I had a client approach me and asked me to help evict 12 deadbeat tenants who have not paid rent since May 2014. Their arrears have reached in excess of $28,000. He explained he was in the process of purchasing the property but, at the time he approached me, he had not closed on the sale of the property. He was not excited to inherit this mess and was desperate to remove these “tenants”. He was quick to mention the property was a legal fourplex but he believed it was operating as an illegal rooming house. He approached me within days after the city of London experienced an unfortunate death in an illegal rooming house. I have a real hard time saying “NO” to friends, family and, of course, clients. My senses told me to “Stay Away Danger” but, due to my relentless obsession to please, l said I will be happy to help him through this ordeal. After our initial conversation, I had plenty of questions but, first, I asked him to provide me with the following information.
1. Please provide me all the leases
2. Provide me an accurate rent roll
3. Provide me with a Tenant aged receivable
4. All completed and outstanding work orders from the current tenant
5. Any outstanding work orders from the city
6. Any outstanding orders from the Land and Tenant Board or Notices issued to the Tenant by the current Landlord
A few days later, to my shock, I received a piece of lined paper with a hand written ledger outlining the current outstanding tenant receivables. The majority of names were missing the tenants’ last name. I proceeded to call my client, fully expecting him to provide me with more information, only to have him say, “This is ALL the information I was provided.” I quietly asked myself, “What did you get yourself into?”
I explained to the client we will need to serve each tenant an N4 (Notice to Terminate Tenancy due to Non-payment of Rent) and, if they do not move out before the N4 expires within 14 days, it will cost $170 x 12 to proceed with an L1 Application. He did not want to proceed by serving them individually. He wanted to serve them in groups of 4. I simply explained you have only one kick at the can. If you proceed and the tenant provides a lease or documentation stating he or she rents only one room, the application will be null and void and the process has to start again. Guess who showed up to the hearing with a signed lease? If you guessed the tenant you are absolutely correct.
I cannot repeat this fact enough to landlords… You cannot manipulate the Law!
Initially, in the beginning, it might cost you more money but it will cost you more if you have to start the process over again. Instead of 3 months to evict, it will take 6. Instead of $1300, it will now cost the owner approximately $15000 in additional rent loss and $2000 in filing and legal fees.