Just Due it! A Landlord’s Due Diligence   

On February 22, 2021, Toronto joined three eastern Ontario regions in resuming eviction enforcement, and with restart dates eyed for the entire province now, landlords have drawn a collective sigh of relief. Of course, no landlord wishes for a situation that requires an action to evict, but when push comes to shove, and the tenant is costing an income loss, it’s definitely time to look at reducing or eliminating the problem – which sometimes can mean to evict. 

The initial eviction halt in the province of Ontario, has of course, been attached to the Premier Ford declared state of emergency and lasts or continues as long as a region is under stay-at-home orders. To that end, it is extremely important that affected landlords stay up to date on the status of their properties, as a return to an “emergency brake” could again be applied if Covid-19 cases once more spike, such as what happened in early January when modelling data was suggesting hospitals could become overwhelmed. 

Although various government housing critics have been urging that, due to the pandemic, there be some type of rental subsidy or relief to help lower rental arrears for tenants in need, to date there seems nothing on the horizon so it’s important to landlords that they be allowed to resume evictions, as no one is paying their bills and mortgages. It’s unfortunate of course, but for those landlords who happened to be saddled with bad tenants, out to just take advantage of the Emergency Act by ignoring their rent obligations and not working with landlords, it is essential landlords be allowed the ability to evict. One needs only look to a recent Toronto area couple who were criminally charged with fraudulently “renting” housing properties. This dynamic duo would pay first and last month’s rent and then not pay else anything afterwards, including rent or utilities, in all scamming landlords at 8 different properties over a 10-year period! Could the landlords have avoided that nightmare by simply doing due diligence? Likely. 

That’s not to say a landlord cannot or should not work with a tenant who is willingly making an effort and is agreeable to making reasonable payment plan to get caught up, and of course it is in a landlord’s best interest to keep a respectful tenant, but for the “nightmare tenant” situation, its simply not fair to the property owner. And so, in those cases, there may be no reasonable expectation they will pay up before disappearing into the night, damaging the property, or making neighboring tenants lives miserable – which could also additionally cost a landlord from an action brought by that other tenant. 

And, of course, having an empty unit does no good to the landlord either, as it takes time and more money to put up ads, perform background and financial checks, and find a new suitable, trustworthy tenant which in this day and age is invaluable to do.  

So do your due diligence when prospecting for a tenant, otherwise it is you who ends up paying the price, and some. No one is going to do it for you in the end like you would, as no one has your best interests in mind better than – You!