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What Should I Do When My Tenant’s Rent is Late?

Late Rent Notice Paper with a PenIn your role as a property owner or landlord, there are lots of things you can do to push for on-time rent payments. Although, some tenants still make late payments or miss rent payments completely. In these circumstances, it is crucial to know the best way to handle them. Most landlords create a step-by-step process that the tenant can follow to make sure that their response is both timely and consistent.

Encourage Paying On Time

As a Palmetto Bay property manager, it is important to encourage your tenant to pay their rent on time. Some ways to do this are by regular communication and convenient online rental payment options. If you keep in touch with your tenant- even when things are fine- you can have better and more frequent communication when things get rough. What’s more, you can help motivate your tenant to keep their payments on time by making rent payments easy and convenient.

Check Payment Records

If your tenant’s rent payment is still behind schedule, the next thing to do is to double-check your records and confirm that it’s late and not just a recording error. Also, make sure to double-check your lease documents to validate whether your tenant is still in the stated grace period for on-time payments. Sometimes a late payment isn’t late. It is essential to have your facts in line before you move on to the next step.

Send a Late Notice

If the grace period has passed and you still didn’t get your rent payment, it is important to send a reminder to your tenant about the late rent. This can be an official or friendly reminder, but be sure to place it in writing and document your delivery method.

Call Your Tenant

When you’ve established regular, positive communication with your tenant, you need to continue that trend when handling late or missing rent payments. You can understand a lot about the situation and find out why the payment is late by simply giving your tenant a friendly phone call. Though your tenant may not want to talk about the details of the situation, especially when they are facing sudden financial hardship, even a short conversation would accomplish a lot. Besides, be aware not to call your tenant repeatedly or demand payment. This is considered harassment, which is illegal.

Send a Pay or Quit Notice

If you have tried reminders and the rent payment has overpassed your lease’s grace period and other late payment terms, it is time to send your tenant a pay or quit notice. This notice is an official document that clearly expresses your purpose to pursue action against the tenant. The notice should include the amount of cash the tenant owes, the deadline to pay in full, and your intent to evict if these conditions are not fulfilled. Make sure to follow state and local laws that govern when such notices can be sent and how they must be delivered to the tenant.

Start the Eviction Process

If there are no options left, it might be time to pursue legal action against your tenant. This is called the eviction process, which requires a court ruling in most places. In most areas, it’s illegal to forcibly remove a tenant or even change the locks until the court proceedings are over. Those proceedings could take months and can be costly for all of those involved. But for no delays or having the judge rule in your tenant’s favor, it’s necessary to follow the law and the evictions process to the letter.

Keep it Professional

Last, it’s important to keep a few things in mind while you work with your tenant. First, don’t accept partial rent payments Taking in any amount will basically restart the eviction process from the very start. Moreover, be certain to document everything, including phone calls. At last, it is most crucial to maintain your professionalism and adhere to the terms of your lease. You might not want to, but enforcing your lease is an important part of operating your rental property as a business.


Dealing with late or missing rent payments can be a time-consuming headache. That is why many rental properties owners hire property managers like Real Property Management Genesis to do it for them. Contact us online to learn more about our quality services.

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