By: Beth O'Donoghue

2018- The Good, The Bad....Now the Ugly Pt.2

Tags: Real Estate, Toronto, YYZ

2018 was also my year of AWFUL tenants. Oh Man. Top 3 tenant stories coming at you.

1)      Yorkville Cash Cow

So I had this unit in Yorkville that had a tenant in it forever. The building was getting old and the tenant was paying peanuts. The landlords took the unit back and did a full reno before listing it for rent again. They had originally planned to renovate it to live in themselves however they are both in their 70s and when push came to shove they had to go back home. (they live in Italy) The tenant ended up taking them to the landlord and tenant board asking for over $20,000.

This was my first experience at the board and probably my last. (I hope) I was warned that the landlord and tenant board heavily favours tenants but my goodness. Listening to other cases and watching how they make decisions there was mind blowing. If you are a landlord be very afraid of the landlord and tenant board. I sure am. The judge was not having any of me. He would never let me finish what I was saying. He ruled in favour of the tenant and my client had to fork out $20k. Insanity.

2)      The tenant that just won’t leave

So another one of my clients bought a unit off me a few years ago with the intention of downsizing his family. Within 2 weeks they realized they could not do it so we put the place for rent. Long story short the first 2 girls we had in there did not work out. They were replaced by 2 other girls. At the end of the lease one of the girls informed us she was leaving. We had a discussion with them both where we determined when they would both move out as the other could not afford rent on her own. 10 days later tenant #2 we will call her informed us she would actually not be leaving.

We then basically had to take steps to have her removed. This was not a good feeling. I am not one for conflict in general and kicking someone out is not nice. She would not stop bradding me, telling me that my client and I was bullying her. She made such a fuss. I told my client he could try and talk it out but in the meantime to file with the landlord and tenant board to get this done formally if she still refused. We filed and got a date 3 days before they were supposed to move out. With the date coming up the tenant was still refusing to leave. We had a really strong case, you can’t give notice and then take it back, but with my previous experience there I was not extremely optimistic. 2 Days before the hearing she agreed to leave. I have no idea why people chose to make things so hard but she did. I learned by this point I was a landlord and tenant wiz. To stick to my guns and be firm without being rude.

This poor landlord. When we got the unit back it was not in the best condition so we made some simple improvements and within 2 weeks I found a tenant. It is hard when you are carrying multiple properties as this owner is. Especially right at Christmas. The vacancy had my client short on cash so I gave him the first and last deposit (we usually keep this until closing) so he could get caught up and not have to worry. He will pay me when the property closes and I guarantee I will have this client forever.

It is always the little things. While it may seem little to wait for my money (which it isn’t- I have a mortgage too) it is huge for them and this little boost will make a big difference for them so I can wait. And this time I found the tenant which means they are AMAZING so no more issues. (fingers crossed)


3)      Someone got stabbed

Yep. So that happened this year. One of my clients is a real estate investment group. Their accountant had just received his first investment unit he bought off floorplan. We got it rented out and he was happy af. Within 2 weeks I am getting a call from him saying the tenant stabbed her boyfriend in the unit last night. My literal words to him were “fuck off”. I kept talking. I thought he was joking. He was not.

Basically, the night before the call there was an incident in the unit. A guy who happens to work for us happened to be in the same hall as this unit and heard the fight. He went out to check if everyone was ok and ended up in between these two as they battled. Blood, broken doors, holes in walls, broken mirrors, broken blinds, the whole 9 yards. We went in to check the unit the next day and felt like we were walking through a horror scene. Tenant went MIA. She was probably extremely embarrassed. But damage was done. (Literally and figuratively) When you cause willful damage to a property as a tenant that in itself is cause for eviction. I had her on a couple things anyway but decided the damage was going to be the easiest to prove if it went to a hearing. (I AM SO AFRAID OF HEARINGS AT THIS POINT) I advised my client and he told me to proceed with the eviction. While I am not a lawyer (nor do I pretend or want to be) I have enough knowledge that I am able to provide some solid advice. I would always tell my clients to consult a lawyer as well just to make sure. I sent over the eviction paperwork and obviously she was upset. I was super unsure of how this was going to go. She did put up a fight and tried talking to the landlord. We pretended to not know anything (although I had all the scoop from my friend who was there) and she lied through her teeth time and time again. We would of given her a chance but after all the lying decided against it. We were going through the process of filing the paperwork and randomly one day I got a call from the building- she moved out. Just one day out of nowhere.

She did not fix anything however nothing was too crazy or expensive so I told my client forget about it, it is just better that she is gone.  I got it back up and had a new tenant within the same month.


Is your head spinning yet?! 2018 was insane for me. Although I had a lot of tough situations I learned so much. I also gained a lot of confidence in my abilities. I am very much an expert and came into that realization in a big way this year. I have spent so much of my career learning. Like a sponge to be honest. I have been taking in as much information as I can get. I will never stop learning in this business and I am so excited for what 2019 is going to bring. Just no more tenant issues for like 6 months I need a break.