late rent tenant advice

20 Replies

My tenant is not communicating to me about the rent - It is late by 10 days and so far have been sending polite emails & text once every other day.

I do not want drama, and want to take the next step. I would like the tenant to pay or leave. The tenant usually deposits a check at my bank through a check (per lease agreement). Lease calls for a late fee.

I am in georgia - I have sent a Late Rent Notice through email and gave them 24 hours to pay up (already 10 days late). I believe the next step is to issue a "Pay or Quit Notice". I would appreciate some advice from some one in GA if I am missing something. 

Would you advice that I go through the eviction process on my own (would like to know how much I should expect to pay and if there are recommendations on who to call).

To clarify - I want to get the tenant to pay (any scary letters I can send?) and not necessarily evict them.

@Zaid Tillma

Are you a new investor or own less then 4 homes?  You need to look at this as your tenant is stealing from you.  I learned one important rule and still live by it to this day, " Either you will train the tenant or the tenant will train you".  

Self managing is to going to not be successful if your soft.  You should consider turning over to a mgmt company.  Get the eviction process going.  Usually when they are served they usually pay up as they know you are not playing around.  If hey dont pay follow through with the eviction. 

Good luck

Curt Davis, Real Estate Agent in TN (#00321765)

@Zaid Tillma

I do not know which county your property are. 

I pull the DeKalb county one up for you, so you can have an idea.

BTW, I never do one myself; as I have PM to look after this issue. So far only once in the last 3 years in GA. 

http://www.dekalbcountymagistratecourt.com/civil/D...

good luck, like @curt Davis said" Train or be trained".

You need to do whatever pay or quit is used in your state, make sure it is delivered in a means required by your state. Next time no texts maybe one polite email then do the pay or quit. Train your tenantnot. Be sure to charge whatever late fee you have in your lease. Dont accept any excuses. Tell them they pay the rent first then their other bills.

this is the process I follow:

Rent due on the 1st with a 5 day grace and after it's 10% late fee (NEVER forgive a late fee). It's the only way you can "train your tenant to be timely".

After the grace period, I immediately serve the tenant with a 3 day notice to pay or quit if I don't collect after the 3 days, I immediately commence the eviction service. It can take me 30-60 days to evict the tenant with a writ of possession. When you start the process early you get your property back much sooner.

My lease has no grace period per se. The rent is due on the first, and I'm legally able to file a Pay or Quit the next day. But because the first of the month doesn't always fall on a payday, I will give the tenant two more days to pay the rent without a late fee. The late fee is due on the 4th with the full amount of the rent. If not, the Pay or Quit is served. 

I go over all this with the tenant prior to lease signing, and make sure they initial the bottom of each page of the lease as we discuss each point - specifically, when/how to pay rent. 

I enforce the late fees and will usually only email or text them one time. 10 days is far too long. The longer you wait, the more you lose. I can almost guarantee that serving the Pay or Quit notice will get you an immediate response. Those are scarier than any letter from the landlord. You don't have to beg for the rent. They pay, they stay. They don't, they won't.

Forget about the emails and text which are easy for you just go and knock on the door and talk to the tenant.


Joe Gore

Joe,

Knocking on the door of a tenant who is 10 days late is more then likely a waste of time and energy (Esp. if you live far away) as they will almost definitely avoid you by not answering the door Etc....  Especially if they are ignoring e-mails and txts...  If you occupy the same residence as in a 2 Family owner occupied that may have some value but if the tenant really wants to avoid you they will trust me, (ask me how i know.. lol)

I follow the above rules  one polite e-mail and or txt if no response I file the eviction paperwork for non payment aafter the 5 day grace period. Here in NJ it is pretty cut and dry for non payment evictions. Other types of evictions can be difficult but the law in NJ states a landlord is entitled to their monthly rent consistently in full and on time.

I actually have worked with tenants in teh past when they have come to me far in advance and said their rent may be a few days late due to XYZ... Lets face it things happen. I am firm but fair and a tenant coming to mem in advance about a possible issue goes along way with me VS. no contact or communication and no rent, that is a sure fire way to have eviction paper work filed....

You no pay, no no stay!!!!

hope thsi help,

Chris

My sincere thanks for all your replies.

I am sending a certified letter that is a notice to pay or quit and will follow through on the eviction.

I have made a mistake by being nice.

Originally posted by @Frank R.:

Turn the water off to the property.

 Haha, I wouldn't advise that. I'm watching a movie called Pacific Heights now as it was mentioned on Podcast 83 and in the movie, because the home tax payer turned off electric and water to his nonpaying tenant's unit, the tenant used it against him. Pretty funny though and yeah, turning off the water would make living somewhere tough for a non paying tenant. 

Turn the water off to the property.

Hopefully that's a joke, @Frank Romine     That's a sure way to make a bad situation much, much worse.

Originally posted by @Frank R.:

Turn the water off to the property.

 In our market it is illegal to turn off utilities and the tenant would get to sue you! If your eviction got to court the judge might uphold the tenants removal but hit you with 3x the deposit payable to the tenant for shutting off utilities.

Update: I heard back from the tenant, and she mentioned that she would like to leave because she is not able to afford the rent because she is between jobs. Because of the fact that she has paid on time in the past, I am willing to believe that this is a new problem. I am willing to drop the rent by 10% for 4 months to work with her. 

So what is the best way to go about this? Is there a rider or amendment to the lease that can be signed that says the the rent amount has been changed for the 4 months and everything else remains the same? If there is a template that anyone is willing to share, I can use that as a skeleton and modify it to my needs. Thanks in advance for your replies!

you can just to an addendum to the lease and start a month to month lease. this way, she is late again, she is walking.

is REDUCING the water pressure to the house illegal?

Originally posted by @Zaid Tillma:

I am willing to believe that this is a new problem. I am willing to drop the rent by 10% for 4 months to work with her.


 Zaid, just curious, did the tenant say they are able to afford 90% of the rent but not 100%?  That a 10% discount makes all the difference?  To me it seems unlikely.

Originally posted by @Helio Cuevas :

this is the process I follow:

Rent due on the 1st with a 5 day grace and after it's 10% late fee (NEVER forgive a late fee). It's the only way you can "train your tenant to be timely".

After the grace period, I immediately serve the tenant with a 3 day notice to pay or quit if I don't collect after the 3 days, I immediately commence the eviction service. It can take me 30-60 days to evict the tenant with a writ of possession. When you start the process early you get your property back much sooner.

 How do you collect your late fee? On the spot with the late rent or with the next month's rent?

You can write a lease modification to change the rent for a period of time which you both would sign.

You might want to collect the 10% difference from the tenant's security deposit and ask her to make up the difference over the coming year as part of your agreement.  That way, you aren't explicitly losing 10%.  This is also an opportunity to extend the end of lease date if that is desirable.

Jim.

Contact an attorney and get the eviction process started right away. Don't spend anymore time stalling with the tenant and do not try to handle the eviction alone. This is the area of your business where you absolutely DO NOT want to try to do it yourself.

James Wise, Real Estate Agent in OH (#2015001161)
216-661-6633
Originally posted by @Zaid Tillma :

Update: I heard back from the tenant, and she mentioned that she would like to leave because she is not able to afford the rent because she is between jobs. Because of the fact that she has paid on time in the past, I am willing to believe that this is a new problem. I am willing to drop the rent by 10% for 4 months to work with her. 

 Not a good idea.