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Fire damaged home. Wondering about rebuild and obligations...

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by REisME, Feb 14, 2017.

  1. REisME
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    REisME New Member Registered

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    Had the misfortune of having a tenant's relative staying in my rental and their discarded cigarette caused a serious fire. The house will be gutted down to the studs and outer walls and rebuilt. Thank goodness for insurance and rental income replacement clauses!

    I have withheld the damage deposit and last month's rent from the tenant (which they want back) on the basis that the 'guest' was not approved by me (lease states anyone over 14 days must be approved in writing) and that the tenant is responsible for damages caused by her guests. Also, just days before the fire, I suspected there was someone else staying at the suite and specifically asked the tenant to make sure the door was locked and that no one else had the key. Tenant ignored me and gave the guest keys. Also noteworthy is that the tenant had changed the lock and failed to actually give ME a key, which again points to questionable motives.

    I'm assuming that I'm within my rights with the damage deposit but can I withhold returning any of the last month's rent too? (This is in AB) Is there any way they have a case as they are planning to go to the LTDRS?
     
  2. Caleb West
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    Caleb West Builder of Significance REIN Member

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    You're right. But withholding the damage deposit could cause more problems, if the tenant was careless then , they will continue to be careless with everything else. That means trashing your name, filing complaints with the City etc. In my experience if you can live without the money from the tenant as insurance is paying for it giving it back with a simple document stating they loose any claim against the property etc.
    No headache
    No phone calls
    No stupidity on your property by the tenant ever again

    And if you need someone to rebuild the suite let me know we just wrapped up 3 basements that were flooded with intact insurance.

    My cell is 780.288.9638 , our office is on the south side just of 50th street and Sherwood park free way in Edmotnon
    Let me know if I can be of any help
     
  3. Marnie
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    Marnie Administrator Staff Member REIN Member

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    I would suggest you contact the Landlord Tenant Advisory Board to get a clear answer on this. I have found this to save me any second guessing.
     
  4. alaas
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    alaas Active Member REIN Member

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    Hello

    What do you mean by "Last months rent" Are you referring to the rent paid for the month he last resided or for a future month? Its important to note that if this was intended for a future month then insurance will not pay you loss of rent for that month as you can't benefit from a claim and if not claimed "The future rent" they could consider it fraud, if this is the case just give it back and save yourself some headaches. If anything, you'll get a practically brand new place when all is said and done and the gain will more than offset the rent paid back to the tenant.

    My recommendation as hard as it is to swallow, one has to remember that they also have suffered a significant loss even though they caused it, it most likely wasn't intentional, save yourself the headache and come out looking like the better guy.

    When there is a fire, flood etc, the landlord is not responsible to provide the rent back (rent for the month they resided)to the tenant as they are supposed to have renters insurance for this, however you cant collect twice as stated above.

    Please call the LTDRS or the landlord/renter 780-496-5959. Always better to be safe then sorry.

    Lisa
     
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  5. REisME
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    REisME New Member Registered

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    >Are you referring to the rent paid for the month he last resided or for a future month?
    I was referring to the month of the fire. They paid rent for January and one week into the month the fire occurred and they want 3 weeks of rent returned.
     
  6. kfort
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    kfort Well-Known Member REIN Member

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    You can't charge them for rent when they weren't there (3 weeks). Additionally, those 3 weeks should be covered by your insurance.

    Same as if you had someone fully vacated 1 week early, you cant rent that week (but can give it away free as a move in bonus). Double renting = no no.
     
  7. alaas
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    alaas Active Member REIN Member

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    I think the biggest thing here is to always check with the LTDRS 780-496-5959, and in the end as much as its sucks, you may just want to give the money back as they too (even though) it's their fault, have most likely lost everything. I always believe that business is business but sometimes we have to remember that we're dealing with actual people and their lives, the amount that you give back to them will help them a lot and as a bonus you will get paid back from Insurance anyhow. As an added bonus give them a small $10 tim's card to wish them well, I know this sounds crazy but believe me it works, they will be in tears and if you have a website or blog they'll probably write a review for you thats favourable. When I evict someone I try to make things easy, i.e. I will bring them a little gift (a few days after they've received the notice and have calmed down) and explain that I have no hard feelings etc, this usually floors the tenants as they are not used to it, and almost always my places are left cleaned an undamaged for a small cost of $10.
     
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  8. REisME
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    REisME New Member Registered

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    You're a bigger person than I. I think the hard part is that I'm taking this one personally. The tenant came to me in a disadvantaged position and was suspicious that I'd be willing to help them. I did. Gave them lots of breaks along the way, free furniture, assistance and a significant price drop when the market softened just because I was in a position to help. Met with the tenant and with their main supporters several times to help them strategize how to get ahead financially. Then, after all this, the tenant lied to my face about allowing other people living there, one of whom was the one who burned out my house - only a day after I last talked to the tenant about not letting others have the keys. It was blatant disregard and highly irresponsible.

    I get that business is business, and been a landlord long enough to know that some renters are just terrible people. But when I go out of my way to help and someone craps on my head and then demands their "rights" I just run out of empathy. At this point, I think I'd rather be sued. Don't care if I lose. I'm tired of being taken advantage of by renters who don't care about being honest or responsible.
     
  9. alaas
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    alaas Active Member REIN Member

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    Hello again

    I completely understand the frustration ,but I encourage you to somehow try to do what's easier for you and will be less stress on you, its often easy to take things personally, we all do it, however if you try to remember the end goal and that it's a business, if you've already lost, its best to try and lessen the damage , i.e. I do the gifts when evicting not because I feel sorry for them (I'm not sorry for them as every one has choices), but because it throws the tenant off psychologically as they are used to a landlord being the bad guy so in the end it's a lot less costly financially for me.

    Remember when it comes down to it, the numbers are all that matter.

    If you ever need to vent, you can email me at alaas1977@hotmail.com. Venting can really help, especially with someone who's been there.
     
  10. Matt Crowley
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    Matt Crowley Active Member Registered

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    @REisME there is a time and place to speak with lawyers when they are really worth their rate. This is one of those times. I urge you to make the investment to speak to one soon. You may have gotten too close to this issue. You have so much more to lose than the tenant. Reputation is never for sale.
     
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  11. Rhonda Saavedra
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    Rhonda Saavedra New Member Registered

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    Hi there! According to me take the help of a lawyer who will give you a better suggestion. Also talk with your tenants about the situation, I think something comes up with by talking. You may either search online for the solution. Get more information by checking on the web.
     
  12. LAndersen
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    LAndersen Member REIN Member

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    What exactly is the LTDRS? In Alberta, we refer to it as the RTDRS or Residential Tenancy Dispute Resolution Service. I would recommend talking to them.
     
  13. CorySperle
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    CorySperle Active Member REIN Member

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    Withholding rent aside, the bigger question here is did the tenant have tenant insurance (will assume no), and your likely out $5000 for the deductible since it's an insurance claim so that should be factored into this equation.
     

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