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Calgary Landlord Finds Marijuana Grow-Op In The Basement Of His Rental Property

May 1st, 2014 · Calgary landlord, credit checks, Tenant screening

 Calgary Landlord Finds Marijuana Grow-Op In The Basement Of His Rental Property

Alberta Landlord Sues Tenants For Damages Over $100,000!

Over the past few weeks we’ve read a lot about the challenges facing six B.C. landlords who have faced tenants who lie to landlords to get accepted and after they move in they don’t pay a cent of rent.

It’s a must-read story from CBC news about these serial bad tenants. It’s even got these British Columbia landlords calling for a bad-tenant registry.

This couple has a well-prepared story and has a knack to get small landlords to avoid conducting tenant credit checks as part of their screening process (a big mistake as they have learned).

It’s a good warning call for landlords everywhere.

Bad Tenants Close to Home

Unfortunately there is another must-read story from CBC news regarding the situation in Alberta.

It’s about a Calgary Landlord who found his tenants decided to build a marijuana grow-op in his rental.

The damages from the grow-op are more than $100,000!

Background Story

The landlord is Steve Habbi.

He put up a rental ad online and a couple of tenants replied in 2010. The couple seemed very ‘nice’ and very ‘enthusiastic’ to rent the property with their son who liked the elementary school just across the street from the rental property.

Habbie like the couple, felt comfortable with them, and decided to rent to them.

Flash Forward A Year

Not even a year had passed and Habbi saw something had gone wrong.

While arriving home from a long day at work he saw what looked like a SWAT team assault on his rental home!

He saw police in full gear raiding the home because they found a pretty large scale grow-op in the property basement.

The Calgary police found over two hundred plants with a huge street value.

Tenants Charged

Eventually only one of the tenants was convicted and ordered to pay $10,000 in restitution.

The problem is Landlord Habbi’s losses are far more than just $10,000.

He is now having to sue the ex-tenants to try to recover his losses. It’s doubtful he will see any money from his former tenants/drug-dealers.

Tenant Credit Checks

The landlord thought he had done good tenant screening by checking the references the tenants provided.

This included an employment reference.

But it wasn’t good enough, as his damages of $105,000 and the two hundred pot plants in his rental prove.

Always include a tenant credit check as part of your tenant screening process.

A tenant credit check will show you current and past addresses of prospective tenants and a lot more.

Landlords who conduct credit checks get information far beyond a smile, a nice story and checking references.

Alberta Landlords Association – No Annual Membership Fee!

You can join the Alberta Landlords Association for a one-time fee of only $99 and get access to TVS premium credit checks.

The TVS checks are incredibly helpful for landlords.

You can get set up fast with the TVS toll-free number for ALA members and start doing credit checks from your own home computer for only $10/check!

Each check will provide you with a ton of information on tenants before you rent to them.

It includes a credit score, employment, addresses and a recommendation whether or not you should rent to them.

It’s a deal that can’t be beat!

Compare the Prices for Membership

The Alberta Landlords Association charges only a one-time fee of $99 to get all their great services and the tools landlords need to succeed like TVS and Equifax.

Let’s compare that to:

1. Calgary Residential Rental Association

They charge landlords $145/year!

That means you to continue to pay the large fee each year. This is far too expensive for many small landlords.

2. Edmonton Apartment Association

For landlords with 1-9 units it’s $100/year. Again, they want you to pay, pay and pay each year.

Alberta Landlord Membership Is A Winning Proposition!

Protect yourself and your rental property business with a low one-time fee and access to terrific tenant credit checks.

Make sure you rent to great tenants and avoid the pros (and the criminals!)

Take advantage of a deal that can’t be beat for Alberta landlords

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Alberta Landlords Tenant Screening: GARDA Credit Checks

February 17th, 2014 · Alberta Landlords, credit checks

 Garda tenant credit checks alberta landlords

GARDA Tenant Credit Checks Are a High Quality, Affordable Tool To Find Good Tenants. GO FOR IT!

Alberta landlords know the importance of renting to good tenants.

With our vacancy rate the lowest in Canada there are lots of great tenants out there.

