Did I do the right thing? Tenants late in WI.

9 Replies

I own a 4 bedroom house that rents for $995.00 a month and placed tenants Aug 1st of this year. The tenants did not pay rent on the 1st and I sent a text reminding them rent was due, fast forward to the 4th and I sent another text to which I got no response. The next day I knocked on the door and served the 5 day pay or quit notice. The tenant answered and of course said they've been sick and missed some work, said "I was just getting ready to text you", now that was a chuckle. She texted yesterday and asked if she could pay $400 and the remaining plus late fee on the 15th. I told her no partial payments and that rent needed to be paid in full within the notice period. I always take care of issues I am notified about within 24 hours and I absolutely expect rent on time and in full. I feel good about my decision, just hoping I don't have to evict her. Would you have done anything differently other than serve the notice sooner?

@Samantha Klein - You did what you were supposed to do.  You don't need to be more lenient if you don't want to. 

I am more lenient if tenants approach me first, explain why they are late, and what they are going to do to solve it.  So if someone comes to me and they lost heir job, and are going to be late, but can show they got a new job and are proactive with a payment plan, I am ok with it.   

But dodging calls automatically puts me in a non-forgiving mood.  

I absolutely cannot stand tenants who do not reply when they are late. I stress this point during the approval process. Most get it, and proactively reach out to me if they are to be late.

I don’t start tripping until the morning of the 6th - all my leases have the due date on the 1st, with the additional four days before the rent is considered late and any late fees may be charged, as well as potential eviction process started. (I have one lease, where, after a year of almost-on-time payments, I realized that the tenants, two sisters, simply needed an adjustment for their work paydays - their rent is now due by the 10th. But they are otherwise good tenants.)

You did not mention a grace period for this tenant - as I presume would be outlined in your lease agreement. I don’t think grace periods are mandatory in WI, so you may not have one.

Personally, giving your winters and 3-4 month of on-time payments, I would accept the partial payment today on the promise of the full payment and the late fee later in the month. If they break that, then it’s on.

But document everything with them in writing, including how this is a good-faith exception to the lease terms, and does not change the Lease.

Only thing I would do differently would be to serve the  5 day pay or quit notice on the 2nd. Act first and ask questions later. The pay or quit is no more than a formality and should always be served the day after rent is due.

It is then in the tenants court as to whether they choose to begin a eviction or pay up.

Landlords should always remember they are not choosing to evict the tenant is choosing to be evicted.

Originally posted by @Samantha Klein :
I own a 4 bedroom house that rents for $995.00 a month and placed tenants Aug 1st of this year. The tenants did not pay rent on the 1st and I sent a text reminding them rent was due, fast forward to the 4th and I sent another text to which I got no response. The next day I knocked on the door and served the 5 day pay or quit notice. The tenant answered and of course said they've been sick and missed some work, said "I was just getting ready to text you", now that was a chuckle. She texted yesterday and asked if she could pay $400 and the remaining plus late fee on the 15th. I told her no partial payments and that rent needed to be paid in full within the notice period.

I always take care of issues I am notified about within 24 hours and I absolutely expect rent on time and in full.

I feel good about my decision, just hoping I don't have to evict her. Would you have done anything differently other than serve the notice sooner?

For me, it depends on what kind of tenant they are.

I have one tenant renting a 3BR home for $800/month. She takes very good care of the place and is not a bother to me at all. HOWEVER, she struggled with making payments on time, so I approached her and asked if it would help her to pay $400 on the 1st and $400 on the 15th. She was surprised and very grateful. She pays it every single month this way.

Also, I know she takes care of the place because the hot water tank went bad two months ago (something no tenant could plan.) We went in to replace the tank and I was SO HAPPY with how nice she had the place looking. Happened one other time when she locked herself out of the house. 

To me, its worth it to keep a reliable long term tenant who I can trust to take care of the house. 

I should mention that this is the 2nd time they have been late with rent in 4 months however the 1st time they did let me know ahead of time. I have rent due on the 1st but no late fee charged until after 5:30PM on the 3rd. I don't want to make payment arrangements due to the fact that I am pretty sure if they pay the remaining rent on the 15th, they will be late for January rent because they won't have money and I'll have just lost time. If they can't afford the rent, I would rather rip the band-aid off and get them out.

You asked if you did the right thing and said "I'm hoping I don't have to evict her".

I'm going to help you answer your own question. 

If you give your boss an ultimatum promote me or I'll quit and you are really hoping to  not have to quit, have you done the right thing .

If you tell your boyfriend marry me or I'll dump you and you are really hoping you don't have to dump him have you done the right thing.

 There's another thread on here today where a good tenant was late and they all advised the landlord to issue pay or quit notice. So the landlord issued it and the tenant quit and told the landlord to keep the security deposit. Did that landlord do the right thing.

https://www.biggerpockets.com/forums/52/topics/515852-tenant-has-not-paid-rent-and-is-not-responding-to-call-or-text?page=2#p3156510

@Ihe O. I would say he definitely did the right thing. The tenant was ignoring him and probably would've continued to if he didn't get serious. The tenant had from the sounds of it already moved on before he issued the pay or quit. Saying that I hope I don't have to evict her is just that, nobody hopes they have to go that route, they hope the tenant just pays the rent so I don't get what your point is...

Originally posted by @Samantha Klein :

@Ihe O. I would say he definitely did the right thing. The tenant was ignoring him and probably would've continued to if he didn't get serious. The tenant had from the sounds of it already moved on before he issued the pay or quit. Saying that I hope I don't have to evict her is just that, nobody hopes they have to go that route, they hope the tenant just pays the rent so I don't get what your point is... 

There were 3 questions in my post. By the time you answer either of the other two you my point will be clear.

@Samantha Klein

I would say you did.. It is far to early in your lease to make consessions.. 

The fact they avoided you says a lot.. Some people are late their whole life, and late fees can be a great addition to your bottom line. It is just to early in the relationship to make assumptions form me.. So I would follow through with the eviction..