Advice on late rent please help

14 Replies

hey bp,

Need some advice on what seems to be my first problem tenant! This is her first month living there and she is late paying the rent. The lease says to pay by the 9th and today is the 16th. Since she is mailing it to me is it not late if post marked by the 9th? But I live 20mins from the house and there is no way the mail can take that long.

I used a realtor to find this tenant and she tried to pay cash at first, doesn't seem to have a bank account because she gave me a money order and I found out after she was basically already in that she had a prior eviction. 

So my question is, what should I do? To early to try to evict ? I have never done this before so any advice I really appreciate!

Thanks

Ryan

@Ryan Keenan The tenant is lying to you and using the "check got lost in the mail" excuse. It's didn't get lost. She didn't send it, every landlord has been through this. 

This person, as evidence by her prior eviction and her not paying you, either doesn't have any money to pay rent or is a professional tenant that moves from house to house doing this to landlords. Sounds like the agent did not do a background check or hid things about their background from you which is another issue, but nothing you can do about that now. 

I would contact an attorney ASAP and start the eviction process for non payment of rent. Make sure since it sounds like this is your first time going through this that you hire an attorney that specializes in evictions to handle this for you. Connecticut landlord/tenant law is very specific about the process of an eviction. 

Your first step is to learn your state landlord tenant regulations. This is not a hobby it is a business governed by state law and legal contracts. You should not be operating a business without first knowing the laws that govern your business. Learn the laws if you expect to stay in business.

What so many new investor/landlords fail to understand is that the rent is late the day after it is due. When a lease or state regulations say to pay by such and such date that is the date that late fees can be charged not the date the rent is late.

If rent is due on the 1st and not received by midnight then you issue a pay or quit notice the very next morning. This begins the process and protects the landlord in the event the tenant never pays. Time is money in this business meaning tardy landlords lose every time.

@Ryan Keenan Your tenants rent was late the day after it was due and you have now lost 16 days rent and if a eviction is necessary you have lost multiple months rent due to you not understanding your landlord tenant codes and your inaction.

Never ever wait to hear from a tenant, always issue the pay or quit on the  2nd. Shoot first and ask questions later.   

First off, your realtor didn't know they had an eviction?   Generally a realtor should do a background check and credit check.   Second off contact and attorney that does evictions.  If you're in New Haven for this rental I recommend Ori Spiegel if you're going to be doing the eviction in Waterbury contact Steven Grant.

The longer you wait the worse the pain will be.

start eviction process as allowed by your lease. Youre welcome

@Ryan Keenan

I agree with starting the eviction process. I would call the tenant and tell her that you are starting the eviction process and that if she pays the rent you can stop it. Offer to go over and pick up another check from her and she can cancel the one she "sent" to you.

@Thomas S.

I believe in CT, the eviction process cannot start until after the 9 day grace period.

@Edward Schenkel   Is that true?

First I'd never use that agent to find a tenant again.

Second, if you accept rent by mail (WHY oh why?) require it be in your hands by the due date.  Not postmarked.  In hand.

Third, don't accept rent by mail.  There are numerous ways to pay, even with cash.  Paynearme, for one.

Have you gone over to the place and knocked on the door?  If not, jump in your car and go do that.  If you don't get rent, find a landlord/tenant attorney and start the eviction process.

Start eviction right away.  Notice to quits should be served on the 11th in Connecticut.  If they pay after that, you use the late fee to cover notice service Marshall fee.

Train them early and often!

Their tenancy started this month? Landlord best practices require rent to be paid monthly IN ADVANCE. Before giving a tenant keys, at least the first month and the security deposit should have been RECEIVED by the leasing agent/owner in the form of cash or money order to start the tenancy. Then, as per the terms of the rental agreement for subsequent months. 

Many of our low-income tenants don't have a bank account. We accept personal checks and money orders mailed to our P.O. Box, but we still hold the tenant accountable if we don't receive the rent in a timely manner. We use postmarks to determine if we will be charging the tenant a late fee or not, but rent is still due on the first and late on the second. Our late fee kicks in on the 6th. We also obtain a substantial security deposit to cover our risk.

Obviously, the tenant was not screened properly. So sorry you're faced with this situation. You need to address this swiftly and professionally.  At this juncture, I would review the tenant's application and tenant file. Do your own background check so you know who and what you're dealing with. Find out the details of the prior eviction, as it will give you an idea of what you may be facing. If a tenant breaks one rental agreement term, it gives me incentive to check up on them to make sure they're not breaking other terms of the rental agreement too. You need to know what's going on. 