More and more people are coming to Alberta to find jobs and put down roots.

Many newcomers rent for the first few years while saving up for a down-payment to buy their own house or townhouse.

These hard-working, exceptional tenants are often ideal tenants.

They want to make sure they save money, want to stay out of trouble, and want to make sure they work toward a high credit score.

There are also lots of ‘bad tenants’ who know how to manipulate the system

We have seen cases where landlords aren’t careful and rent to tenants who know how to manipulate the system.

In these cases, the landlords end up being out thousands of dollars in lost rent and damages.

Whether it’s a Calgary landlord who trusted someone or an Edmonton landlord who went with their ‘gut feeling’ to rent to someone wearing nice clothes and reciting a well-rehearsed speech.

These tenants are usually coming from Ontario where landlords face lots of challenges and many are getting out of residential rentals.

These tenants are out there, and they are looking to cheat small landlords….and you can avoid them!

How Can I Make Sure I Rent To Good Tenants?

Good tenants have a history of paying on time.

They also are building up their savings and credit score in order to buy their own homes in the future.

This means tenant credit checks are the key.

How Can I Conduct Credit Checks on Tenants in a Legal Way?

Unfortunately many landlords do credit checks on tenants the wrong way, the illegal way.

They do so by contacting a friend who is a real estate agent, a mortgage broker, works at the bank, or works an insurance brokerage or car dealership.

This is not legal and these landlords are breaking their tenant’s privacy rights.

If you do tenant credit checks this way you can get in trouble, and so can your friend or relative who is trying to help you.

How can you get in trouble?

1. Privacy

The tenant can file a privacy complaint against you with the provincial government

2. Equifax Policies

If you are authorized you can only do checks for your specific and listed clients.

Your friend who did the credit check for you can get his or her company blacklisted by Equifax.

What is GARDA?

Garda is recognized as a leader in background screening in Canada.

What Information Do I Get From A GARDA Credit Check?

1.         You get a credit score.

2.         You get confirmation of past and previous employment.

3.         You get information on past addresses (the ‘real’ landlords)

4.         You get a complete financial history.

5.         You can see if anyone is ‘chasing’ them for unpaid bills.

It’s a terrific price for a terrific service that can save you thousands of dollars.

Invest in Your Rental Business and Guarantee Your Rental Business Succeeds

For members of the Alberta Landlords Association, GARDA tenant credit checks are only $12 / check.

Want to avoid professional tenants and rent to good tenants?

You now have a way to look into your potential tenant’s financial history for only $12 / check. 

Go For It!

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Landlords Alberta: Rent Increase 2014

January 1st, 2014 · Alberta Landlords, Rent Increase 2014

 Alberta Landlords Association Rent Increase 2014

How Much Can Alberta Landlords Raise the Rent in 2014?

It’s that time of year when Alberta landlords begin to look forward to the future and that includes increasing the rent in 2014.

With low vacancy rates across the province, most landlords have existing renters.

We’ve received a number of emails in from mostly new landlords asking about rent increases.

So How Much Can I Raise The Rent

A common quest regarding raising the rent comes from Chen in Calgary.

He’s a new Calgary landlord who decided to make our province his home upon coming to Canada.

He bought in Calgary and is now renting out to some tenants since early last year.

He asked if there are any rules for how much he can raise the rent and by how much.

Another email we recently received is from a long term resident of Edmonton.

She knows some friends who rent out their basements and decided to become an Edmonton landlord a couple of years ago.

She hasn’t raised the rent at all since her tenants moved in and wants to try to keep up with her growing expenses and raise the rent in 2014.

No Rent Control In Alberta

Unlike the other provinces in Canada, Alberta doesn’t have rent control.

Rent control is when the government interferes with the free market and dictates to private landlords how much they can raise the rent.

For example, in Ontario landlords can only raise the rent by 0.8% in 2014.

Yes, it’s that low. It’s their second lowest rent controlled increase since the mid-1970’s and it has a lot of landlords in Ontario very unhappy.

Our neighbors to the west also have rent control.

