You followed our tips to lớn discourage tenants from paying rent late, but alas, they still missed a payment. What should you vì now?

Whether you’re faced with a past-due payment for the first time or you have a tenant with a long history of paying late, it costs you time & money to lớn rectify the situation. Below, you will find a simple five-step process outlining the actions you can take when a tenant pays late.

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1. Kiểm tra Your Lease Documents & Payment Records

As silly as it may sound, double-check your records to lớn make sure the tenant is truly late with their rent. Sometimes landlords keep better records on paper than they vày in their heads and can be mistaken as khổng lồ when something was (or was not) paid.

While most states don’t legally require a certain grace period to pay rent, the majority of leases contain a clause giving tenants a 3- or 5-day period khổng lồ pay rent after the normal due date. If you’ve double-checked và found that yes, the tenant is indeed late, then you’re bound khổng lồ the provisions agreed upon in the lease và by state and local statutes as khổng lồ what sort of extra fees you can charge.

Usually the lease will specify a late fee, but if it doesn’t, then you can’t retroactively change your mind & decide to charge one. & remember, no matter how you personally feel about any late-rent situation, a late payment is still a violation of the lease that was signed by all parties, and this effectively makes it a breach of contract.

Online platforms lượt thích allow landlords to kiểm tra if a rent payment was made, see the payment schedule date, the withdrawal date from the tenant account, và the deposit date khổng lồ the landlord.

2. Send a Late Rent Notice

The next step would be to lớn serve the tenant a late rent notice. This is a piece of paper reminding the tenant that the rent is past-due. It should include a danh sách of all fees that are owed (including late fees) and a warning about further legal action you’ll have lớn take if the rent isn’t paid in full very soon. It can be served to the tenant in person, emailed, or taped to lớn the door of the unit after the rent was due.

This notice will also help you later in court if you need lớn prove that there was a pattern of delinquent payments (so keep a copy for yourself!) This step is not required by law và is only recommended as an interim action. Hopefully, it will jog an honest-but-forgetful tenant’s memory, but the threat of legal kích hoạt will make other tenants take it seriously.

3. Make a Phone Call


A phone gọi to the tenant to find out what’s going on can be done before or after the late rent notice is served. However, this only needs to lớn be done once to avoid accusations of harassment (which is very illegal). The phone gọi serves the same purpose as a Late Rent Notice, but the added benefit is that you’ll be speaking to the tenant in person. For this reason, try not to lớn substitute an thư điện tử for a phone call.

4. Send a Pay or Quit Notice

This is a more official document than the late rent notice and is technically the first step in the eviction process. It shows the tenant you’re serious about pursuing kích hoạt and can be delivered in-person khổng lồ the tenant as soon as rent is overdue.

This notice needs lớn clearly convey your intent lớn evict, the amount of money you are owed (including all late fees), and the deadline to pay in full. If you have an eviction attorney, this is something they can draft.

Many states và cities have specific requirements about how, when, and where you must post an eviction notice. If the issue proceeds to lớn court, landlords may have to prove that they made a good faith effort to make sure the tenant received the notice, so be sure to check local laws and follow the guidelines.

Generally, you can post an eviction notice on the door of the unit or deliver it to lớn the tenant in person. You may also want khổng lồ mail one khổng lồ them as a back-up measure. After this, you will have to lớn wait a certain period of time until you can file eviction papers — depending on the state, it’s usually around three khổng lồ five days, so check your local statutes.

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5. Take Legal Action

If all else fails and the tenant still doesn’t pay, get an eviction lawyer. At the earliest possible opportunity (aka when the Pay or Quit waiting period ends), file a tenant-landlord complaint in court. In many places, it is illegal to lớn evict a tenant until all court proceedings are over. This process can take months.

You’ll need khổng lồ pay a fee và thoroughly complete all paperwork before you get a date for a hearing. When the day comes for you to head into court, prepare what you’re going to lớn say ahead of time và have all your evidence documented.

When dealing with a tenant who pays late or partial rent, some landlords will recommend inspecting the unit as soon as possible to lớn make sure that your property isn’t being damaged. You can usually only enter the unit with the renter’s permission.

After obtaining permission, it’s recommended that you document và take pictures of wear & tear và damages. Once you’ve identified these, repair any damages & ask that the tenants fix those which are their obligation. Schedule another inspection lớn make sure both parties have addressed the problems. Keep all documents in case you need them in court.

Remember, it is never acceptable or legal lớn lock someone out, move personal belongings, or shut off utilities before the eviction process is complete. Equally illegal are threats, humiliation, or physically attempting to remove the tenant. Not only can these be morally questionable, but an ex-tenant can easily turn around & sue you for unlawful eviction or harassment. As frustrating as it can be, let the court do its job.

Important Points to lớn Remember

Act quickly và consistently. Enforcing the rules will let tenants know you’re serious & will help prevent late tenants from getting even further behind on their payments. You may have worked out a giảm giá with them once or twice, but what if the payments spill over into next month? It’s better not khổng lồ have khổng lồ worry about continual bargaining for the money they promised to lớn give you.Document everything in writing. If you & the tenant reach an agreement, have them sign a document specifying the compromise và give them a copy.If there were any co-signers on the lease (like parents of college students), they should be held responsible và named in all lawsuits và on all legal papers.Follow the exact rules of your state và city when going through the eviction process. Failure to vày so could result in delays or even over the eviction process entirely while the tenant continues khổng lồ not pay you.

Common Questions About Late Rent Payments

How bởi vì I Handle a Tenant’s Bounced Checks?

A: Your lease should also have a section specifying your response. Most landlords consider a bounced check to be late rent & charge late fees accordingly. Depending on the state, you may be able khổng lồ charge an additional fee for the very fact that it bounced. Notify the tenant immediately if their kiểm tra bounces, và if they don’t rectify the situation right away, then start the steps above.

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Can a Landlord Sue for Unpaid Rent?

A: Unless there is a provision in the lease allowing them to break it (for example, if the tenant gives 30 days’ notice that he wants to move, then he can exit the lease), then they are still legally liable for any & all past-due payments & future rent payments until the landlord decides khổng lồ rent khổng lồ someone else.

In this case, you’ll definitely want lớn get an experienced lawyer on your side. You may also be able khổng lồ sue for money khổng lồ cover the costs of advertising for a new tenant and for cleaning & repairing the unit.

Does Landlord Insurance Cover Unpaid Rent in Situations of Eviction?

A: Landlord insurance usually doesn’t cover unpaid rent. Rent guarantee insurance, however, covers unpaid rent for up to six months per year. Rent guarantee insurance allows you to start the eviction process — which can be long và costly — without having to lớn swallow the cost of unpaid rent.

How to lớn Avoid Late Rent Payments

To help make collecting rent an easy and convenient task for all parties, it is highly recommended khổng lồ use an online rent collection tool lượt thích Besides letting tenants pay rent from their phone or máy tính xách tay — or even setting up automatic rent payments — helps immensely with communicating and documenting everything & making the rent payment process simple.