September 21, 2014
“Many would suspect that Florence Fraser has seen it all after spending 28 years in the property management business…”
I felt a traitor to my class background when I wrote this piece after being given the assignment when working at the Gulf Islands Driftwood because I spent many years of my life as a renter. On Salt Spring Island and elsewhere in the world, renters often get the short end of the stick. When there are a shortage of rental units in a community, landlords often think they are doing you a favour to rent you a place and seem to feel they owe you nothing else. My long time landlord on Salt Spring Island charged me fair rent but often refused to replace the utilities in my place that were already in fairly poor condition when I moved in. I lived and paid rent in the place for 16 years.
Of course I know, though, that some tenants make it difficult for the rest of us by trashing the places that they rent. This is an article about this kind of situation:
Gulf Islands Driftwood
March 29, 2000
Tenants trash Maliview house
by Tanya Lester
Many would suspect that Florence Fraser has seen it all after spending 28 years in the property management business.
But even she was not prepared for the condition of the property at 196 Maliview Drive when the off-island owner asked for her assistance last week.
The retired property manager described the three-bedroom residence and land surrounding it as being totally trashed, absolutely filthy and with a garbage-filled backyard as well as “tons and tons of junk.”
To top it off, dogs owned by the four-member family who dwelled there had chewed up the entire backyard lawn and defecated all over it.
Fraser said the owner had been aware of the mess. When the tenants did not pay their rent, he saw this as his opportunity to evict them and asked Fraser, who works as a bailiff, to serve them an eviction notice.
The Driftwood was contacted by Fraser as she believes it is time to get the message out to landlords, especially if they live off-island, to screen their tenants carefully.
Fraser said references must be thoroughly checked out to ensure that prospective tenants list places where they previously lived. Some use friends and relatives as references, she said.
“There has to be a real in-depth study of previous landlords,” Fraser said. Otherwise, the landlord can be left with a half-month damage deposit to put towards repairs that total thousands of dollars.
Fraser explained many people buy houses on Salt Spring with the intention of renting them out to cover mortgage and property tax payments. Then they hope to retire in the homes, but situations like the one she witnessed last week can leave those landlords far behind in the financial scheme of things.
Being retired herself now, Fraser said she is not seeking business but recommends landlords consider using 10 per cent of their rent to hire a property management company, which could save them a lot of money in the long run.
Although Fraser knows that “the door swings both ways” with some landlords acting like “slumlords” she sees no excuse for “slobs” like the tenants who have just left the Maliview Drive house.
She also thinks the Residential Tenancy Act favours tenants over landlords.
“I just want to make house owners who rent their properties more aware,” Fraser said.
To read the first posts in this blog, please go to http://www.writingsmall.wordpress.com
Facebook. LinkedIn. Twitter. Google.
Confessions of a Tea Leaf Readerby Tanya Lester can be purchased from the author or go to the title and author name to read the first few pages and buy it at amazon.com Tanya’s others book are Women Rights/Writes, Dreams & Tricksters and Friends I Never Knew. They are available in Canadian libraries and elsewhere.