We inherited a tenant, and currently do not have a PM (we are out of state landlords). Just left a message to call us ASAP and send us a money order (not a personal check) along with all late fees.
How long should I give him to respond? I have a property management in mind. Should I hire the new PM and start an eviction process right away or should I wait for an explanation? If yes, how long?
Check the back check laws for the state your rental is located in. For example here in FL if the tenant writes me a bad check I can send a certified letter with certain verbiage and if they don't pay the check amount and fee within the specified time I can turn it over to the state's attorney for prosecution. Over $150 is a felony so it's even better incentive to pay than an eviction.
My advice would be to always start an eviction action as soon as warranted, because they can take a while depending on your local ordinances. One thing you might want to consider on the next deal is to get the applications and payment history for existing tenants. If that is not available or I feel shaky about it (you will know by what you see when you view the property for purchase), I stipulate that the property must be delivered to me vacant at close. That way I don't have to deal with inherited issues.
Also, I only accept money orders or cashier checks for rent payment. Its a shame, but you can't even take cash anymore. One too many times with my name being submitted to homeland security for depositing counterfeit bills.
Since you are DIY so far, don't hire a PM just to get you out of a bad tenant. You will hire the wrong PM and be back in 6 months complaining about the PM. Figure out the local landlord tenant law and what notice is required. Pay someone (process server) to post that notice according to the law. Then find a local attorney that specializes in representing landlords and let them take it from there. Post the notice today. Again get the notice posted today.
If they end up paying with good funds then no problem but if they don't then you haven't lost any more time. Next month require them to sign up for a debiting services (ClearNow or erentpayments) and take the rent money from their account when it's due. No more bad checks and slow mail.
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