The house we were going to rent out was the first house we ever bought and we raised our four children there for 10 years. We had lovingly renovated it, while the renovations were not
complete when we bought a newer bigger home, it would have been difficult to rent or sell. Before we could make a decision, I was approached by a person that I vaguely knew. She wanted to
buy the house. Great, and we didn’t even have to list it with an agent!
So my husband and I met with them at our house, laid out the price and any other details. They didn’t baulk at the price or the details, they agreed with everything and agreed to take
the house “as is” That is when we were asked if we could do a lease to own because they would only be ready to buy in a year. They explained that they had an accepted offer on a house, had
a mortgage lined up but then the buyer reneged and because of all the hits (by mortgage lenders) to their credit report they now couldn’t get a mortgage. We didn’t quite understand how
credit reporting worked, but we bought the excuse. We agreed to do a lease to own. My husband was against this, but I reminded him that we bought that very same house ten years ago with the
vendor holding the mortgage when we couldn’t get a normal mortgage and that we should give them a chance like we were afforded a chance.
So we went to see our lawyer to draw up a lease. We presented it to the soon-to-be tenants and they weren’t happy because it was only for three years. Our lawyer didn’t recommend doing
it longer than that. I mentioned to them that it didn’t matter really since they’re getting a mortgage in a year right? We went over the lease with them, explained a few things had them
initial and sign. She didn’t want her name on the lease so we removed it.
We had many warnings. Our lawyer didn’t recommend doing this, a local store owner mentioned how she was a big spender and he only worked sporadically. I concluded that they must have
money. I noticed some of the wasteful big spending and that she treated her children horribly and he was a fast talker; he had an excuse for everything.
We allowed them to pay the rent on the 5th of the month, didn’t ask for a deposit, didn’t do reference checks, credit checks or income verification checks. We asked for 12 post dated
cheques and they only gave us four.
The second rent check they asked us to hold for a few days, then the next two were okay. But then we had to call them a few times for next month’s rent. They played dumb, and thought
they gave us enough cheques for awhile. So they came over, dropped off a few more cheques and that’s when the avalanche started. She didn’t return phone calls which I thought was strange
until I checked our bank account and noticed a rent cheque bounced! My husband got hold of him and he came over right away with a new cheque which cleared along with next month’s rent. Then
from there it was all downhill.
We served them N4s for the next three month’s rent which he cleared up but was late again. Next few months were either late or bounced, they received N4s again and we filed an
application for eviction and non payment of rent. We were stunned when we only got a hearing date 6 weeks later. We offered to buy out the tenant to get rid of them. She told us no, they
was determined to own the house.
Just before the hearing date, they came up with the cash and next month’s rent. They paid, started the cycle all over again with late rent and bounced cheques. So we filed all the
necessary paperwork again. By the time the hearing date rolled around, they owed four months rent. He called the day before the hearing with a payment plan that included payments after the
hearing date, we told him no, we were going to the hearing. They didn’t show at the hearing, we mentioned to the ajudicator that they contacted us with a payment plan which we didn’t
accept. We received a hearing order for eviction. The tenant asked for a review since they couldn’t attend the first hearing because he was sick. This review hearing was granted without
having to pay a cent in trust to the Landlord and Tenant Board. We were stunned.
Then the maintenance calls started to come in. Now unfortunately, this house was not quite up to par when we rented/lease to owned it so we knew we would be in a bit of a bind if they
filed a maintenance claim, which they did.
We contacted a very well known landlord paralegal who advised us to somehow get out of the lease first since they could continue to file maintenance claims, we would have to spend big
money doing the repairs, then they may still purchase the house with the pre-set price.
At the hearing we went to mediation; all was settled. He withdrew the maintenance claim; we took $75 off the rent to get out of the lease and $500 off the arrears but they had to repair
all of the damage they did, and pay the current arrears promptly (which they did) We now realize that we were far too generous with his settlement.
Sure enough, as soon as they were caught up, they were late again. We filed the N4 as soon as legally possible and started the process over. Hearing was within three weeks and we went to
mediation again. They wanted to be able to stay for the next six weeks, but not have to pay anything and I believe the ajudicator would have allowed this. We said no way. We agreed for him
to pay the arrears in monthly installment for 8 months but he had to be out in twelve days.
They moved out, the place was trashed and filthy and his repairs were not done correctly. If we had to hire people to clean and repair, the bill would have been 10k! They didn’t pay the
agreed upon monthly payments, so we garnished their paycheques. We collected half and then they declared bankruptcy.
Many mistakes were made and many lessons were learned in our first foray into landlording. We were dumblords. The mistakes will never be repeated and the lessons learned will be passed
onto to all who will read my rambling posts on this new landlord website.