Landlords often think about what they should do if a tenant doesn’t pay rent. They want to know what steps to take and what options they have.
That’s important, certainly, but it’s also wise to think about why someone may fail to pay rent. This can help a landlord come up with a solution, anticipate failed payments and find the type of tenants who will pay on time. Here are a few of the main reasons for a failure to pay:
- The tenant lost their job. They fully intended to pay and wanted to do so. When they signed the lease, the rent was within their budget. A job loss can absolutely ruin that budget in just a single month, though, and the tenant may not pay until they get a new job.
- The tenant’s work hours were cut. When pay declines, people have to make choices. The rent is fairly high up on that list, but it may still be unaffordable as the tenant deals with other costs — from grocery bills to child care.
- The tenant wants repairs to be made. Some tenants skip rent payments intentionally if they’re trying to get a landlord to make repairs or take some other type of action. The easiest way to set this all straight is for both sides to sit down and talk about how they’ll proceed moving forward.
- The tenant thought they did pay. Maybe a check got lost in the mail. Maybe the tenant was remembering their rent payment the month before and didn’t realize they failed to pay this month. There are plenty of situations where the tenant has no idea anything is wrong.
- The tenant isn’t planning to pay. There are situations where a tenant may just decide not to pay rent and wait until they are evicted. Often, though, these situations tie into the reasons noted above, such as job loss. Not many people make this decision when they fully have the money to pay.
For a landlord, the reason that the tenant skips or misses the rent helps determine what legal steps they can take. They need to make sure they know about all of the options that are available.