Landlords should be held accountable for tenants’ actions

A surprising majority (54 per cent) of CREW readers – investors themselves – believe that landlords should be held accountable when their tenants routinely ignore noise and liquor bylaws, but industry experts suggest the focus should be on due diligence when it comes to tenant selection.

“It is in a landlord's best interest to perform a detailed background check on any prospective tenant to ensure that individual will follow the rules outlined in the rental agreement,” said Vanessa Roman, a real estate agent and the host of HGTV’s Reno vs Relocate.

“The landlord should also ensure the tenant has reached the age of majority, thereby responsible for their person, actions and decisions in the eyes of the law.”

Dustin Graham, a sales representative at RE/MAX and leader of The Graham Partners team, added: “If such a bylaw is enacted, I would encourage any landlord to include clauses within the lease contract to indemnify them against any legal action taken upon the tenant(s).

“Unfortunately, even this may not be foolproof depending on the specifications of a bylaw.”

The poll was conducted following a CREW news story about a proposed nuisance bylaw, backed by the mayor of Wolfville, N.S., which could see landlords face fines for their tenants’ bad behaviour.

Just under half (46 per cent) of respondents to the poll said landlords should not be held responsible. Graham said: “I would not support such a bylaw without a better understanding of the potential ramifications toward landlords.

“If a law was passed stating that landlords could be held responsible, I think this would only open a can of worms and put landlords at risk, especially as it relates to more serious tenant issues, such as grow houses.”

Roman added: “To even suggest the landlord should be held responsible and subject to fines for the actions of their adult tenant is not only ridiculous, it goes against the very foundations of the freedom and rights afforded to all Canadians under our constitution.

“Tenants, like all Canadians, have the right to choose their actions and make personal decisions; so when a tenant, like any other legal adult in society, chooses to disobey municipal laws, that individual should be punished to the fullest extent of the law.”


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  • by 2014-11-25 12:46:57 PM

    It is very surprise to held the landlord responsible for their tenants actions.It should be reversed. Th tenants are adults and they should be responsible for their acts as they are responsible for all other acts under the citizen category. This means police is responsible for any misconduct of any adult in the society.

  • by John 2014-11-25 1:13:40 PM

    It is utterly ridiculous that this is even a question. Landords are landlords ,they are not the police or sworn to uphold law and order . They are to provide a safe, clean , functional residence to an Adult or Family and maintain that property to this standard. The adults that sign a standard contract are the ones to abide by the law of the land .Imagine if we all went around and started policing our selves . where would it stop .

  • by Doris Belland 2014-11-25 1:56:36 PM

    I couldn't agree more with John. Investors are neither babysitters nor parents for their tenants. You can do a thorough background check all you like, but it won't prevent cases of tenants behaving badly. Landlords should follow proper procedures to deal with problem tenants but the onus for the tenants' behaviour can only reasonably fall on their own shoulders. To pass on that responsibility and the ensuing liability to landlords is unreasonable.

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