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

Late Rent Notice Paper with a PenThere are multiple things you can do to motivate your tenant to pay rent payments on time as a property owner or landlord. But there will be times a tenant will still make late payments or miss rent payments altogether. In these circumstances, it is crucial to know the best way to handle them. For a lot of landlords, having a step-by-step process helps ensures both a timely and consistent response.

Encourage Paying On Time

As a Batesville property manager, it is important to encourage your tenant to pay their rent on time. Some of the best ways to do this are through regular communication and convenient online rental payment options. Staying in contact with your tenant – even if things are going fine – encourages better and constant communication when things get tricky. Also, making paying rent easy and convenient may help push your tenant to keep those payments on time.

Check Payment Records

If your tenant’s rent payment is still late, then you should double-check your records and be sure that it’s late and not a recording error. In addition, determine whether your tenant is still inside the stated grace period for on-time payments by double-checking your lease documents. 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

When the grace period has passed and you still haven’t received the rent payment, you need 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

If you have established regular, positive communication with the tenant, it is essential to continue that trend when managing a late or missing rent payment. By simply giving your tenant a friendly phone call, you can understand the situation more and find out why the payment is late. 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. On the other hand, be careful 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 expresses your intent to pursue action opposed to your tenant. This notice must include the amount of money the tenant has to pay, the deadline to pay in full, and your intent to evict if these conditions are not met. 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

It may be time to pursue legal action against the tenant if there are no other options left. This is the eviction process, which needs a court ruling in most areas. In multiple areas, it’s illegal to forcibly remove a tenant or change the locks until the court proceedings are over. Those proceedings could take months and can be costly for all of those involved. But to avoid delays or having the judge rule in your tenant’s favor, it is essential 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, avoid accepting partial rent payments If you take any amount of cash, it will just restart the eviction process. And be sure to document everything, even phone calls. At last, it is most crucial to maintain your professionalism and adhere to the terms of your lease. You might not like to, but enforcing your lease is an important part of handling 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 Delta to do it for them. Contact us online to learn more about our quality services.

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