Weed smoking tenant

TiffanyS

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#1
Hi there,







Need some help with this one`







I have a brand new tenant that just signed a 1 year lease with me. Since she`s moved in however the basement tenants have complained multiple times about her smoking weed in the house. I have talked to my upstairs tenant about this and given her a written warning that documented the dates and number of complaints.


Since the warning I`ve had yet another complaint about the smell of marijuana in the house, and so I have told her that she needs to find a new place to live. I wanted to give her September to find a new place to live and also give me time to find new tenants without being out a months rent.







Looking on advice on how to go about this? Do I need to serve her with an actual eviction notice? Because she is signed on for a full year can she refuse to leave? The lease obviously states that any illegal drug use is forbidden and grounds for eviction.

I just want to go about this in the best way possible







Thanks for your help :)


Tiffany
 

Sherilynn

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#2
In what province is the suite? Evictions work differently in each province. In Alberta, if you give an eviction notice and the tenant doesn't leave, that is considered to be an objection to the eviction and you must then go to the RTDRS to get an order of possession. That is why I skip the eviction and go straight to the RTDRS.



The problem is that you will be unable to prove that it was marijuana. The tenant will call it incense and the courts will accept that because there are several types of incense that smell just like dope (including traditional Native Sweetgrass). This means that your only hope of eviction is that you have a non-smoking term in your lease and you find actual evidence that she has been smoking in the suite. And it is very difficult to get an eviction based on smoking. All the tenant has to do is promise to never do it again.



If you really want to get rid of this person, your best bet is likely to offer her money to leave.
 

TiffanyS

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I am in Calgary, Alberta.


I do have a non smoking clause in the lease.


She has admitted via phone records that I have saved (txt messaging) that she has smoked in the house and had agreed to only smoke outside of the premises after our first conversation.


She is a great tenant so far otherwise and I don`t necessarily want her to leave however the downstairs tenants are now saying they will be leaving if she doesn`t stop or move out.


Thanks for the advice Sherilynn :)
 

invst4profit

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#4
To begin you need to change your opinion about your tenant. She is not a great tenant as you suggest as she is unwilling to follow rules and by doing so has upset other tenants. She is a terrible tenant.



Insist she leave, suggest you will be informing the police and by all means issue her a eviction notice if she does not agree to voluntarily leave immediately. Do not for one second believe anything she promises to do. From this point forward do not give an inch or agree to any compromises. If she does volunteer to leave send her a eviction notice telling her it is insurance that she will keep her promise. Never pay a tenant to leave, it's extortion and in the event she does not leave as agreed she can use the attempted bribe against you at a board hearing.



Tenants like her respond to only one thing, intimidation. She needs to understand if she does not leave you will make her stay as miserable as legally possible. If you are not up to the challenge let the other tenants move out and find a replacement that also smokes pot otherwise your problems will not end. The longer you stall at this point the less likely you will ever get rid of her.
 

Sherilynn

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#5
I disagree, Greg.



Without evidence of a lease violation, eviction won't work. And if smoking is the only violation, then it still won't work. Been there, done that. We had photos and witnesses and everything, and all the tenant had to do was say to the adjudicator "I promise I'll stop."



And intimidation won't work if this is a professional tenant. They have seen it all, done it all, and they know how to work the system. Intimidation is especially ineffective if the landlord's threats are empty. The police won't come just because you think you smell dope. They can't do anything about it based on smell alone. (Been there, done that too.)



Offering an incentive to leave is not extortion and it cannot be used against you in court. Frankly, that's ridiculous. However, if the landlord "makes her stay as miserable as legally possible," THAT could be used in court.
 

invst4profit

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#6
A experienced landlord must learn all the tricks of this business to insure they operate to there benefit not that of the tenants. Personally I abhor bribing/rewarding tenants for their bad behaviour and for that reason find much more creative ways to convince bad tenants that they do not want to stay in my property. It is part of operating a successful business.



I agree that idle threats are not the way to go and as such I don't threaten. I inform tenants of why they do not want to stay and always follow through.

I have taken many tenants to our LTB and have learned that often the experience is intimidating enough to convince them to move out. Sometimes I must take them repeatedly but eventually they learn a valuable lesson that benefits their future landlords. Tenants need to be trained to know right from wrong not rewarded for bad behaviour.



Bribing tenants rewards them for bad behaviour and teaches them that that may treat landlords any way they chose without ramifications. I never want to end up with a tenant that was bribed by a previous landlord. In addition when the word gets around that a landlord pays tenants to leave they become targets for other professional tenants. It shows they are weak, unable to properly manage their properties and degrades the quality of tenant seeking to rent from them.



It isn't always necessary to win in order to achieve your goals.
 

Sherilynn

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#7
I have never offered a tenant any incentive to move, but I know that other landlords sometimes find this to be the quickest and easiest method.



