Evict for late payments?

11 Replies

Hi team!
First time poster here. Love the site and the podcasts. I own a couple if properties in the High Desert of So Cal. One property has been rented for a year and the tenant has been late on payment 6 times!! They mentioned a death in the family and a switch in the timing of their paychecks, etc. we've even adjusted their due date to accommodate the paycheck thing. They typically make up the payment and late fee the following month, but my wife and I are tired of constant hounding! What is your rule on removing tenants due to late payments? Any advice on this situation?


Instead of working with them, just file for rent court/eviction (however it works in your area) the very day it's late. No more calls or reminders; they are adults. Just file your court papers immediately. They'll see you're serious and will have to pay the rent, late fees, and court costs if they really want to stay. If they don't, you'll have them out and just find a better tenant. It sucks to kick people out, but you don't have time to do so much hand-holding.

Also by doing this, you will reset their behavior (hopefully). For at least 6 months, you've shown them that it's okay to pay late (even if they do pay late fees). They think it's no problem and is worth the late fee to them. Time to make things happen on your clock rather than theirs. 

I would have one more meeting with them or send them a letter or both.  Here's what I would say, according to landlord-tenant law in my jurisdiction and what I have already set up in my rental agreement:

"Paying rent late is not an option.  If you are not prepared to pay rent on time, you had best look for another place to live."

"The next time you pay rent late, I will be serving you a legal notice to "Pay Rent or Quit".  When I serve a legal notice, it comes with a posting fee, as per our rental agreement.  The "Pay Rent or Quit" notice is the beginning of the eviction process.  If you do not pay the rent within the three days allowed by law, then I will proceed with eviction."

"I would hate to have to do this.  It would be better for you and better for me if you would do what you need to do to pay rent on time and to follow the terms of our rental agreement.  Remember, according to our rental agreement, when you pay I will first apply the money to the posting fee ($20) and then to the late fee ($50) and lastly to rent ($XXX), so be prepared to pay all three if you choose to pay late."

"You need to turn this around and pay rent on time every time.  If you don't think you can do this, then let's talk about a move-out plan now."

I agree with @Marcia Maynard  . I basically apply the same thing in my own rental business. My lease states the tenant will be liable for any filing fees, court costs etc. I charge $20 for being late and $10 per day until I am paid on top of the rent and I do not accept partial payments. I give them all the same rules. 

 Rent is due on the 1st-5th, 6th is late fee of $20, $10 each day after and on day 10 I evict. If the tenant can prove they will be getting payed within a few days of the 10th day I sometimes wait but if I let them know I am not going to call and beg for my money or they can move. It is their responsibility to get the rent to me and if I have to file eviction and they want to stay in the property and clean up their act they have to reimburse me for all of my costs plus rents & fees. From that point they have to pay in a timely manner or be forced to move. Rules are rules, its your business, retirement, money, and credit on the line! The bank don't wait for payment so why should I?

@Jared K.

Thanks for the info on how you run your ship! Excellent advice to be straight forward and FIRM.

You can not renew the lease which is probably your best start. I would also start following your lease to the t on late payments.

We charge 10% in late fees and I follow up in the 4th/5th if we don't have payment. We usually allow one late (ie 6 or 7th bc technology and things happen). Anything beyond that is no go and late fees attach.

The problem that you have is a precedent has been set.

How long is the lease?  The least trouble is probably to go with non-renewal.

Elizabeth Colegrove    The lease renewal isn't until November.  

They also just recently brought up that they may give ME a 30 notice and move somewhere cheaper. FINE BY ME!! They may actually leave cordially. 

We'll see. 

This is the kind of tenant I would release early if  I could especially given the timing.  I would rather have an earlier vacancy.   As long as they pay up to the end I would accept 30 day notice without penalty if it left me vacant in September rather then November. I would also make it a condition that they facilitate showing the place as needed. Tell them the penalty depends on finding a qualified new tenant.  I have tenants that want out early potentially in the next few months and they asked what would be the penalty. I told them if I can fill without vacancy I would not hold their deposit except for damages.  The situation is different as they are on time but in your case I would think getting them out earlier would be to your advantage ,  less late rent and not looking for a tenant over the holidays.

I would put up with it for 3 more months and give them the standard 30 day no renewal notice due to chronic late payments. Probably not worth the hassle of an eviction at this point.

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