'Lost $40,000': Mandurah landlord warns others to choose tenants wisely

REIWA president Damian Collins says it is best to get a property manager to secure a good tenant. Photo: File image.

REIWA president Damian Collins says it is best to get a property manager to secure a good tenant. Photo: File image.

Holes in the wall, doors kicked in, drug deals and tenants not paying rent are just some of the issues one landlord has faced since he bought an investment property six years ago.

As the end of the moratorium on rentals inches closer and many begin to look for new tenants the Mandurah landlord, who wished to remain anonymous for fears of his safety, warned others to be careful when choosing who you let move in.

The house was raided when one tenant sold drugs. Another caused $25,000 worth of damage. And his current tenant is behind on rent.

"I've chased my current tenant weekly and monthly for rent - on three different occasions. He's run up to $3000 behind on his rent," the landlord said.

"We've been taking losses from several tenants for about five years and it is now taking us into the stage where we've lost $40,000.

"I do all the right things but I'm paying the price."

He also made mention of how the moratorium worsened the situation for landlords with "bad tenants".

The McGowan Government's moratorium on rent increases was introduced in April 2020, amid fears of an economic downturn during the COVID-19 pandemic. Initially planned for six months, it was later extended until March 28 this year.

"My tenant who's still there can't be thrown out because of these COVID-19 rules but he didn't have a job and wasn't paying rent prior to lockdown happening," he said.

"If a person is genuinely affected by COVID-19 I would completely understand and sympathise with them but in this case the tenant isn't.

"Now we are looking at taking a $7500 loss from this tenant if we evict him when the moratorium ends."

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REIWA president Damian Collins said the moratorium should only protect tenants who were in financial hardship due to COVID-19.

"If the tenant breaches any other obligation written in the lease agreement, they can be evicted," he said.

"This includes failing to pay rent, malicious damage caused to the property, using the property for illegal purpose, consistent late payments or failure to comply with anything else outlined in their lease agreement."

Mr Collins said it was also best to trust a property manager when it comes to securing a good tenant.

"It's their job to check references, do background checks if they need and know what a good application looks like," he said.

"Generally, the landlord should never meet their tenants, with the property manager acting as the middle man for all issues regarding the lease agreement.

"While the landlord has final say over the chosen tenants, it is up to the property manager to streamline this process and present the top applications."

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"However if you don't have a property manager, you should always have an interview in person, have a list of questions about the tenants' renting history and employment, and have the tenant to verify their history," the local landlord said.