Personally, I use a 3-month trial lease and that is usually enough for me to discover those rare tenants that are not whom I thought they were and I can get rid of them without fuss at the end of the lease.



In the to which case I referred earlier, the tenant was a model tenant for the duration of the trial lease. She started breaking the rules and becoming a real headache the day after I renewed her lease (thankfully for only 4 months). She and her ex fought constantly and damaged the exterior doors, they smoked inside, and I suspect that her Dad was living there (without permission). Of course, when we took the matter to court the tenant promised never to smoke again, and she promised that her Dad was not living there, and she swore that the doors were damaged when someone tried to break into the house. The RTDRS said "that sounds reasonable" and they let her stay.



When you have a tenant like that, no amount of intimidation, or trips to court, or anything you can think of will convince them to move out or "teach them." And while I didn't offer that tenant an incentive to leave, I don't see how doing so would have "rewarded (her) for bad behaviour" any more than the trip to court rewarded her. In fact, the knowledge that she could work the legal system in her favour is probably the most damaging reward.



It is foolish to think that landlords hold all the cards. And it could easily bite you in the backside to approach any tenant situation with the attitude that we can or should train people to know right from wrong. The tenants who practice such behaviour know exactly what they are doing; they know exactly how to work the system; and we are often merely pawns in their little game. Chances are that you aren't the first landlord that has fallen prey to such a tenant.



The key is good screening so that such people are never allowed to be your tenants. But even with excellent screening, it is possible to get the occasional dud. And when that happens, I suggest that you use whatever legal means necessary to get rid of them as quickly as possible, including offering incentives to leave.



It is worth noting that I have had only one such tenant, and there was no mad rush of similar tenants knocking down my door to live in any of my suites after this tenant left. My tenant profile has not been degraded. In fact, the experience taught me a few more tricks to weed out similar prospective tenants.



(And I like winning. To quote Nuke Laloosh: "It's like...better than losing.")
 

invst4profit

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#8
I have 33 tenants and can not show the slightest sigh of weakness without risking other tenants following suite in the tracks of my few bad tenants.



In addition I have been in this business long enough, and my family before me, to have experienced every possible situation with tenants. No good deed goes unpunished is truer in this business than any other.

It is the responsibility of all responsible landlords to train all tenants in proper behaviour regarding respecting both their landlord and his property. Their respect may be disingenuous but if they are smart they will still show it when dealing with me.



I have the utmost respect for and will bend over backwards for a good tenant, bad tenants quickly regret ever having becoming my tenant.

Novice landlords may fear their tenants and the RTDRS/LTB I however fear neither because like all systems you must simply learn how to work it to your advantage.



As a example I had my worst tenant vacate in the fall of 2010, against her will, and to this day she is still paying me rent monthly and fighting to get back in. She must continue to pay even though she no longer lives on my property in order for her to maintain her right return. I insured the LTB order her to continue to pay at the first board hearing in 2010 knowing full well it could drag on for years.. From the time she left it has been my goal to keep her paying for as long as possible without returning. I have used every possible stall tactic at my disposal and will continue to do so indefinitely or until she wakes up to the fact that I am always going to be one step ahead of her. Surprisingly my only other two bad tenants have done a 180 since 2010 and have decided a attitude adjustment was in order or they may face the same fate.

By my standards all 33 tenants are now perfect tenants.
 

Sherilynn

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#9
There is no reason to fear the RTDRS or LTB, but that doesn't mean they will always decide on the side of right.



And I can almost guarantee that an eviction would not stand in this case. So what options remain? Either empty threats/intimidation, offering an incentive to leave, or letting the tenant stay until the end of her lease.



Pick one.
 

invst4profit

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#10
In Ontario, aside from non payment cases, the board never rules on the side of right. They always side with the tenant. It is a known fact that ours is the TENANT PROTECTION BOARD but this does not mean a landlord is powerless. We simply do not us the board, or avoid it at all cost, and therefor must be more creative in accomplishing our goals.



As far as the case at hand is concerned I personally would take her to the board, possibly expecting to lose, and then make sure she decided voluntarily to leave within a few months. How I would do that is my personal business but I can guarantee she will decide moving is in her best interest. Not all tenants are stupid enough or hard willed enough to stay where they are obviously not wanted. Most will decide that centering there life on a never ending battle with a professional landlord is simply not worth the trouble and move on.



Unfortunately the majority of landlords have neither the skills or desire to take this business professionally. The OP probably falls into that majority otherwise she would not be on here seeking advice.
 

Testamentpm

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Tiffany,



Pay her to leave, and if necessary drive the uhaul to the storage unit. IMHO it is the most efficient, it'll cost you a half month revenue and a half day of work. And no need to get too formal with the board, informal resolution is best. Also, your portfolio will thatnk you in the long run.



Wayne