Late Rent Payments

12 Replies

Hi there I have a tenant who has been chronically late with rent since the lease began, first it was a week late, then 2 weeks, then a month...tenant pays eventually after multiple phone calls and reminders. Considering eviction but scared of what I read on the Internet about Massachusetts. Wondering if the cost of getting a lawyer is worth the trouble? One year lease would go to month-to-month in December.

Given that this tenant's lease ends in December and that he/she has always eventually paid the rent, it would probably be cheaper and less of a hassle to keep the tenant. However, if the late payments still bother you that much by December, then either do not renew the lease or simply impose stricter penalties for paying late.

Does your lease contain a late fee? If so, do you normally enforce it?

A month late? so they payed 2 months at a time or were another month late?

I would evict them. Just giving them the notice that they need to pay or will be evicted might be enough to get them to pay on time.

What links have you read about eviction in your state? More specifically...county?

Is it truly required to get a lawyer for eviction? Typically, it's a simple form to fill out at the courthouse. It gets posted on their door or mailed. Court (which is probably like traffic court with lots of people being called up). Next step. Did you read actual state/county websites on the eviction process or someone's horror story?

Yikes! Get a lawyer when you need a lawyer, but right now you do not need a lawyer.

You have two choices (others of course):

1. Notify them in September/October timeline you are not renewing the lease (expect to hear grief).  

2. Next time they come up late, serve the 14 days notice for non-payment. You can do this or have a constable do it ($35-50).  Whenever the 15 or 16th day rolls around,  have a constable serve them a Summary Process  to appear in court (constable $50-90 and court cost $135-195).  This is usually 2 to 3 weeks out for the court date.

oh, one other way I found out recently, but have not tried it yet.  Instead of causing possible grief, provide 45-60 day notice to your tenant that:

*unfortunately, due to rising cost, your new monthly rent starting in January will be +$150 a month.* ......say your sorry but that is the new rate.  They will move out themselves in January under the premises that it was their choice and not an eviction.

if you do, they let me know it works.

Thanks for the advice everyone! The lease does have a late fee after 30 days, and I have enforced it. For example, January rent 10 days late, February 15 days late, March 20 days late, April 30 days late (late fee charged). In addition to the late rent, there are other issues with the tenancy that I won't go into here. Suffice it to say I would like to look for another tenant as soon as possible. I have read the transcripts of actual cases from Housing Court in my area and yes, there are horror stories about tenants who are awarded triple damages for what seem to me to be minor infractions. Also examples of landlords that didn't complete or serve the paperwork perfectly and then had to start all over again.

@Michelle D. assuming your local laws allow it, I would strongly recommend an earlier late fee date. My leases in Pennsylvania and Florida are late after 3 calendar days, which gives the tenant significantly more motivation to pay than a 30 day late fee would.

http://www.mass.gov/courts/selfhelp/housing/evicti...

I found this on the biggerpockets how to guides. I would look at this any maybe it will be able to give you some answers. I have managed properties for about 3 years now and it has been my experience that if a tenant starts their lease paying late, they never seem to recover and at times, it is better to spend the money evicting rather than trying to keep the tenant in the unit. 

If you worried about the process I would advise finding a real estate lawyer and seeing if they will sit down with you and walk to through all the eviction paperwork before hand just to make sure your ducks are all in a row. We have an attorney  that our family has worked with for 10+years who is always willing to take a few minutes to look over paperwork such as leases, notices, applications etc. If you could, I would try to find an attorney that you trust who can do that for you. It really does help put your mind at ease when you have issues like this come up.

@Michelle D.

I like this one by @Rich N.

*unfortunately, due to rising cost, your new monthly rent starting in January will be +$150 a month.* ......say your sorry but that is the new rate. They will move out themselves in January under the premises that it was their choice and not an eviction.

However, December as you know here in MA is one of the worst times for moving...

Originally posted by @Rick C. :

@Michelle D. assuming your local laws allow it, I would strongly recommend an earlier late fee date. My leases in Pennsylvania and Florida are late after 3 calendar days, which gives the tenant significantly more motivation to pay than a 30 day late fee would.

if her place is her home state, then unfortunately, Massachusetts starts at 30 days, hence why I do not bother with late fees.  I go with the 14 day notice (yes, its another earliest for Massachusetts)

Have her call and apply to the united way (or whomever is administering the program in your area). They'll pay you directly up to $3000 for up to 3 months back rent if the tenant can pay the current month's rent.

Non renewal notice based on your state and raise the rent after than..... not worth an eviction if the renewal is in Dec