How to Recognize a “Professional Tenant”

How to Recognize a “Professional Tenant”

What is a professional tenant? А tenant that knows the law, finds small loopholes, and exploits them (a landlord’s worst enemy). Here are some characteristics of professional tenants:

1. Whenever you try to assert your rights as a landlord (to inspect the unit, to collect rent on time, etc.) the tenant makes you feel guilty.

Example: You give the tenant a proper Notice of Intent of Entry. The tenant tells you that you did not do your yearly inspection which you should have done. Then the tenant tells you that they are not available at the time you specified for entry and that you should come at a different time (that is inconvenient for you).

This is manipulation. You as a landlord have specific rules relating to entry, however the tenant does not need to be in the unit for you to enter.

2. The tenant tries to teach you about the law and surprisingly knowledgeable as to the details.

Example: You give the tenant a Notice of Intent of Entry that specifies entry at a proper time on several days instead of one. When you come to inspect the unit at the specified time, the tenant tells you that according to the law, you were supposed to specify one day on the Notice and tells you that they don’t have to let you in at all.

Knowing the law is not a crime on the tenant’s part. However, it shows that the tenant may have had legal proceedings in the past or is really keeping track of your behaviour towards them.

3. The tenant knows that you are busy and tries to confuse/distract you.

Example: For e-transfers: the tenant makes their payments in small amounts and minutes apart. Or, the tenant makes a payment and then withdraws it.

This behaviour is technically not wrong and does not form grounds for eviction. However, it begs the question: why didn’t the tenant combine the small amounts and pay the sum as one payment? Why did they make a payment, only to withdraw it? This behaviour is suspicious.

4. The tenant does some things they shouldn’t be doing, but it’s not bad enough to warrant an eviction.

Example: The tenant pays the total amount of their rent, but late or in several installments without consulting you.

Tenants should be paying you on time according to your contract (generally the 1st of the month), but in reality, it is difficult to evict them for paying late. The Landlord/Tenant Board (LTB) is generally lenient with this.

None of these characteristics by themselves are grounds for eviction or automatically mean you have a professional tenant. This list is also not exhaustive. However, each of these behaviours is suspicious, and if recognized should put you on alert.

Professional tenants are extremely difficult to evict, because they never do enough wrong to warrant an eviction. The only way to deal with them is to keep a meticulous record of their suspicious behaviour and to go to the LTB with several applications for eviction. For example: non-payment, damage, and late payment instead of just late payment by itself.

If you suspect that you have a professional tenant, PLEASE seek advice. These tenants know how to take advantage of their landlords and will at every step and turn. Contact us at: (647)-746-4934, kate@dynamiteparalegal.com, or another legal professional for help.

Image source: https://sourceable.net/vic-building-legislation-a-wolf-in-sheeps-clothing/

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