Notice to Pay or Quit

9 Replies

I have tenants who are behind on rent for various reasons. Last Sunday I told them if they'd at least pay $500 that I would promise to not file Disposessory on Monday and they did pay. They are still behind a month and change.

It's become blatantly clear now over the last couple of days that they are not getting out of their hole anytime soon ($1200 water bill they have not paid in 9 months and have been cut off...) and they will make rent the last priority.

I would like to file 3 day notice to pay or quit. I know you can't take money after you make notice, but is there a period of time before giving notice that I must wait. Tenant keeps saying I can't file because they gave me money last Sunday. I didn't think it worked in reverse but thought I'd confirm with experts. I said I wouldn't file this week.

Also the reality is the notice to pay move is to reel them back in because they have gotten out of control on rent and other behavior. I know the costs of securing new tenants... and that one month is not a big deal but I either need to train them or get them out. 

Thanks in advance for your advice and expertise.


@Michelle Michelle

Tenant/landlord law is state and sometime municipality specific. The state statutes should be online for you to read. I cannot imagine that there is a waiting period after you received some money. But check for yourself.

In general, file the notice (10 days in NC) as soon as possible. Once the time passes, you don't have to act on it immediately, but you have the option to do so. And with every step of escalation, it might be enough for the tenant to realize that you mean business.

In your case, the way you describe it, I would agree, your tenants will never catch up. Life is too short to deal with this kind of drag, just my opinion.

Property Management Made Easy
Powerful Online Tool
Stress free and user friendly. From managing to advertising, SimplifyEm has got you covered!
Click for FREE Trial

This is why every landlord needs to have a real estate attorney on retainer so you can call them up and let them deal with these headaches.Yes I do believe they are correct.You can't start eviction proceedings if you accepted money from them.Here in California they can give you 1 lousy dollar and they keep their tenants rights for that month if you accept it.Contact a good attorney and see what your options are at this point.Good luck.

Thanks! I've checked the Georgia tenant law handbook but it only mentions how you cannot receive money after notifying tenants without having to start the clock over, which I knew. 

But laws seem so uber tenant skewed these days that I wouldn't be surprised if there were some policy that you can't receive partial payment on a Tuesday and then file on Thursday, which btw I wouldn't do.  I just wasn't sure if I need to wait.

I want to give them more time to possibly pay, but already be in the position to file without further delay if I need to. 

Thanks for your advice!

Pretend your story is being told to you by someone you dearly love - like your mother or best friend, etc.

Pretend they tell you that they have a tenant who is way behind on rent, and who wants to pay them partial rent, but your loved one is still hoping they will catch up, so they don't want to start eviction.

What would you say to them?

Landlords that believe bad tenants will some how pay up or otherwise come around are in the wrong business. You do not file in this case to turn them around you file to get rid of them.

Either live with them the way they are, as you have already trained them, or evict. It's your choice but either way living in a landlord dream world believing you will change them is foolhardy.

You should have given notice the first time they were late paying if you wanted to train them,

I have a different philosophy that folks may feel is naive  but has worked for me the past 10 years.

I see dispo filing as a means of training and the legal avenue for being able to work with someone on a payment plan and protect your ability to evict and also the first step in evicting which I've never had to do. 

I have filed dispo on folks several times, even gone to court and done mediation to help get someone caught up... and have never had to evict anyone in over 10 years and the minimum time anyone has stayed with me has been 2.5 years and most my families are average 4+ years. 

Even with the best screening good people fall on hard times and will struggle and want to do right but can't, but if you work with them they can end up being even longer term tenants. For example the tenant I've done mediation with is still with me 3 years later, a total of just over 5. This influences my philosophy. 

I think of real estate investing as a long journey and sometimes you have to peddle hard to get up a hill but once you do you're able to coast awhile. (tenants, repairs, finding the right deal...)

The advice I was seeking was about whether I need to wait to give notice to pay or quit since I took money from them a week ago for the balance of June rent. I want them on "notice" for July. I see little problem of providing "notice" that converts to a future filing the day I so choose...

Thanks everyone for your feedback and advice!

Michelle Michelle STOP fooling with these people. Kick them out!! Forget the rent post a cure or quit on the water bill. (Hope it's in your lease it has to be paid. shame on you if it's not)These tenants have probably gotten you more than you know. You better check your local water Dept. Water is usually one of the few utilities that can place a Lien on your property. You could very well end up paying that one. Also how are they flushing toilets washing dishes and doing laundry?? Don't you have cockroaches in Georgia? I bet it's going to be couple visits from the bug guys to get rid of them all. And maybe fumigated to get rid of the smell. I am really happy those people live far from my rentals. They are well on the way to being professional tenants, and I pity the next poor guy to get them. They have been trained well and gotten away with way too much. The next guy will lose a months rent when he kicks them out. RR

I am a very big believer in a landlords responsibility to train tenants. I am defiantly not a believer in "helping" out tenants during difficult times. Housing is, or should be, every indivulaes prime priority. When they hit hard times the last person to step in should be the landlord, Government, friends, banks, loan sharks all come to mind ahead of me helping out any individual.

Tenants are a dime a dozen so changing tenants quickly as opposed to a long drawn out financial situation where I am loaning any tenant their rent money is not anywhere in my future. No pay no stay is the safest route for a landlord to take if they do not want to end up in a even deeper financial hole. Surprisingly when placed in the no pay no stay situation money miraculously appears from somewhere other than my pocket.