What to Do When Your Tenant’s Rent is Always Late, Late, for a Very Important Date
Landlords have a number of issues to handle on a daily basis. From moving new tenants in to handling service requests to taking care of the financials of a property, there’s so much going on on any given day. So, having to handle late rent payments, even if it’s just one tenant, can bring things to a halt or at least put a kink in the system.
At some point or another, each landlord will go through having to handle late rent payments from tenants and may even come across tenants who are notoriously late on paying rent. This means it’s important in understanding just how to handle this issue as well as deal with the tenant in the right way in order to keep tensions low and recoup the money you’re owed.
Check the Lease and Payment Records
If you suspect that your tenant is late, it always helps to go back to the original documents and payment records to make sure you’re not mixing up the dates. Landlords should always keep reliable records filed away in print and digitally in a cloud service system instead of trying to remember on their own.
Leases usually include a grace period of 3-5 days, allowing tenants a few days to pay their rent without being considered late. If you’ve looked over your records and the tenant is always late on rent, then you’re bound to the provisions that were initially agreed upon in the lease and by state and local statutes when it comes to fees you can charge.
A lease typically has a late fee structure included, but if it doesn’t, then you can’t add a charge later on. Be sure to look over the original documents to make sure you’re within your boundaries to apply a late fee.
Send a Late Notice
If a tenant is late on rent or the tenant is always late on rent, they should be familiar with a late rent notice. This is a document reminding them that rent is past-due and should include a list of all applicable fees that are owed, as well as a warning for further legal action if rent isn’t paid soon. From taping it to the door or handing it to them in person or emailing a document, there are a handful of ways you can take care of this important step.
This document also serves a purpose when it comes to potential legal proceedings. If you find yourself defending your late notice in court, you will have evidence to support your decision to apply late fees.
Pay or Quit
When communication efforts haven’t worked, it’s time to give them a last chance to pay or be removed from the property. This shows the tenant is always late on rent and is responsible for paying the rent they have to pay as well as additional fees.
This notice should clearly identify your intent to evict them as well as the amount of money you are owed, and the final deadline to pay it all in full. Many states and cities have their own unique and specific requirements when it comes to how, when and where you must post an eviction notice, such as posting on the door or delivering it to the tenant in person.
Legal Action and Rent Default Insurance Coverage
This should be a last resort, but if you’re expecting to be paid and the tenant is always late on rent, you’re well within your right to take legal action. You should get an eviction lawyer to help with representation and filing a tenant-landlord complaint in court. It can be illegal in some places to evict someone until court proceedings are over, which can take months.
Landlords should also invest in rent default insurance, which is meant to reimburse you for loss of rental income in the event of a defaulting tenant. Interested in learning more? Contact us or apply for an instant quote today!