This year British Columbia landlords can raise the rent by 2.2%.

BC landlords at least get a little fairer formula with the how the government comes up with the increase.

They use the inflation rate and add 2% to it knowing the extra costs landlords face to maintain their rental homes and keep them in good shape.

The Rules For Alberta Landlords

There has been some discussion of rent control coming to Alberta in the future.

Fortunately for both landlords and tenants this is only chatter at the moment.

Alberta landlords can raise the rent as much as they want but must follow these rules:

1.  When Can I Raise the Rent?      

You can only raise the rent if you haven’t given your tenants a rent increase in the past year or at least since the start of the tenancy.

2.  How Much Notice Do I Need To Give To My Renters?      

Landlords need to give your tenants written notice of the increase.

If it’s a weekly tenancy you need to give at least three months notice.

If it’s a monthly tenancy (like most of us have) it’s three months.

If it’s what is called a periodic tenancy you need to give ninety days notice.

Alberta Landlords And Increasing the Rent in 2014

You can raise the rent whatever you like as long as you give notice.

The real questions for Alberta landlords is are:

(a) Are you going to raise the rent in 2014? If not, why not?

(b) If you are going to raise the rent, how much will you raise it? Why did you choose this amount for the increase?

These are a couple of questions we will discuss and if you have an opinion email us and we will publish it to help Alberta Landlords network and learn from each other for mutual success.

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Alberta Landlords – Give Christmas Gifts To Good Tenants?

December 15th, 2013 · Alberta Landlords, Property Management

 Alberta landlords gifts for good tenants

This Is a Question Even Experienced, Successful and Experienced Landlords Seem To Disagree On

There as a terrific question posted recently at the Alberta Landlords forum.

The question asked whether or not experienced landlords bought their tenants any gifts for the Christmas season.

At first it might seem like a simple question with an easy answer. Except the question also contained a poll with two options:


The votes for this answer were 107.


The votes for this answer were 105.

The Vote Was Just About Split Evenly

The vote was nearly 50-50.

Memories of the 2000 U.S. election between Al Gore and George W. Bush.

But we don’t have Supreme Court to rule on this one.

With more and more people taking advantage of the opportunity to become a landlord in Alberta it’s an important question to help landlords succeed.

What’s the Answer?

Smart, experienced landlords didn’t agree on the answer. And there were answers from landlords all over Canada, from BC landlords to the East Coast.

Yes, It’s A Good Idea To Buy Christmas Gifts For Your Good Tenants

Some landlords said it was a great way to create a strong and positive relationship with their tenants.

A landlord in Kingston, Ontario decided to buy some gifts for her tenant’s kids.

A Fan Of Income Property Gave Her Opinion

Most of us have seen the HGTV show “Income Property“.

A fan of the show said Scott McGillivray of Income Property advised her and other landlords to show their appreciation to good tenants.

She said Scott said a hand-written Christmas card and a bottle of wine would lead to your tenants appreciating you and showing more respect and care for your rental property.

No Way! Don’t Buy Any Gifts

Others said they would never buy gifts.

One experienced landlord stated that by giving gifts you could create an expectation that somehow there should be a reward for holding up their contractual obligation.

One Ontario landlord worried some of her tenants don’t celebrate Christmas and it could lead to a Human Rights claim against her.

She wrote ” I heard a complaint from a Muslim tenant that his holidays should also be recognized with gifts.”

She added:  “Online I read an article from an atheist about not wanting Christmas gifts.

Although I suspect the majority of tenants would appreciate a gift, I’m not about to try to figure out who would be happy and who would be offended.”

Gift Buying

What do you think?

Experienced landlords what do you do every Christmas?  New landlords will you buy Christmas gifts for your good tenants?

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Alberta Rental Property: Cold Lake

November 21st, 2013 · Alberta Rental Property

 Alberta landlords association invest in cold lake alberta

Cold Lake, Alberta Has Landlords and Investors Excited

Landlords and real estate investors across Canada know Alberta landlords have one of the fairest rental regulatory systems in the nation.

To the west of us, British Columbia landlords are fuming over the 2014 rent increase guideline that doesn’t even cover their increased costs.

