When a tenant has not paid rent, you need to take some steps before you immediately begin to think about eviction. Today, we’re talking about what you can to do prevent getting to the point of eviction. This is not a step by step plan towards the eviction process, but an alternative.
Communication and Screening
I received a call today from an owner who was overly concerned about the eviction process, and what they would have to do to deal with it if came to that point. When you get to the point where you have to evict someone, it typically means communications have completely broken down. Somewhere along the way, the lease was not followed, communication ceased, and proper screening probably wasn’t applied. It’s better to have a consistent policy or plan, which is part of your rental agreement.
Have a Plan in Place from the beginning.
Collecting Late Rent
Rent is due between the first of the month and 9:00 a.m. on the fourth day of the month. After 9:00 a.m. on the fourth day, the tenant must pay in certified funds, and pay a late fee.
Yes, you need to charge a late fee.
If, on the fifth day, the tenant still has not paid, open some sort of communication with that tenant. You can call, email, or send a text. You want to find out what’s going on. If you haven’t gotten payment on the sixth day, send a demand letter. That letter will instruct the tenant to make a payment or deliver possession of the property.
Eviction as a Last Resort
If you don’t have the payment by the third day after you send the demand letter, it’s time to file for eviction. But, by having a good policy in place, you won’t have to get to this point. You don’t want to manage late rent payments on a case by case basis, so put a policy in place and follow it. Your management will go a lot more smoothly.