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There are some situations where a rental property owner or landlord may be best advised not to be "hands-on", but instead turn the problem over to a professional or professional service. A great example of this is when a tenant must be evicted for legitimate cause, and when that tenant makes it clear that they intend to ignore notice to move. I am often asked for advice or help in these matters - usually by a client who is very frustrated, worried, and unsure how to act. In recent years, I have been able to confidently direct my clients (and others) to valuable, professional help.

Mr. Stephano Muzzatti is in the business of handling these types of disputes in a professional and cost effective manner, saving the landlord (and the tenant) a lot of time, money and emotional energy. Mr. Muzzatti spent 12 years as a Court Bailiff, and saw 1st hand the high costs, unnecessary hassle, and business disruption that landlords were incurring by attempting to deal with these disputes on their own - in an environment where the courts and regulations were stacked against them. After years of being asked by landlords to "moonlight" in unpleasant tenant disputes, Mr. Muzzatti started his own company, Vancouver Eviction Services (VES), to handle a constant demand for his services.

For a total fee of $650 to $800, VES will handle the legal eviction of a bad tenant in breach of tenancy. This is often a 2 step process. First, it is necessary to get an "Order to Vacate" - this includes serving legal notice on the tenant, making application for a hearing at the Residential Tenancy Office if the notice is disputed, serving notice of the Hearing to the tenant, & attending the hearing & defending the notice on behalf of the landlord. Second, once the Arbitrator gives an Order of Possession, VES ensures that the tenant complies with the Order. This involves again serving notice on the tenant, and firmly keeping the pressure on the tenant to comply. All of this saves the landlord a significant amount of hassle & paperwork - especially if a mistake is made. In the case of compliance alone, using Court appointed Bailiffs to evict can cost a property owner between $1,300 to $4,000!

I recently asked Mr. Muzzatti a few "Frequently Asked Questions" regarding tenant disputes:

Most Common Reason VES is Hired: Non-compliant tenants who defy or ignore landlord notice. The most common issues include unpaid rent, gross breaches of tenancy agreements, disruptive or destructive behavior, and drug use. As well, disputes often arise when the premises are sold, and the tenants refuse to vacate, in spite of receiving legal notice.

Most Common Mistake by Landlords in Tenant Disputes: Not following correct procedures, and making costly mistakes in the eviction process. Documents are filled out incorrectly, wrong or invalid documents are used, and documents are served improperly to the tenant. Many landlords fail to keep good tenant records (receipts, rental agreements, notices and letters etc.), and this proves their undoing at Arbitration, or in Court.

How Long to Evict a "Bad Tenant"? This depends on when VES becomes involved, and how far along the process is. Unpaid rent is the easiest issue to deal with, and usually takes 13 to 17 days to resolve. Other disputes can be less cut & dried, but VES can usually expedite the process by getting involved early, and ensuring that all paperwork & notices are prepared and delivered correctly.

What Can Landlords Do to Minimize the Risk & Cost of Tenant Disputes? Good tenant selection is critical - landlords should even consider using a professional tenant screening service. Keep good records, receipts, etc., and documenteverything. However, even good tenants can turn "bad" - this is just a fact, and the cost of doing business. Every rental property owner can be prepared for the worst by having a plan of action for when things start going wrong. One of the most important good habits is to not let a bad, or deteriorating situation drag on un-addressed and unresolved.

Mr. Muzzatti and Vancouver Eviction Services can be contacted at 604-868-0533.

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