The apt wasn’t bad but it was better than some of the so-called student housing we looked at. She is thinking of moving again as she works in St Thomas but lives in London. This has caused a few issues for her. She did rent in St Thomas for a while it it wasn’t great and the landlords didn’t look after the place. At one point the bathroom in the next apt had a leak into her closet. There was mold and the landlord’sidea of dealing with that was to spray full strength bleach on the wall…. She was pregnant at the time….the whole apt stunk of bleach and she called us crying because she couldn’t breathe in the apt!!!! She moved out shortly after..
    It’s not always easy to remove tenents from a place. Where she is now the super had to get the people above her removed. Took him months. The final straw was the people thought it would be funny to pull the fire alarm in the middle of the night and were caught on the security camera. Still took a few months to finally get them out…

  3. All provinces have their own tenancy act. If the tenants and landlord cannot agree on something, they are supposed to go there first. Rules must be followed. Maintenance requests must be in writing. Call your landlord, but follow it up with a written request..
    We have a few properties, and some are on welfare. In our province, a welfare tenant, is not as ‘good as money in the bank’. The tenant can cancel all automatic payments to the landlord any time they wish.
    Trying to get references on a tenant is next to impossible. Their employers will not say they work there.Previous landlords are usually the tenant’s friends/ family posing as a landlord. If a welfare tenant leaves damage/ rental arrears when they vacate, you have no recourse to collecting payment, because you cannot garnish their cheque…bank account yes, if they haven’t moved it.
    Private landlords are rarely rich, except on paper, or until close the end of their landlord days, when they are finally able to pay off their properties. Up until then, they have spent mega$$ on repairs and maintenance.
    As a landlord you may start out soft, being every sob story the tenant gives you. We were like that, and it cost us a LOT of money. Now, we still give every tenant ONE chance, but as soon as we know they are lying to us, we don’t keep them. It has never been a good ending.
    Painting is something we allow in some of out properties, and not in others. They all promise to return it back to the original neutral color, but they never do. Most of the time they never finish painting the room. In one place they painted it neon pink with black strips..as if they were playing X & O’s. Another place the whole bedroom , including the ceiling was painted blood red. Disgusting.
    As I always say, being a landlord is not for the faint of heart. Our properties are basic, but we keep them repaired, because we don’t want them to fall apart.
    We had 2 different tenants not keep adequate heat in the houses this year, when it was -35 cel. They went away for a few days over New years, and wanted to save money on oil. All the pipes, boiler and water heaters burst ..and had to be replaced.That was very expensive for us.

    1. As kathryn states, all provinces do have their own tenancy acts. Specifically in BC, where I live, the question of whether or not the landlord and tenant should have responsibilities is legislated. If either party does not uphold these responsibilities, then the tenancy can be broken and taken to court if necessary. I find that BC has very strict tenancy laws in comparison to some other provinces, but they are in place to protect everyone involved in a rental, usually favouring the tenant. Anyone in BC who wants to know more about their rights as a tenant or a landlord can go here http://www.rto.gov.bc.ca/default.aspx

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