Collecting rent, and evicting

18 Replies

What does your lease say? What are your state/city landlord/tenant laws?

Sorry, there are no generic answers when it comes to late rent & evictions.

Here is the back story: we have a tenant that has been decent for about 2 years. I asked her in May if she wanted to renew her lease, she said she did. Her rent was due the 15th, and I messaged her the 22nd (we have a 7 day grace period) to see where rent was. Her car broke down and She is waiting for her dad to get here to see if he can help catch her up financially. Anyway he wasn’t suppose to be on the way way, I messaged her again asking about rent and renewal. She said she was going to have to move, her dad had to go into the hospital on the way here from Florida. In the lease, she is suppose to give me 60 days notice. When she told me she was moving. She said she would pay 2 weeks worth of rent and be out by the 1st. I explaineD the lease is until the 15th, and she Owes for the whole month. Now she will not respond to my messages, and has not been at the property. Tomorrow I am sending her a 5day notice. 

I know I need to tighten things up. I was trying to be understanding for her situation. I’m in Illinois. We have to give a 5 day notice to quit, then can proceed with eviction. My lease now gives 7 days then we charge a 5% late fee. At 15 days of non payment the lease is terminated. And we require 60 days notice of non renewal of lease. 

Unfortunately this is part of one of the risks of having a rental property. It is unfortunate when personal things happen, but businesses is business. Are you familiar with the eviction process in your state? How long is the process? This is a situation where sometimes you have to think outside the box.

I have had situations in the past where I just offered not to proceed with an eviction if they were out by a certain date. It’s better to get possession of the unit back early than to drag out the eviction process in many cases. The longer you drag it out, the mor rent you aren’t going to see. I offer a payment plan for the outstanding balance once they have vacated, If they do not abide by the payment arrangement, they get sent to collections. Instead of going the course of a an eviction witch can be a 30 days process or longer in some cases, I was able to get the tenant out in 3-5 days voluntarily and have anew tenant in the property within a few days after. Roughly a 10 days turnaround. Saved almost $800 in potential vacancy costs and $156 in court fees, and saved the value of my time dealing with wasting half my day at the courthouse.

She can’t afford the rent so I would file for eviction. There is not any reason to delay getting back possession of the unit so that you can find a new tenant.

I didn’t realize you could send to collections without going to court. How does that process work?

Also I want to go see the property. And we have to give 24 hour notice. But I haven’t been able to catch her. I sent her messages on messenger, so that I can see when she reads them. And she hasn’t opened any of them. I tried calling with no success as well.

Most states allow you to post a notice on the door. I would do this for the 24-hour notification. Take a picture of the letter saying you need to inspect the AC or something, and return 24 hours later.

Tell her you want to work with her, but she needs to talk with you. But these things rarely get better. Good luck!

I am in a similar situation. Won't go into all the details, but one of my tenants has given me a sob story and can't pay rent but has 2mo left on the lease. 

Luckily, the tenant is cooperative and is voluntarily moving out. I'll be keeping their EM deposit to cover turnover fees and if there is any left it'll start making up for the rent not paid. 

I could go through the whole eviction process and go to court to try and get the money. At the end of the day, I think it's a waste of my time. I'll never see that money, and I'll spend a lot on attorney fees, digging the hole deeper. Right now they owe me $1300 (back rent for June and July's rent). I'll spend at least that amount on fees coming after the tenant. Sure, I have every legal right to nail the tenant to the wall, but after weighing the pros and cons, I made an executive decision that it's just not worth it. Cut my losses and move on as quickly as possible. 

After reading what @Ryan McKelvey suggested, I think I'm going to go that route (payment plan after closing....but will pursue legally if agreement not honored). Great advice there. 

One thing I have learned from this experience that I will be applying to my rentals going forward - treat it like a business and hide behind your lease and attorney. No leniency on late rents, etc. I've been taken advantage of too many times by tenants. Sure, you feel like a jerk, but if you separate the emotion out of it and treat it strictly as business, it makes those tough convos/decisions easier. 

For my Property managers, there’s a 5 day grace period. So first I would recommend you make all rent due on the first and late on the 5th or due on the first and late on the 3rd etc. A 7 day grace period is nuts in my opinion.

Second if it’s late, you try to contact them and if you can’t then you send the notice. After that you file for eviction.

Hey Heather! At the apartment complex where I worked (in Colorado) tenants received late fees after the 3rd of the month. On the 4th a $50 initial late fee was charged and then a $10/day fee until rent was paid. As far as evictions go, I would brush up on your state's landlord-tenant laws to determine the correct dates for posting notices. 

@Caleb Heimsoth @Peter Stewart @Heather Rodden

Rent is due on the 1st for all of my leases.  Also, that means rent is late on the 2nd.  The 5 day grace period is what is allowed before legally being able to charge a late fee.  In North Carolina, we have to send a 10 day notice to pay or quit notice/letter.  These are sent on the 2nd of the month, so I can file for eviction on the 12th on the month or next business day if this falls on  a weekend or holiday.  Double check with your states laws in regards to this as it may differ.  Pay or quit letters/notices should be sent the day rent is late, not the day the grace period ends.  

She finally contacted me back. And is  planning on moving out tomorrow. And cleaning it when everything is out. Thankfully she seems to be working with me on this. And I told her I am bringing her a 5 day notice to cover my side of it. She agreed, and I’m going to meet her at her Work. 

Do any of you do a 30 or 60 day notice for vacating/not renewing lease? If they break that, what do you do? 

Great advice here!  Glad I haven't had to deal with late rents I've been very fortunate.  We are humans and want to be sympathetic to tenant situations, but at the end of the day it's part of the deal its how we make money.  I really love the payment plan suggestion, get your property back and move forward.  You could save a lot of money, appeal to your human side and give the tenant options to keep working with you.  Silence should be feared!