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Q: First of all, may I say that this way of collecting money for the African Preschools Society is such a great and generous idea! Here's my problem.
My current tenants signed a 1 year lease agreement starting June 1st, and gave me a deposit cheque for half month rent and June rent.
The renter told me that she wasn't in a hurry to move in, still had an apartment in Yaletown and wasn't sure when her partner was moving from Seattle.
I had the place fully re-painted on May 31st, then started on putting in hardwood floors in the downstairs bedroom, wash outside windows, etc.. and do a bunch of small upgrades so that the place would be in perfect condition for the new tenants.
The renter didn't pick up keys till June 6th (although they were of course available to her as of June 1st) and floors were done June 10th as wood had to be ordered from Ontario. I delayed final cleaning for when all other repairs were done, as tenant still gave no sign she was moving in. Cleaners fit me in on June 17th as they only have Sundays free.
Now the tenants are saying that due to "loss of use" they want to pay only half the rent for June. When the floors were redone, 1 bedroom of the 2 was not available for 2 days. All other improvements did not prevent the use of the premises. I have offered them a 3 day rent credit for the entire house, which I feel is more than fair.
The kicker is, that as of June 28, I have been told by the next door neighbour that they still haven't moved in!

They now want to take the case to Arbitration. I just want my rent as I have spent close to 2 months rent on all of the renovations!

May I have you advice on this please?

A: Your tenant may have a case. The obligation on the landlord is to provide a rental premise suitable for occupation, and give over a rental unit for the exclusive use of the tenants. Evidently you did not do this -wood coming from Ontario, cleaners coming on the 17th., all other improvements did not prevent the use, etc. The tenants' obligation in a standard rental agreement is to pay rent on time and in full. The tenants met their end of the deal, evidently. Apparently, you did not. It strikes me that it is time for you to negotiate, and use your powers of persuasion, if you wish to avoid arbitration and in which cast the tenants would likely get a small chunk of cheese, at best. The African Kids are eternally grateful - $20 goes a very, very long way in the lives of children who would otherwise do without altogether.


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