What to do When a Tenant Won’t Pay Rent

Legal Article

What to do When a Tenant Won’t Pay Rent

Whether you are dealing with a tenant who missed a payment for the first time or a renter who constantly pays late, it can cost you time and money to remedy the issue. Below are a few actions you can take to prevent late payments, make collecting late rent easier, or quickly move on from problematic tenants.

Six Things to do When Your Tenant Won’t Pay Rent

  • Check your lease documents and payment records: The first and most basic thing you should do is to double-check your records and ensure that a tenant’s rent is truly late. This ensures that the tenant is actually delinquent and necessitates the time required to seek payment.
  • Send a late rent notice: This document reminds the tenant that the rent is past-due. Further, the document should include all applicable fees the tenant owes and warn about further legal action if they do not make a payment. You can serve this document to the tenant in person, over email, or taped to their door.
  • Talk with your tenant: Reaching out to the tenant can help remedy the issue. However, you should only do this once to avoid accusations of harassment.
  • Send a pay or quit notice: This is the first legal document you can serve your tenant that begins the eviction process. This notice must clearly state that you intend to evict, the amount of money the tenant owes you, and the deadline to pay in full.
  • File an eviction action: The only legal way that you can force a tenant out of a property is to file an eviction notice. You will need to fill out paperwork at the local courthouse for an eviction hearing. The court will likely want to see your notice to pay or quit document, so make sure you bring this with you.
  • Cash for keys: In most cases, the tenant is not paying the rent because of financial problems. Thus, you can pay them a small fee to move their belongings out quickly so that you can clean the apartment and begin looking for new tenants.

Final Thoughts

The first time a tenant pays rent late, communicate with them that this is a serious issue. By setting clear boundaries, you lower the risk of receiving rent late again and also show the courts that you have warned the tenant multiple times about the ramifications of paying late.