Tenant did not pay final month’s rent

15 Replies

Hi everyone. I have a tenant that's supposed to move out at the end of this month. Rent was due on the 1st with a grace period until to 5th. Then a late fee hits and he lease says I would start eviction if not all received by the 10th. I know that I should try to get rent and not take it from security at the end, being that if there is a ton of damage, security may not cover it all. I believe eviction takes some time and costs a bit. Would it be worth filing on the 11th if they are supposed to be leaving the 28th? They asked if they can stay a couple extra days after the 28th and I said no (I plan to touch up and rent ASAP). Between not paying rent, potential damage, and potential for them to stay in there a few extra days, I'm a little worried about not taking the right action now to cover myself. Any advice? Thanks!

Tell them they can stay a few days after the 28th, but they need to pay rent for Feb and prorated rent for those extra days right now.  

Have you done a walk through recently to see what the place looks like?  If you need to do some repairs, you won't have it rented for March 1 anyhow.  This gives you a bit of money for the extra few days, your rent for Feb and still leaves enough time to fix it up for a new tenant to rent for April 1.

@Steven Cherry I would talk with them and tell them that you will be starting eviction proceedings. Let them know that this will have a huge impact on them going forward when looking for a place to live because it will stay on their credit report. At this point you can deal with them. I would suggest talking and asking why they haven't paid and setting up some sort of payment option.

Correct me if I'm wrong but it appears your State is not very Landlord friendly?

I guess the key here would be communication. Try to approach your tenant and understand what the problem is and try to work something out. If that doesn't work I'd go the legal route!

First and foremost, even before you tell them about past due rent and eviction filings coming soon, do you have a forwarding address for them? I would tell them you need a forwarding address to send "security deposit after move out". Then, once you have that, hit them with the past due rent and possible eviction. But this way, you have their forwarding address for when you file for rent and damages in small claims court.

Originally posted by @Anthony Wick :

@Max T.   A great idea. But what do you do if you're the only landlord in your area that asks for that? It's just not common around here. 

 Sounds like an opportunity to get the best tenants in your area.

@Steven Cherry   I would  contact them for last months rent and prorated days as @Theresa Harris   

said although she doesn't say where she is from this advice region doesn't matter. 

@Anthony Wick   For units where this is an issue I decreased the security deposit by about half and asked for last months rent.  I found the typical tenant tried to use security for last month and I rarely had more then a couple hundred dollars damage.

Thanks everyone!  This is what the tenant said, “Just keep the security deposit, that will be more than the rent and late fee together.”  The issue with this is if there is more damage than the remaining few hundred dollars of security.  If they won’t pay now and give that as an only option, would you immediately file for eviction now before they move out at the end of the month?

@Steven Cherry

Deposit is deposit. Rent is rent. The reason you just mentioned is why. You return the rent and there's a bunch of damage. Now you're short being able to cover the damage and you're out rent.

Wouldn't surprise me in some states if the tenants then try to say you didn't return the deposit in areas with strict deposit requirements.

@Mark H.  Thanks Mark.  If they refuse to pay rent and I file for eviction now, it probably won’t go through until after they move out, right?  If it does before, they may damage the place more so on the way out?  Just trying to determine best approach to take now if they continue to delay paying rent this last month.

It is very common for tenants to not pay last month rent. Regardless of how good of a tennat shafting their landlord on the way out is standard practice. Your chances of collecting now are next to nil depending on them. Accept it and move on unless your state is landlord friendly. If they are concerned about their credit or your state allows garnishing of wages your situation is different. In that case I would file a eviction and run it through to small claims. If they care about their reputation they may pay. Keep in mind you can drop the eviction at any time if they pay up. 

@Steven Cherry you should proceed like you would for any normal non-payment of rent. I would file the 3-day Pay or Quit so they know I'm serious. Most tenants will pay at that point. If they still refuse to pay, you can choose to wait until the termination date and see if they move out. If they don't, file for the eviction immediately and go after everything you can get. If they are out, apply the deposit and hope you don't lose much.

@Anthony Wick don't worry about what other people do. If you have a good rental, people will pay what is necessary to get into it. I'm in a town where nobody else charges last month's rent but I do it quite often to higher-risk tenants. With over 300 rentals and 70% turnover every year, only 1-2 tenants a year move away owing more than their deposit and get sent to collections.

@Thomas S.

Come on. Shafting landlords is common? I simply don’t believe that. You’re telling me almost all your tenants don’t pay the last month of their rent? I’ve never had that happen to me.

@Max T.

I just had to rent two units in the middle of this brutal winter. I had just purchased this duplex in December, with no tenants. In the summer, I can rent a unit in 7-10 days. One unit went empty Dec-Feb (Lease now signed starting March 1). If I asked for first and last months rent, plus deposit, I'm positive it would still be empty. On a side note, the leases now expire in the summer.