Tenant Scenario: Rent Not Paid by Due Date


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During the lease signing make sure to explain your policies regarding due date, grace period, additional charges (late fees), and methods of payment.

Ex. Rent is due on the 1st. If received on the 1st you will only owe the discounted rate. If rent is received after the 1st but prior to the 5th the $50 additional rent is due. For everyday after the 5th that rent is not received you will incur an additional $10/day.

Accepted forms of payment include: certified funds, personal checks, and deposits into Landlord account at Best Bank.

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During the lease signing encourage your tenants to be proactive. If they expect to not be able to pay rent on time encourage them to call you as soon as they know there might be an issue. If your tenant makes the effort to call you and give you some warning it allows you to work out a plan with them in advance.

It also saves you the time and hassle of having to track them down to find out why they have not paid rent and may even result in some leniency on your part regarding fees (if this is their first late payment and they are otherwise good tenants).

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If rent has not been received by 5:00 pm on the due date call or text the tenant to let them know that rent has not been received. Ask them when you can expect to receive rent.

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It is possible that rent deposited to your bank account on the due date may not show up until the following day. If this is the reason your tenant gives:

  • Thank the tenant & let them know you will check again in the morning
  • Check the account the next morning to verify rent is there
  • Verify that the date on the deposit slip matches the rent due date
    • If actually deposited after the due date let them know they owe the late fee of $50
  • Confirm with the tenant to let them know the rent was received

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If the tenant says they forgot

  • Have them deposit or deliver rent to you prior to the 5th of the month
  • Let them know they owe the extra $50
  • Confirm with the tenant to let them know the rent was received

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The tenant says they mailed a check but it has not arrived.

  • If it arrives by the 5th confirm you received it but let them know they owe the extra $50 since you did not receive it by the 1st of the month
  • Confirm how the tenant plans to pay the additional $50. Separate check, deposit or if they'll include it in the next month's rent payment

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If this is the first time the tenant is late with rent and they are otherwise a good tenant you may want to consider waiving the additional $50 as long as they pay before the 5th.

If you choose to waive the fee make sure to let them know they will be charged the $50 if rent is late again, regardless of the reason.

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Offer your tenants ways to make sure their rent payments are on time.

  • They can setup automatic payments from their bank to your bank for the first of the month
  • Tenants can mail checks as far in advance as they want and you will not cash them until the 1st of the month

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If your tenant cannot pay the entire rent amount ask them to pay as much as they can now and setup a payment plan for the rest of the rent owed.

Write out the payment plan and have your tenant sign it to document the arrangement. Do not accept a payment plan that drags out past the 10th or so as your tenant will likely have trouble paying next month's rent by the 1st.

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Tenant may be experiencing a one-time "emergency" type of situation in which they may not be able to pay by the 1st. You may consider accepting partial payment by the 1st and the rest of the payment at a later date. Another option is to workout a payment plan.

We do not recommend accepting payment after the 10th of the month. Any later than that and the tenant may find it difficult to come up with next month's rent by the first.

If the tenant reached out to you in advance to let you know their situation you may want to factor that into your decision as it is a show of good faith on their part.

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If your tenant is unable to pay rent due to job loss you will likely need to work with them to find a long-term solution.

If the tenant reached out to you in advance to let you know their situation rather than wait for you to call them you may want to factor that into your decision as it is a show of good faith on their part.

If the tenant will have trouble paying rent for the foreseeable future try to get them out of the property in a prompt but fair manner so as to minimize damage to the property.

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If your tenant refuses to pay rent, start the eviction process.

Hire an attorney or serve them the 3 day Pay or Quit notice.

If you are serving the notice yourself:

  • Post the notice on the door if the tenant is not home
  • Send a copy by First Class Mail
  • Send a copy by certified mail

If the tenant does not pay in full within the 3 days, hire an attorney to handle the eviction.

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Once your attorney has posted the 3 day notice a motion will get filed with the court and a court date will be set.

Landlord and tenant will have a chance to tell their side of the situation. Often tenants do not show up to these and the landlord "wins" by default.

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If you win the court hearing the sheriff will be contacted to setup a time to enter and remove the tenant and their belongings.

Most tenants are gone before the Sheriff comes but not all. If they are not, the Sheriff will oversee the tenant's move out and you will re-take possession.

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Change the locks the moment the tenant and their possessions are out of the unit.

Do not forgot about any side doors and make sure to re-set any garage door openers.

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