Naturally in our line of work we have the opportunity to assist landlords with the headaches they cause themselves by accidentally renting to bad tenants. From what we see selecting the right tenant is the most important step in the real estate rental business.
Tenancy laws throughout Canada differ greatly, but they all set out specific protections for both landlords and tenants. Most landlords assert that the laws favour tenants in almost every situation. Certain provinces, such as Alberta, offer slightly more protection to landlords than other provinces, where landlords can be forced to endure a problematic tenancy for months, or even years.
The best and most sure-fire way for landlords to avoid having to retain our collection services starts at the very beginning of the landlord-tenant relationship. Landlords who screen their tenants properly will greatly reduce the risk of future loss.
We are far from being experts in the real estate rental business. We are debt collection experts. From our experience a rental application form is probably the most important of any document in the rental process yet it’s absolutely amazing how many landlords are shortchanging themselves because of their lack of attention to this document. This information helps the landlords gain a better understanding of the tenant’s characteristics. More importantly, however, it that it gives the landlord (or their collection agent) some good information to track down the tenant if they should disappear or to enforce an RTDRS Payment Order in Alberta.
A good rental application is not exactly rocket science. It simply needs to capture;
- Employment and Income information – including but not limited to income amounts, employer name, address, phone number, supervisor information and length of employment.
- Current demographics – current address, phone number, email address, date of birth, and SIN
- Next of kin and/or personal references – names and phone numbers
- Copy of government Identification – (ie driver’s license). The collection recovery process proves to be a lot more effective when names and birthdates are correct.
There’s an old saying; “Garbage In – Garbage Out”. Providing your third party collection agent with at least a chance to succeed by providing robust tenant information obtained at the start of the rental relationship will make all the difference in protecting your bottom line should the relationship go south sometime down the road. Cut corners and expect to cut your profits.