Tip of the Month - November 2008

Dealing with Past Due Rent

Source: Profitably Managing Your Rental Properties
             R. Dodge Woodson

When a Tenant is late with rent, you must take action immediately.  If the rent is due on the 1st of the month, it should be in your hands no later that the 10th.  If not, you must approach the Tenant to learn the reason for the lack of payment.  If you wait, your cash flow is affected and the situation can build into an ugly scene.  You may damage your relationship and wind up feeling foolish.  There may be a very reasonable excuse for the tardy rent.

Contact the Tenant in a calm and professional manner.  This may be by phone, mail, or a personal visit.  Let the Tenant know you have not received the rent and ask for an explanation of the circumstances.

If the Tenant makes no response to your request for payment and an explanation, get ready to take legal action.  If there is a good reason for being late, you may want to work with the Tenant.  If the Tenant has fallen on “hard times” and is unable to pay the rent, you must make a decision to work with him/her or evict.

If the Tenant has a steady payment history, consider working with him/her: if you have had problems, you may wish to use this breach of the Lease to evict.   Only you will be able to decide the right course of action.

Always retain your rights to pursue any legal means available to you for the collection of unpaid monies.  Also, make it clear that because you have allowed an extra grace period, you are not releasing the Tenant from the obligation of paying for the delinquent rent.  Your attorney will be able to advise you on how to retain all of your rights to financial collections and evictions.

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This web page was updated on 10/29/2008.