Grow-op case stirs anger amongst landlords

The ruling in favour of a tenant that had a grow-op operation and did not pay rent fuels further resentment towards the landlord board.

Investor anger at the leniency and favouritism towards tenants has reached peak levels following another high-profile case in favour of a "bad" tenant.

A B.C. landlord went public this week with her story after the provincial Residential Tenancy Branch ruled in favour of a tenant, despite not paying rent and having a grow-op on-site.

The arbitrator said the landlord, in this case, had failed to provide sufficient evidence that the tenant jeopardized the health and safety or lawful right or interest of the landlord by having the grow-op on site.

“Enough is enough, investors need to fight back,” says Kayla Andrade from Ontario Landlord’s Watch. “Almost every province is dealing with a Residential Tenancy Act that is geared to protecting the tenants. In this case even criminals.”

Ottawa investor Tracy Ma tells CREW that this incident would not put her off from buying more rental properties, but it re-enforces the importance of doing more due diligence on tenants.

“Unfortunately, the justice system is a very convoluted system and when the process is not followed by the book, in accordance with the Residential Tenancy Act,  the outcome is often in favour of the tenants,” she says.

“Having an illegal grow-up is a landlord's nightmare, but if you do all your due diligence, you can lower your chances of getting such a tenant, or at least mitigate the impact when you do get one.”

Ma recommends that coupled with a rigorous application, investors should carry out periodic inspections and study the local residential tenancy acts.

"Like any high pressure sales pitch, if the applicant is pushing hard to get into the place as soon as possible, this might be a red flag.  If they are organized, and looking for a place in 2 months because they have to give their current landlord adequate notice, this is usually a good sign," she says.  “I always use Google and a People-Search Engine (like to check the person out.”

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