Tenant "short on rent by $75" what to do???

6 Replies

I own a rental in CA, and current tenants have lived there for about 3 months.  Rent is due on the first of each month. The lease states the rent is due on the first of each month and will be deemed late any time past.  There is a late fee charge per the lease.]

Tenant sent me  a text this morning (2nd) and said, "Just wanted to let you know, we deposited the rent, except we are $75 short on rent this month due to something unexpected that happened. We will pay the rest of the rent on Friday and the late fee."  

3 weeks ago for whatever it's worth, a neighbor called to inform me the tenants are partying and disturbing her peace.  She was advised of her options but nonetheless, I am seeing a pattern and want to nip it in the butt now.

With that said, should I do the 3 day pay or quit form that will also set the standard for future incidents?  Or do I acknowledge the tenant and document the incident and call it good assuming she pays the late fee?  I am looking for help on how to proceed. Thank you! 

@Bryan Findlay

Every situation is different however I've had luck with the general approach of working to understand the situation first and foremost.  You can't force anyone to share info with you but I view it as a red flag if folks are not being transparent about a cause of a situation like this.  Working to understand and in very select situations communicating firm guidance on what you can live with, and what you can't.

From my experience as well, usually one problem follows with others.  Not always, but usually.  Once you get the second one, prepare for ongoing issues.  That's been my experience.

Personally I would not issue a 3-day pay or quit notice over $75 in a case where the tenants are still communicating with you and telling you exactly when they'll pay the balance due.  Now, if Friday came and went and you didn't get the rest of the money that was owed as promised and you couldn't get ahold of the tenant at that point, that'd be a different story.  But I wouldn't issue one yet.  Just my two cents.

Late is late it does not matter if it is $1 or $1000.

Serving the pay or quit is how a landlord documents the incident. You simply explain to your tenant that it is your standard business practice to protect yourself and that they should not take it personally. Once it is filed the clock starts ticking and if they do not pay as promised you are not wasting time in the event it leads to a eviction.

A landlord should teach their tenants that a pay or quit will always be filed on the second of the month every time in the event rent is not paid in full by midnight on the 1st.

Standard business practice nothing more.

You have a bad tenant:

 You will need to teach this tenant that "something unexpected" is not justification for non payment of rent and that nothing takes priority over paying rent in full and on time. Unless you want to live with ongoing late payments you will need to train this tenant immediately and explain that you will evict if there is a repeat incident.

One late/partial payment is your tenants fault, a second late payment is the landlords fault. 

Much appreciated on the views.  Now to learn how to go about the pay or quit, and unsure if personal hand service is required. I only mention this as my rental is a little over an hour away.  Thank you.

Originally posted by @Bryan Findlay :

Much appreciated on the views.  Now to learn how to go about the pay or quit, and unsure if personal hand service is required. I only mention this as my rental is a little over an hour away.  Thank you.

If you've decided to serve the notice, get ready for a drive.  The only options are to either personally serve the notice or "post and mail" the notice, which means to post the notice in a conspicuous place (such as the front door of the unit) and then mail another copy to the tenant at the rental unit's address.