No landlord wants to deal with late rent payment. Late payment can disrupt your system, cause you financial loss, incite legal disputes, and be an overall hassle. Even so, it is a common problem that landlords often handle. If you are figuring out how to deal with late rent payment, follow these essential steps.
Communication is key in relationships, and the landlord-tenant one is no exception. Explain the expectations for tenants so they will be aware of when and how much payment is due. Let them know what the consequences will be if they are late, such as if there is a late payment fee and how much it is. If your tenant does not pay the rent on time, figure out why it is the case, especially if it is a recurring problem. Often, the reason is forgetfulness, but sometimes the tenant cannot afford the rent or harbors malicious intent.
One of the best ways to prevent this problem in the first place is to screen tenants. Conduct a background check on each prospect; ask their previous landlords what their payment record was to see how responsible they were in the past. You may also want to know their income level and even require a minimum annual income for acceptance. If tenants are paying more than 30% of their income on rent, they are considered a “cost-burdened” tenant. In other words, they are at risk for inability to afford their rent.
Another way to help tenants out is to make payment easy for them and you. Online payments to a secure server will lessen the chance of lost documents or a crashing computer. It may also help to send a reminder a few days before the payment is due so that people are aware. Paying online will also help you document who paid what when.
Notices and Documentation
Should you come across a tenant who did not pay on time, follow the procedure laid out in your agreement. You do not want to cross the line and risk an accusation of harassment. Including a notification process for late rent payment can help tackle the issue as soon as possible. Remember to keep a detailed record of everything you and the tenant does in the matter so that should it come to court, you will have a defense for what happened.
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