Preparing files for review, Jan. 15, Paul Legace coordiinator and poverty law advocate is available to assist those who need legal guidance through a variety of legal matters.

Landlord Lows – Using tools are vital

Rental responsibilites and landlord lows

Missed rent payments affect landlords and tenants, both.

December and January are the two highest months for non-payment of rent creating undue hardship for many individuals who own rental property.

They rely on the income from their investment property to pay their own bills, insurance on the rental property, repairs and taxes.

Tom Cheng, president of Rupert Rentals, who has been a landlord for more than 20 years said there are two types of landlords, larger landlords who may be able to take a hit by averaging out a missed payment over a broad property portfolio, and smaller landlords who own one or two properties.

“If a smaller landlord has to pay their mortgage, unless they have means to cover it, a missed rent payment may cause a financial crisis,” he said.

READ MORE: The word ‘landlord’ is too negative, one B.C. councillor says

When a tenant has not paid rent, the first step, for a property owner, should be to issue a 10-Day Notice for Non-Payment of Rent or Utilities. This should be issued without delay after the breach has occurred. The notice is the foundation for a non-payment eviction.

“Landlords are doing themselves a disservice by not serving the 10-day notice,” said Paul Legace, coordinator and poverty law advocate at the Prince Rupert Unemployment Action Centre. “It makes tenants take the landlord seriously. Even if the landlord really likes the tenant, it should still be issued. It creates bigger problems if landlords don’t.”

While Legace is better known as a tenant advocate, assisting landlords is also part of his spectrum.

Some tenants may not even realize that a late rent payment is a problem for the landlord, Legace said.

“The objective is to have rental property as an investment. There are costs to that and risks to that. Some tenants feel entitled and expect the landlord to carry them. A missed payment and leaving the landlord without means can affect many things,” Cheng said.

While some tenants may complain about unfair evictions, some landlords are frustrated with the time it can take to evict a tenant when the rent has not been paid, said Legace. He knows of situations where landlords have not been able to collect rent for months and are out of pocket thousands of dollars from tenants who are not meeting their contractual obligations.

Cheng told The Northern View, that he has had tenants who believe they “know the system”. One tenant told him they knew it would take nine months for a legal eviction so deliberately didn’t pay the rent. The tenant was wrong and was evicted.

READ MORE: B.C. woman refuses to pay overdue rent based on income raised collecting empty cans

“Breaking the misconceptions is in the best interests of both sides,” Legace stressed that tenants have to follow the directions on the 10-day notice. “The form is quite clear,” said Legace

Under the notice tenants are required to pay the rent in full within five days of receiving the notice or they must dispute the notice. Tenants often misunderstand the notice or ignore it completely. If they do not pay what they owe in full or file a dispute with the Residential Tenancy Branch (RTB) the landlord may apply for a Direct Request Order for eviction. A direct request means the tenant may receive an eviction order without any hearing being held. Eviction orders from the Residential Tenancy Branch often give only two or three days to vacate the unit.

Smaller landlords need to protect their investment and assets, said Legace. If landlords are renting out one or two properties they need to use the tools available to them under the legislation. The 10-day notice is vital for landlords as it connects with the direct request process.

“At the end of the day most landlords just want the rent paid and their place not destroyed,” Legace said.

K-J Millar | Journalist
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