Dealing with tenants who haven't paid the rent is one of the hardest parts of being a landlord. No one wants to be the melodramatic landlord with the twirling mustache "harassing" tenants for money, but on the other hand, you certainly don't want to lose money on your investment property. If your tenants aren't paying the rent on time, here's what you need to do:
1. Contact your tenant
This tip may sound obvious, but it is a step that is often overlooked by landlords who wish to avoid conflict or confrontation. However, if your tenants haven't paid the rent, you need to contact them. Don't stop by unannounced – it creates a precedent of disrespect, which may in turn cause your tenants to care even less and pay even later.
Instead, call or email and find out what's going on. If you truly believe the situation is rare and not going to be repeated every month, offer to work with your tenants.
2. Accept a payment plan
If your tenant is relatively responsible and takes care of the property, consider working with him or her for a month or so. There are a range of payment arrangements and alternatives you could consider.
For example, you could accept half the rent now and half in the middle of the month, or you could allow your tenant to trade some work on the property in exchange for a reduction.
3. Clearly outline (and write down) expectations
If you accept a deviation from your standard rent agreement, make sure you clearly explain your expectations to your renter for future months. You don't want your tenant to assume he or she can pay late every month.
4.Generate a late rent notice
If you don't want to offer your tenant alternatives or a payment plan, be sure to generate a late rent notice. Giving your tenant written notification that the rent is late advises him or her that you are serious, but it also helps to create a paper trail.
Ultimately, if you want to evict your tenant, that paper trail could be essential to prove your case.
5. Hire professional help
If you don't want to be knocking at doors or sending notices about late rent, you don't have to do it on your own. Instead, hire a property management company. These professionals know how to screen tenants carefully to ensure you avoid tenants who are likely to pay the rent late.
If you do have a tenant paying late, a property management company can help you generate the right paperwork, deal with any legal issues and find a new tenant if needed. To learn more, contact a company like Calibre Real Estate.