I would go to the rental unit and take someone with me (as a witness and for some protection) and address the situation in person. If they don't have cash in hand to pay the rent at that moment, I would serve a Notice to Pay Rent or Quit and I would serve a Notice to Enter.

As others have said, learn the landlord-tenant laws for your jurisdiction and obtain the services of a qualified attorney. And don't do business again with that realtor/agent who got you into this mess! Property management should be left to those who are qualified in this arena, or to property owners who are willing to develop the skills necessary to do the job properly themselves. Be strong. You can do this!

Time for the real estate attorney.  Get the ball rolling.  If she doesn't have a bank account, its the tell sign of only the beginning of issues. 

First of all, I'm so sorry that you're having to go through this this! I have been where you are and it SUCKS! It does get easier every time, though. I have had a few tenants through the years who clearly never intended to pay rent once they moved in. Most, I caught before I gave them the key, one or two got through.

It always helped me to just take anything that a tenant tells me at face value. Probably, this woman is trying to scam you, but even if she's not, YOU SHOULD STILL START AN EVICTION. At the end of the day, she needs to either put money in your hand, or leave. In the meantime, though, I would much rather be kind to someone who needed my kindness than cold to someone who didn't deserve it.

I recommend calling your lawyer and paying for 15-30 minutes of his time to walk you through the process. He can give you copies of all the forms that you'll need and help you understand what to expect. If it goes to court, judges can mostly tell EXACTLY what's going on and will help you through the process.

Good luck with your current tenant, and I hope your next works out better!

DId you hire your agent to do a background check?  If so, the eviction should be on there...My leases also state that rent is due on the first, late on the 2nd.  Why have if be until the 9th?

Give the tenant a 3 day notice asap and get the process started.  Dont wait.  Rent is due and you are not a bank.  If tenant needs to borrow from family or friend, she should do so, but not from you 

Originally posted by @Ryan Keenan :

hey bp,

Need some advice on what seems to be my first problem tenant! This is her first month living there and she is late paying the rent. The lease says to pay by the 9th and today is the 16th. Since she is mailing it to me is it not late if post marked by the 9th? But I live 20mins from the house and there is no way the mail can take that long.

I used a realtor to find this tenant and she tried to pay cash at first, doesn't seem to have a bank account because she gave me a money order and I found out after she was basically already in that she had a prior eviction. 

So my question is, what should I do? To early to try to evict ? I have never done this before so any advice I really appreciate!

Thanks

Ryan

@Ryan Keenan

You have the right to start to the eviction process on the 11th of the month if the rent is due on the first. The Connecticut administrative regulations (and many leases) provide a 10 day grace period. The first step is the notice to quit, as mentioned by a number of the posts above.

You ask an interesting question about what about the situation where it is postmarked the 9th and you receive it a week letter. I think it depends on the language in the lease. You should make clear it has to be received by due date, not sent. There is a general contract rule that a judge could apply in the absence of any clear guidance in the lease - that notice is effectively given when sent. This is to account for potential mail delays when not the sender's fault. A judge could use this rule or maybe not. It probably depends on the judge. 

I would make it clear in the lease that rent must be received by the due date so you have a stronger argument if this issue were put before the judge. I think on a practical level, I would send the tenant a note reminding them it is due on the first - not mailed by that date. I think it would be very hard to convince a judge to evict if the tenant is always a day or two late. 

Also, BP here is something VERY IMPORTANT. If the tenant does not pay the rent, and then you start the eviction process, and then they send in the rent, do not accept the rent if your goal is to get them out as soon as possible. Acceptance of late rent after the eviction will create a new lease by law and you will have to start the eviction process over. This can be prevented if you have special language in the Notice to Quit, which language IS NOT included on the form on the judicial website. Be careful. I will post something soon about tips for a good notice to quit and avoiding problems. 

thanks to everyone who responded I really received some valuable information about eviction!

Well turns out the Reason that she was late was because the post office returned her mail which had my rent check in it. She doesn't know the Reason and it's probably a lie. When i received the rent it was inside a happy thanksgiving card which was odd. 

Anyway I did tell her that it was unacceptable for the rent to be this late and the next time I will start the process.

I did call a lawyer and she explained to me all the steps that need to be taken. I do feel more comfortable and aware of how this process all works. Thanks everyone!

Ryan

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