-British Columbia landlords can only raise the rent by 2.2% next year.

-Meanwhile, Ontario landlords can’t even charge a damage deposit to their tenants.

In Ontario, tenants have no ‘skin in the game’ and often leave the rental property with garbage, lots to clean up, and even thousands of dollars in damages.

Challenges for Alberta Landlords

One of the biggest challenges for landlords in Alberta is the prices of rental properties.

If you want to buy a house in Calgary or Edmonton, the high prices can create real challenges in your attempt to get monthly cash-flow.

Opportunities to Invest In Alberta Rental Property

According to a recent story in Canadian Real Estate magazine, the city of Cold Lake, Alberta is going to become a new hotspot for savvy investors.

The story says the city’s real estate market is already hot, and it’s just the beginning.

Cold Lake has received the approval to be the new place for manufacturing a new commercial airplane.

Cold Lake Mayor Craig Copeland

Mayor Copeland said he and Canadian Minister of Transportation Lisa Raitt worked together and the new airline project will be ready by early 2014.

This will just be another boost for the city.

Cold Lake already has important gas and oil industries and this new investment will lead to more hard working people come to the area for all the new jobs.

How’s the Rental Market in Cold Lake Now?

Ryan Lefebvre is a Realtor from Cold Lakes Coldwell Banker Team.

He says the vacancy rate in Cold Lake is already zero and the rent for a simple 2 bedroom apartment is around $2,500 per month.

According to Lefebvre Cold Lake has a huge demand for rental properties and a limited supply.

Investing in Alberta

People interested in investing in residential rental properties are targeting Alberta.

No matter where you are, make sure you do proper Tenant Screening.

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Alberta Landlords

October 26th, 2013 · Alberta Landlords

 Alberta landlords welcome

News, Tips, Advice and Great Services & Tools for Alberta Landlords

We want to say a warm hello and welcome to our site to all Alberta Landlords.

The goal of this site is to help landlords succeed.

We will provide news, tips, and advice from experienced and successful landlords and Alberta property managers.

We will also give you access to the high quality, low cost tools and services from landlords all over Alberta.

Everything from credit checks to criminal checks to high quality documents and manuals.

Great Opportunities

We know the province is growing and more and more newcomers are coming to Alberta to find jobs.

These hard-working people need places to live.

It leads to the vacancy rate being very low.

It’s a great time to be a landlord with so many tenants out there.

Lots of Challenges Too

We’ve heard a lot of stories about landlords facing some big challenges in 2013.

These are stories you won’t see on HGTV’s Income Property Show.

Some of the stories are downright scary and almost unbelievable if the they weren’t true.

Look at a couple of the recent headlines and think what you would do if you were the landlord facing these problems.

(1) Alberta man declares rented home an ’embassy’ to avoid eviction

What a headline. His ’embassy’ really? Yes, it’ happened.

Read all about this incredible story at the Calgary Sun website.

(2) Calgary Landlord Faces Racial Slurs From Tenants He Was Evicting

Another horrible headline you just never want to read.

His tenants thought not paying rent and leaving damages behind wasn’t enough. They also had to leave offensive racial slurs behind.

Some of the slurs written on the walls of the damages rental property.

Read more about this story at the Alberta Landlords website.

How Can You Avoid the Catch the Opportunity of Being a Successful Alberta Landlord and Avoid The Challenges?

In the next few months we’re going to spend a lot of time on this topic.

We will focus on the importance of tenant screening. Handshakes and smiles aren’t enough for landlords any more.

You need to now the laws and understand the methods to rent to good tenants.

It’s also important for Alberta landlords to always do credit checks and criminal checks before renting to someone and handing over the keys.

Let’s Get Started!

Thank you for viewing the site.

We hope you become a regular reader because things are going to be good.

It’s time for landlords from Calgary to Edmonton to Red Deer to Lethbridge and all over the province to begin networking and doing great tenant screening.

It’s time to to modernize the rental sector and educate Alberta landlords on how to succeed and take advantage of the wonderful opportunities and handle any challenges.

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