As a landlord, one of the worst thing that could happen to your rental investment, aside from damage by tenants, is a tenant that just doesn’t pay their rent. You can read our article about how to carefully choose a tenant to make sure this won’t happen to you. However, let’s say you are in that situation. Here are the steps to get your money back from an unpaid rent.
Give your tenant the benefits of the doubt
If it is the first time your tenant is late on rent, try to give them the benefit of the doubt and reach out to them, or better yet, meet them. Sudden unemployment or large bills could be the cause of your unpaid rent. Set a payment schedule with your tenant to accommodate both of you and bet on his good faith. However, if your tenant doesn’t respect your payment agreement, then you should take further steps
Start legal action
Your tenant is reluctant to pay rent, even with an adaptable payment plan. You can decide to give him a notice to end the tenancy for non-payment. Depending on your province, the notice should include:
- The amount you believe your tenant owes you
- A statement that the tenancy will be terminated if you still haven’t received payment before the end of the notice ( 14 days in Ontario and Alberta, 10 days in British Colombia)
- A statement that if the tenant doesn’t pay or move before termination date you will reach out the authorities to get an Eviction Order
If your tenant hasn’t paid nor moved out, reach to the provincial landlord agency to get an Eviction Order that you can then enforce though the Sheriff’s Office or a Court Bailiff.
If you are waiting for the Eviction Order and your tenant offers you to pay a portion of what he owes you, refuse. This will only slow down the process and doesn’t guarantee that he will pay on time later on.
Remember though that even if your tenant doesn’t pay rent you can’t
- Take any of his belongings or put them out of the apartment
- Change the locks without giving the new keys directly
- Cut off vital service such as heat, gas, electricity or water
Even though you duly noted the steps to recover your rent and followed thoroughly, it isn’t guaranteed you will get your money back. Actually, very few landlords get what they’re owed.
The legal system can be quite slow and dreadful. Some people are taking advantage of this and just go from apartment to apartment living rent-free, like a man in Montréal who owes a grand total of $17,000 in rent to multiple owners and still hasn’t paid them back despite a court order.
Invest in an Unpaid Rent insurance to make sure your rental experience doesn’t turn into a nightmare. Get a quote with APRIL rental and see how you can benefit from our unpaid rent insurance.