B.C.-based Airdrie landlords are asking residents to volunteer their time to clean and repair their rental property located in the 700 block of Luxstone Landing after renters allegedly trashed the home, leaving the landlords with an estimated $9,000 repair bill.
“This is a horrible time for this to happen,” Landlord Teresa Kingshott said. “Since all of this has happened my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer she’s going through surgery and (now) we have to pay the mortgage (on the home they rent out in Airdrie).”
Kingshott’s parents, Ken and Debbie, own the home and rely on their daughter to act as landlord. Kingshott said her mother Debbie has been out of work since her cancer battle and the rent money supplements the family’s income.
The Kingshott family lived in Airdrie from 2006 to 2013 and moved to Surrey to be closer to family last year.
According to the Kingshotts, the renters — a mother, father and four young children — signed a two-year lease in March 2014. Kingshott said the trouble started as soon as they moved in, despite great references from previous employers and former landlords.
“Their references were fantastic,” Kingshott said.
After they signed the lease, Kingshott said the family never paid rent on time, citing excuse after excuse, and dodged the Kingshott’s attempts to inspect the property. Ken said it wasn’t until August he was finally able to get inside using his own key and 24-hours notice.
“It was dirty, they had a cat, which they weren’t supposed to have, they weren’t maintaining the backyard, lawn hadn’t been taken care of… everything was a mess,” Ken said.
“I told them this is our retirement property and they need to take better care of it,” Ken added. “I don’t know how people can live like that with four kids.”
After a few more bounced rent cheques and countless warnings via email, Kingshott said an eviction notice was sent to the family on Oct. 15 that specified the family had until Oct. 31 to leave or fight the eviction.
The renters fought the eviction, Kingshott said, but didn’t show up to their court case on Nov. 21. The judge ordered the family to leave the house by Nov. 26 and repay two months of unpaid rent and bills totaling $6,700 to the Kingshotts.
Serv-it Inc., a business that acts as an agent for landlords with “negligent tenants,” helped the Kingshott’s bring their tenants to court. Though the company is based in Calgary, Serv-it Manager Brad Longeway said Airdrie isn’t immune to these problems.
“Out in Airdrie there are less problems (than Calgary),” Longeway said. “But that ship is sailing because of (Airdrie’s) growth.”
After the evicted family left on Nov. 26, Ken did a walk-through and said he was amazed at the damage he saw left behind.
Kingshott said, in addition to cleaning up garbage strewn around the home, holes in the walls that need to be patched, the whole house needs to be repainted, carpets covered in fecal matter need ripped out, and a clogged toilet and damaged appliances need to be replaced.
“I don’t have the money to fix it,” Ken said. “I have to phone my mortgage company and tell them I’m unable to pay the mortgage because the money I have has to go towards fixing the house so it’s sellable.”
Longeway said this isn’t an uncommon situation for landlords to be in if they are inexperienced or live out-of-province and rely on email communication with tenants.
“Those bad tenants, we call them ‘franken-tenants,’ target them because they know the landlords don’t have the screening and the expertise that property managers have,” Longeway said. “The responsibility is ultimately on the landlord to protect their biggest investment — their home.”
Kingshott said, she posted an advertisement on Nov. 28 on craigslist.ca asking for the community’s help, because her family is devastated, financially and emotionally, by the tenants’ behavior.
“Having people volunteer and help us would mean the world to us,” Kingshott said. “It would mean Christmas for my family.”
Residents can offer their services to the family by responding to the craigslist.ca ad by searching “trashed home in Airdrie.”