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5 Things To Do When Your Tenants Can’t Pay

John Fedro
2 min read
5 Things To Do When Your Tenants Can’t Pay

After spending years collecting payments from tenants I have come to a great generalization; once a tenant or tenant-buyer asks for a repayment plan, more times than less there is a finite time before the tenant will stop paying completely and be forced to move away.  Said another way, “Oftentimes a precursor to a tenant having financial problems and therefore leaving (due to non-payment) is the tenant asking to delay a payment ‘this month’ and request they pay the defaulted amount over the next “X” number of months.”

The ratio of tenants leaving versus remaining in a home after a repayment plan is established will differ from investor to investor. Factors that most likely affect this ratio are; your tenant-screening process, the types of homes being invested in (low income/high income), and the tenants current ability to repay the defaulted amount.  Below are some ways to get paid back if you find yourself with tenants that wish to stay, but cannot pay.

Weekly Payments Plan: Over the phone or in person set an executable action plan for the next “X” number of weeks.  Over these next weeks the tenants must pay you a partial amount of the balance owed until debt is paid in full.  This method only works if the tenants have the financial means to repay what is behind.

Cars/Boats as Collateral/Exchange:  In the past we have accepted cars and jet-skis in exchange for past due rents and partial future payments.  Not only did we get paid paid normal rent monies but made an additional 50% profit on the jet-skis.

Local charities: On more than one occasion some of our renter(s) have sought the assistance of local county, state and/or government charities.  These agencies usually act on a “first come, first serve” basis and offer help to most tenants.  Be aware if a tenant has abused these services in the past they will not likely be of help for them.

Family and Friends: This tip may seem common sense but it is always advisable to remind a tenant to seek financial assistance from family members or friends.  Be tactful when recommending this option; this technique typically works when you have established a friendly report with your tenant.

Eviction and Garnish wages: If a tenant will not repay you what you are owed, get him out of your home to begin remarketing the property. Do not stop there; any monies a tenant still owes you may be collected.  Once a judgment is made in your favor, a garnishment can be made directly from the prior tenant’s place of employment.  Consult your local eviction specialist for more information.

– John Fedro

Note By BiggerPockets: These are opinions written by the author and do not necessarily represent the opinions of BiggerPockets.