Successful Alberta landlords know the importance of good tenant screening. This is especially important with the government planning some changes to make the laws in Alberta less friendly to landlords such as rent control.
In fact, most experienced and successful landlords put ‘tenant screening’ on the top of their list of the most important steps to succeed. Tenants who pay rent on time and respect you and your rental property are the main drivers for you to run a profitable rental business.
How Can You Screen Tenants To Make Sure They Are Good Tenants?
We have written about this subject before. One of the most important tools successful landlords use to screen tenants to make sure they are good tenants is a credit check. You can join the Alberta Landlords Association (the real one, not the group in Edmonton who changed their name to sound like the real ALA) for a low one time registration fee and start running premium credit checks for the member price of $10/check.
What Does A Credit Check on a Tenant Show Me?
It shows a lot. And it includes the information a landlord needs! For example a credit check can be done on your home computer (it takes about a minute) and it will show you lots of information about your potential tenant. It includes:
1.Real Past Addresses
Are those past addresses on the application honest? The credit check will show you!
2. Employment History
Did they really work at these jobs? Are they currently employed where they say they are employed? Run a credit check to verify and find the truth.
3. Do They Owe Anyone Money
Did they rip anyone off in the past? Do they owe money to former landlords or anyone else? A tenant credit check will give you a full view of past debts.
4. Credit Score
The credit score is the ultimate indicator of financial risk.
5. Recommendation – should you rent them or not?
Should you rent to these tenants? A credit check even gives you a recommendation along with all the other data…all for $10 for ALA members!
Even Good Tenants Can Change
Sometimes you still can face off with some bad tenants. People can change. For example, a terrific couple renting your investment property can start arguing and separate.
Or a former good tenant can lose their job. They stop paying rent because they can’t afford it.
Some good tenants change their ways because they learn from bad tenants how to manipulate the system.
What Can You Do If You Have Problems With Your Tenants?
The rules have changed in Alberta as landlord and tenant issues are now being directed to the Residential Tenancy Dispute Resolution Service.
Edmonton Landlord Asks For Help With Bad Tenants
An Edmonton landlord recently wrote in:
I rented to a couple who fought and now there is only “her” living there and a variety of new boyfriends. Things have changed and now I consider her a ‘bad tenant’ because she owes me rent.
What can I do?
Residential Tenancy Dispute Resolution Service (RTDRS)
We contacted the Residential Tenancy Dispute Resolution Service (RTDRS) directly and asked them to provide some details to us.
1. What Does the Residential Tenancy Dispute Resolution Service Do?
The Residential Tenancy Dispute Resolution Service (RTDRS) offers landlords and tenants an alternative means of resolving serious disputes outside of court. The RTDRS is designed to be faster, more informal and less expensive than the courts.
2. Where Can Landlords Get More Information About Your Services?
Detailed information and downloadable tip sheets about using the service are available on our website at:
3. For What Tenant Issues Can Landlords Apply For?
Landlords may apply for the following remedies:
#1 where the breach consists of non-payment of rent, recovery of arrears of rent
#2 where the breach consists of failing to give up possession of the residential premises,
#3 recovery of possession of the premises from the over holding tenant
#4 recovery of compensation for the use and occupation of the premises by the over holding tenant
#5 where the breach is a substantial breach, termination of the tenancy
#6 recovery of damages resulting from the breach.
4. How Does the RTDRS Process Work?
Once someone chooses to use the service they must submit to the service their completed application form. The RTDRS will file their application and set a date and time for the hearing to take place.
5. What Happens at a Hearing?
The matter will be heard before a Tenancy Dispute Officer who is authorized to make binding decisions on claims up to $50,000. The decision of the Tenancy Dispute Officer is binding on all parties.
6. How Can I Find My Local RTDRS Office?
To confirm that the RTDRS has coverage in the geographic area of Alberta where the rental premises are located, please visit our website: www.rtdrs.alberta.ca
7. How Much Does it Cost An Alberta Landlord To File With the RTDRS?
The filing fee for the dispute resolution service is $75.
8. Who Can I Contact For More Information?
If you have further questions, please contact us at:
Edmonton: (780) 644-3000
For toll-free access within Alberta, first dial 310-0000
Alberta Landlords and RTDRS
We recommend landlords take great care and rent to good tenants. Renting to good, qualified tenants means you will rarely have to go to the RTDRS for a hearing.
If you do have to go we hope the information we provided was helpful. For more information you can listen to the Alberta Eviction Guide CD when you become a member of the Alberta Landlords Association.