Why It Doesn’t Matter If Your Tenant Says They Are Leaving!
Ironically, you cannot take a tenant at their word when it comes to an eviction. Here’s how I learned this lesson personally.
In one of my shared accommodation properties a few years ago, I had a tenant who “hurt” his back and was laid off. Now I understand a back injury can be debilitating and can put you down and out quickly, yet this fellow was usually quite spry. Anyway, as rent time came up he found himself short.
I let it ride the first week, but the second week I became a little more emphatic , suggested he be gone by the weekend as he wasn’t paying and he finally agreed to move out in a few days, he just had to arrange to get a buddy to help him. So now I had his agreement that he would move out, he knew he owed me, but he understood he had to go, so I could live with that.
It just happened to turn out that I was out of the city for a couple of days visiting my parents when he was scheduled to move out. Normally I would be there when tenants leave a normal rental, but with a shared accommodation, I usually have them lock the doors behind them and leave the keys inside. I change the locks every three to six months on these properties anyway, so I’m not to concerned.
Anyway, while I am away, I get a call from him, he had talked to the Landlord and Tenant folks and they informed him, I have to provide a 14 day eviction notice and he doesn’t have to leave until the eviction date is due.As you can imagine, I was less than ecstatic about their advice, but legally they were right.
You see, under the Residential Tenancy Act, there is a tiny section that reads;
3(1) any waiver or release by a tenant of the rights, benefits or protections under this Act is void.
Translated it means if the tenant signs an agreement with you agreeing to vacate and you haven’t provided them with an eviction notice or filed an application with the Residential Tenancy Dispute Resolution Service and received an eviction date, they can change their mind. Whether it’s verbal or written, the act voids their original intent to vacate.
In my case I served the tenant with a 14 day eviction notice within a couple hours of arriving in the city and as per one of my previous posts included not only the non-payment, but a couple other breaches of the lease as well, just to ensure the eviction stuck. If I only had the non-payment on the eviction, if he managed to come up with the payment prior to the eviction date, it would have been void.
He did drag it out to the last day and didn’t attempt to drag it out or fight it anymore, which was a pleasant surprise. In the end though I was out about four weeks rent, I went through way too much frustration and I was much wiser about the process and now you are too! So be cautious if a tenant tells you they are leaving.
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