What to do when tenants are late with rent

Published: 10th June 2009
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It is hard when landlord suffer in silence as a result of late rent payment. Learn what actions to take against defaulting tenants.

In any tenancy agreement, one of the things that should be vivid to both the landlord and the tenant is the payment of rent. The tenant needs to know how much to pay, when to pay and where or by what form to pay. These must be clearly stipulated at the commencement of the deal.

When exactly can lateness of rent begin?

Sometimes it is said to be at the end of the day the tenant was supposed to pay, while to others it is some few days after that the landlord declares lateness.

What then can the landlord do when rent is late?

What the landlord can do basically depends on what the state law stipulates. However there are common procedures that landlords can take against defaulting tenants.

Issue a rent notice: the best way a landlord can go about this is to issue a rent notice of lateness. As mentioned earlier the term lateness must be understandable to both the landlord and especially the tenant. Lateness can be the date the rent is due no grace period attached and to others, a grace period of few days after the rent is due is counted before lateness is declared. The landlord can issue a late rent notice that informs the tenant of lateness of rent.

Make a phone call:

Make a courtesy phone call that does not result in harshness whatsoever to the tenant after 2 days of serving him a late rent notice. This is to find out what might be wrong. Then inform the tenant of the consequences of defaulting, stipulate specific time you will inform the attorney for eviction proceeding to commence. Let the landlord gives the tenant a notice in writing in a form called a Notice to End Tenancy Early for Nonpayment of Rent.

This form stipulates that the tenancy agreement would end for late payment. It also indicates how much rent the tenant owes, the date he should pay before any repercussion takes place and that if he refused to pay he might be evicted.

Eviction notice/attorney letter:

You can tell your attorney to give the tenant a written warning, instructing the tenant to pay or be faced with the repercussion of eviction. Your demand should be the tenant should pay all the money owed and seek eviction of the tenant if he refused to pay. You can also warn the tenant of how this would affect their credit rating if they choose to default.

Eviction process:

If the time elapsed and the tenant has not paid all owed and he has not vacated the apartment, you can go ahead with the process of eviction. You can get a lawyer well acquainted with the proceeding of landlord/tenant eviction to commence the process of eviction.

You don't have to tolerate a defaulting tenant. Take action now before it is too late.

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