Canada Landlord Credit Checks – An Important Way To Find Great Tenants (and avoid the ‘professional tenants’ out there)
Many landlords all over Canada have seen some sort of news about bad tenants who ripped off a small residential landlord.
You might have seen a news segment on your local television station about a trashed rental property in your city or town. Or about sneaky tenants who manipulate the system to live rent free.
Some might even have friends or a co-worker with a story of a tenant who refused to pay rent for months on end leaving the landlord high and dry (and out thousands of dollars and maybe even forced to declare bankruptcy).
As we have written about before on the issue of Canada Credit Checks, experienced and successful Canadian landlords have learned some valuable lessons during their years of being landlords.
Valuable Landlord Lessons
When you see a successful landlord you might think they have a ‘magic wand.’
How else could they do what so many cannot: handle tenants in a country that is, in most cases, biased for tenants against landlords. The reality is these experienced and successful landlords have seen it all. They’ve been scarred, lost money, had sleepless nights, etc.
They have also learned some hard lessons.
Landlord Lesson 1 – Lots of Good Tenants Are Out There
The good news is most veteran landlords will agree that most of the tenants out there are good people and will be good tenants. This is especially the case in areas where property prices are rising and qualified tenants are deciding to rent instead of buying. They need a nice place to stay for a year or two or three to save up for a down payment on their own place.
Landlord Lesson 2 – And Bad Tenants (Sad, But True)
There are also a lot of bad tenants out there. And these bad tenants can lead to some really big challenges for small landlords. You see, while the large corporate landlords have hundreds of units, one or two trouble makers won’t hurt their bottom line. Unlike small landlords who rely on rent to pay their mortgage and not lose their house!
And the corporate landlords can easily afford to pay a lawyer to deal with any issues. Or they have their own legal team on staff and on a salary. It can be really tough for struggling small landlords to pay thousands of dollars to a lawyer or paralegal to evict a bad tenant.
For what bad tenants can do to a small landlord we only have to go see the Ontario Landlords Associate website where a small landlord was on the edge as tenants played the system.
Landlord Lesson 3 – Good People Can Go To the “Dark Side”
These ‘bad tenants’ might be good people in other aspects of life. However, when they see how vulnerable small landlords are and just how easy it is to rip them off and they can’t help themselves.
If you saw someone drop their wallet and jump into a taxi what would you do? Most of us would do our best to contact the person and return it….but if the person is gone and there is lots of money in the wallet some people will be tempted to keep it.
Landlord Lesson 4 – Tenant Screening is the Key To Success
Tenant Screening is the key to success as a landlord in Canada. Experienced and successful landlords know putting good tenants into your rental unit is the ‘engine’ that drives your rental business.
Landlord Lesson 5 – Credit Checks are the Most Important Tool for Landlords
Credit Checks are the most important tenant screening tool a landlord has. Not only do you see if someone is financially responsible, you can also see if their real employment history and if they owe anyone money.
Canada Landlords Association Success
Credit checks are the key to landlord success. It’s the only ‘real deal’ way we can see if the tenants are financially responsible or not.
As an Ontario Landlord wrote on the Ontario Landlords Association forum: “A credit check is a MUST! All the corporate landlords make this automatic, as part of their screening system. It’s a no brainer!”
Let hear from some experienced landlords on how important running credit checks are.
1. Alberta Landlord Credit Check
An Alberta landlord wrote in with a story of a really decent and trusting landlord with a great single family home for rent.
This Alberta landlord met with a nice younger couple with a child who wanted to rent the place. During their meeting and showing of the property this couple said the loved the property and wanted it. They explained that the local public school down the street was perfect for their daughter and they liked how safe the neighbourhood was.
This couple sounded like ideal tenants and their stories make perfect sense!
A few months later the landlord drove by the rental and saw police squad cars in front of it. The police had done a drug bust as the tenants didn’t actually have jobs and were using the property as a grow op! The property was damaged and the situation was so stressful the landlord ended up selling the property and saying he would never be a landlord ever again.
No, he didn’t do a credit check. If he did he would have seen they owned lots of people money and their previous landlord addresses were fake.
2. BC Landlord Credit Check
An experienced BC landlord wrote us about how a credit check is far more than just a ‘score.’ For example, by seeing past addresses you can contact past landlords. And you know they are the ‘real’ past landlords and not friends acting as them (to trick you into renting to their pals who will rip you off).
3. Ontario Landlord Credit Check
A landlord from Ontario wrote this piece of advice he wants to give new landlords: “The best measure of future behaviour is past behaviour and a credit check is the way to measure this past behaviour.”
Canadian Landlords Make Sure Always Run a Credit Check On Prospective Tenants
Remember, you are running a business. And just like the largest companies out there are careful who they hire, you have to be careful who you put in your rental property.
Canada Credit Checks
A credit check is an important tool for small landlords to learn the truth about prospective tenants and make sure you know who you are renting to. For a small fee, you can earn large profits…and avoid costly evictions and even worse!