As a landlord, it’s your hope that your tenant pays their rent in full and on time every month. When this happens, it’s one less thing for you to worry about.
Unfortunately, even good tenants can fall behind on rent payments from time to time. There are many reasons for this, ranging from a job loss to a pay cut to a health concern that keeps them out of work for an extended period of time.
If your tenant fails to pay their rent, here’s what you should do:
- Review your lease: It outlines the steps you can take if your tenant falls behind, such as charging them a late fee. Remember, your lease is a legal contract, so you need to follow the terms and conditions that the two parties agreed upon up front.
- Talk to your tenant: Don’t immediately assume that your tenant is trying to avoid you. Call them on the phone, send an email or visit them in person. Express your concern, ask them what’s happening and see what you can do to help. Jumping to conclusions will only make things worse.
- Try to work it out: For example, if your tenant is facing financial difficulties, you may offer to let them pay less than the full amount for a month (or several months). If you go down this path, make sure you write it into your contract and have them sign it, as you want to ensure that you get the money before they move out. A verbal agreement is not enough.
- Take legal action: It’s not something you want to do, but you may need to file an eviction notice. This allows you to remove your tenant from the property, hoping that you find someone in the future who will always live up to the terms and conditions of the lease.
As a landlord, you’re likely to face challenges every now and again. When these relate to a tenant who’s not paying their rent, it’s critical that you take the right steps in the appropriate order. Doing so will position you to protect your legal rights, and hopefully minimize your loss.