For many property owners, rent is a primary source of income. When tenants fail to pay on time, it can affect the property owner’s bottom line. When that source of income becomes disrupted, you will be unable to pay for several expenses related to property, such as taxes, fees, and utilities. The following steps will help you act when a tenant falls behind on paying rent.
1. Double Check Your Records
Before you act, make sure that the tenant’s rent is truly overdue. Check your lease documents and payment records to ensure that the tenant is truly late. This process can take place during the unofficial grace period of three to five days after rent was due. This step can prevent you from wrongly accusing a tenant of being late. If the tenant really is late, the extra time might encourage them to pay rent.
2. Talk to the Tenant
Now that you’re sure the tenant is late, talk to them. Tell the tenant that he or she has breached the contract and that you need rent payment as soon as possible. You can even offer to let the tenant out of the lease without penalty if he or she leaves by the end of the week. This is potentially a final chance to have the tenant pay. If the tenant refuses, move to file a formal eviction notice.
3. Pay or Quit Notice
A “pay or quit” notice is a legal document a landlord sends to a tenant. The document states that the tenant must pay his or her rent, plus late fees, by a certain point or else the tenant’s lease terminates and he or she will be forced to leave. Usually, this time period lasts between three to five days. If the tenant continues to refuse to leave, you might need to apply for an eviction action that allows you to hire the sheriff to enforce the eviction. You might need to show your “pay or quit” notice when filing the action.
4. Legal Action
If you have gone through all the above steps and the tenant still refuses to pay and continues to stay, it might be time to take legal action as a last resort. Hire an eviction lawyer and take the case to court by filing a tenant-landlord complaint. Remember to start this procedure right after the period indicated in the “pay or quit” notice, as a court process can take months to resolve, and you cannot evict the tenant until the court case finishes. When your court date arrives, make sure you have all the documented evidence ready and you know exactly what you’re going to say.
Make the rent payment process easier for both yourself and the tenant with Home365. Contact us to learn more about our services and schedule a free demo.