Every landlord hopes that their tenants will pay the rent on time and in full for the full term of the lease. However, this doesn't always happen. As the landlord, it’s your job to handle this situation and protect your investment.
Sometimes, tenants pay rent late due to circumstances beyond their control. Other times, you have a tenant that has no intention of paying their rent. It’s your job to determine your tenant’s situation and how to move forward.
This guide will give you five tips for managing late rent payments.
1. Stay Respectful and Calm
As stressful as it is to not receive the money you're owed, your tenant also has a stressful situation. Remember that your rental property is a business, and you should remain professional. It’s also your tenant’s home, and this makes it personal for them.
Reacting emotionally will only escalate the situation. This could risk a heated response from your tenant, which could result in damage to your property. However, too soft of a response, and you risk dealing with repeated offenses. Staying respectful and professional ensures you handle the situation appropriately.
2. Meet in Person
Requesting an in-person meeting with your tenant helps you hold them accountable. Find out why your tenant is late with the rent. If it’s an understandable extenuating situation, then you may be inclined to arrange a payment plan to help them catch up.
If your tenant doesn’t seem concerned about paying the rent, then you can use this opportunity to remind them of your lease terms. This includes late penalties and eviction procedures. When you have a tenant that won’t meet you, you know to move forward with eviction procedures.
3. Don’t Wait
It’s crucial not to wait to take action. The simplest course of action is to charge a late fee or serve notice. This prompt action lets the tenants know that you take late rental payments seriously and won’t accept them.
Delaying your action can also be costly to you. You can’t start the eviction process until you serve notice to the tenant. So by waiting to serve notice, you’re only delaying your ability to act on your rights.
4. Document Everything
Your rental property is an investment, and you should keep accurate and thorough documentation. This includes when your tenant fails to pay rent on time. Keep accurate records of payments received and receipts of payments provided to the tenant. Keep a copy of all communications made to the tenant. Any notices should be made in writing.
If you decide to make an alternative agreement with your tenant, be sure to make it in writing. Have both you and your tenant sign the new agreement. Keep this additional documentation with your copy of the lease.
It can help to work with a property manager. They will have templated communications prepared to keep communication with your tenants consistent. Your property manager will send all communications and create a file for each of your properties. You can then use this file as documentation for your claims should you file for eviction in court.
5. Be Careful About Accepting Partial Payments
Be careful about accepting partial payments from your tenants. The easiest reason to prove eviction in court is the lack of payment. When you accept partial payments, this argument becomes weaker. It also opens the door for the court to consider tenant eviction help.
Protect Your Rental Investment
The purpose of owning rental property is to generate additional monthly income. This won’t happen if your tenant doesn’t pay their rent on time. These five tips will help you manage late rent payments quickly and professionally. By acting fast and documenting everything, you’ll protect your rights and have the documents required for the court.
Contact our team today and let our skilled property managers address your tenant’s late rent payments.