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What Should You Do if Your Tenant Can't Pay Rent on Time?

System - Friday, September 23, 2022
Property Management Blog

Being a landlord will sometimes test your patience and goodwill.

We're coming out of one of the most challenging periods in recent memory for renters and rental property owners alike. When something like Covid occurs, there has to be leniency on the part of the landlord. Now that it's over, however, there aren't as many excuses for tenants.

If you've got a tenant who can't pay rent on time, you need to know what actions to take. In this post, we're going to give some tips for landlords that are in this situation.

Financial problems occur for everyone, but someone else's money problems shouldn't drag you down. Keep reading and find out how to deal with tenants with money problems.

Your Rental Agreement

How your rental agreement is written will play a role in how to proceed with a tenant that can't pay rent on time. In particular, including a grace period in your rental agreement will give your tenants a bit of wiggle room to pay rent every month.

This establishes that you're a lenient landlord, but it also gives your tenants a real deadline for paying rent every month. The typical grace period is 3-5 days after the start of the month.

Recognizing "Can't Pay Rent" Patterns

Even with a grace period, you're going to have tenants that can't pay rent on time. What you need to be able to do is recognize patterns of behavior in your tenants. 

Someone who is late on rent every once in a while and has a reasonable excuse probably isn't a huge problem. It's the tenants who keep coming up with excuses over and over that you need to take action on.

Everyone goes through financial problems. When their problems become your problem, you need to ask yourself, "is this worth it?".

Reaching Out

Before you start the eviction process, it's important to reach out and let the tenant know that you're concerned about their missed payments. This effectively gives them one more chance to pay rent on time. 

You can deliver this message through a note on the front door or a friendly phone call. Give them a sense of what's to come if this pattern continues, but don't threaten eviction just yet.

Eviction Notice

Should the late or missed payments continue, it'll be time to send an official pay or quit notice. This is officially the first step in the eviction process

A pay or quit lets the tenant know how much they owe and gives them a deadline to pay it off. If this goes ignored, you can file the eviction papers, get a lawyer, and make the move to get the tenant out of your property.

It's important to learn about eviction law before filing the papers. There are still some areas of Florida that have eviction protection in place for low-income renters.

Hire a Property Manager Instead

Dealing with tenants who can't pay rent is stressful. Evictions are time-consuming and mentally exhausting, even if you come out on top. 

If you're having trouble with rent collection, it might be time to hire a property manager for your Tampa real estate investment. At Home River Group, we're a nationwide full-service property manager that can handle everything from tenant selection to property maintenance, rent collection, and evictions.

To learn more about our services, and how they might benefit you, contact us today.