As a landlord, it can be very frustrating when you rent a property you own, and your tenant does not pay their rent or is late paying their rent. It can be a delicate situation, especially if you like your tenant and know they care about your property and keep it neat and in good shape.
You have several options if your tenant is not paying rent:
- Discuss the issue with them. Ask them if they are having trouble financially and why they are not paying rent. Suggest ways to get up to date on their rent payments, such as family members or government programs.
- If the non-payment is because the tenant has a problem with you or the property, they can pay. Still, they will not because of the issue. You can suggest mediation. Mediation is a highly effective form of alternative dispute resolution, and it is often used for landlord/tenant cases.
- If your tenant is completely unresponsive and not cooperating, the only legal way to evict a tenant who is not paying is through a non-payment eviction process, which takes place in Housing court, a special court for these types of cases.
If you decide to go to court to evict your non-paying tenant, you must first notify the tenant that the rent is late and what the balance is. You must also let them know that you will evict them if rent is not paid. It would help if you did all of this in writing to keep a record of when and what you said to your tenant.
Three days after you give written or oral notice and demand that your tenant pays rent, you can file a non-payment proceeding in Housing court if they still have not paid. After this, you will serve the tenant with papers, and they will have to answer the petition in court. On their court date, the tenant will have an opportunity to explain their case before the judge.
Before directing a city marshal to evict the tenant, the landlord must obtain a possession judgment. The tenant may have a defense, but if their defense is unsuccessful, you can evict your tenant legally.