Tenant wont give phone number?

60 Replies

My tenants phone has been working fine until the first month he took residence. Since then he has been consistently late by a few weeks for the rent.  Now I call it and it goes right to vm. I went to the house to tell him this and he said" his phone is being fixed and he had to send it out for repair" . well 3 weeks later , it still does not work. Now who waits 3 weeks for their phone to be repaired? I keep trying to call his wife's phone, she never answers' either. I sent him an email yesterday stating I need a new contact number and have not heard back yet. What would you guys do?

Clearly he’s lying (no one goes without a phone for 3 weeks in today’s age), but there’s nothing you can do to force him to give you his number or answer your calls. If he needs something, he’ll call. And when he’s late on the rent by a few weeks, you should be serving him a notice and/or starting the eviction process, which usually needs to be done in person anyway (as opposed to over the phone). You could always try calling from a blocked or different number and see if he picks up though if you really want to speak with him. 

Tell him you need a way to contact him.  If not by phone, then an email address that is checked regularly.

he gave me his email address, which is a gmail account , but it takes days for him to get back to me because he says himself" I don't check this account much". Why would you give me an account you don't check often?  He is set up on Cozy with me for payment of the rent. He knows the rent is due on the 1st, with a $50 late fee as of the 5th. So he goes on Cozy on the 4th to process the payment. Well, I hit him with my $50 late fee because the lease states " i must have payment in hand by the 5th" and then he refuses to pay the late fee! So when Cozy tries to hit his account 4-5 days later for payment, its insufficient! So now he has to pay the late fee . But this month he says he is only paying the rent amount and no late fee because in his mind, he wasn't late, he's blaming Cozy for the amount being late.Should I enforce it or let it slide this month? I fi let it slide, I feel he will try this every month now. Any thoughts?

I don’t understand...he paid cozy in the 4th and your late fee starts on the 5th but you charged him?

Sounds innapropriate. Don’t get me wrong, bad tenant but he had a point?

I only charged him after cozy told me he had insufficient funds.

Gotcha, start eviction as your state allows. Let him deal with catching up.

Difficult to advise on how you should handle this situation since I do not know your management style. You also do not state how long he has been a tenant. What I suspect however from your post is that you have trained him to pay rent when he feels like it rather when it is due.

This is how you should be training tenants and how I would deal with this tenant. The first time he did not pay full rent on the 1st I would send him a letter indicating that my policy is to not tolerate late payment and that going forward full rent is expected by midnight on the 1st. Late fees would apply if not paid in full by the 5th.

 The second time he was late I would issue a pay or quit notice on the 2nd and send along a letter indicating that if he is late again I will be evicting him for consistent late payments. Late fees would apply is rent was not paid in full by the 5th.

If he was late a 3rd time I would issue the pay or quit on the 2nd and send a letter indicating that I would be evicting him. I would in addition inform him that if he paid in full rent owing immediately I would drop the eviction and allow him to leave at the end of the month without penalty.

It would be up to the tenant to then decide if he wanted to be evicted or leave voluntarily. If he paid the rent, including any late fees and agreed to leave I would get it in writing and drop the eviction the day he leaves.  

In your situation now I would be beginning the eviction for either non payment of fees, assuming your state regs allow it, and for continually paying late. You could also offer to release him from his lease if he pays and agrees to leave. Regardless he would not be remaining if he was my tenant. It is time he had a real landlord that can teach him a life lesson.

Maybe a quit or pay notice posted to his door will get his phone operational again . I would not put up with this nonsense

@Thomas S. great advise Thomas! I am just waiting to hear from Cozy to see if the auto debit goes threw on the 13th. It says it takes 6 days to hit my account. He set it up on the 7th.

Start the eviction immediately anyway. The sooner you start the sooner you will be rid of him and find a good tenant. If you keep him he will continue to own you until he leaves. Do not expect to retrain him at this point. You will be stuck with late payments every month and when you give notice to non renew at the end of his lease you will not receive his last months rent. Get rid of him now.

Originally posted by @Bob Romano :

he gave me his email address, which is a gmail account , but it takes days for him to get back to me because he says himself" I don't check this account much". Why would you give me an account you don't check often?  He is set up on Cozy with me for payment of the rent. He knows the rent is due on the 1st, with a $50 late fee as of the 5th. So he goes on Cozy on the 4th to process the payment. Well, I hit him with my $50 late fee because the lease states " i must have payment in hand by the 5th" and then he refuses to pay the late fee! So when Cozy tries to hit his account 4-5 days later for payment, its insufficient! So now he has to pay the late fee . But this month he says he is only paying the rent amount and no late fee because in his mind, he wasn't late, he's blaming Cozy for the amount being late.Should I enforce it or let it slide this month? I fi let it slide, I feel he will try this every month now. Any thoughts?

 Was the tenant aware beforehand that Cozy takes a few days to fund your account? If that wasn't previously made clear (particularly if you were the one who suggested Cozy), then I would probably let that part slide one time. But I'm confused, was he late by a few weeks or a few days? It sounds like a problematic tenant, but it also sounds like you could be communicating your expectations more clearly. If you do that, and he is still late with payments... evict.

His phone is not "broken."  He has blocked your number.  When someone does this it sends the calls directly to VM.  Either that or he has turned his phone off so as to screen all the incoming calls through VMs  (i.e. other creditors).

Based on the other details you have provided it seems he is trying to string you along without paying rent, and delaying any communication is a page out of that playbook.

Have a process server drop him a love note on his doorstep in time for Valentine's Day and turn it over to your attorney.

Then, you can send his calls directly to VM...

@Bob Romano I never understand, when you say the rent is due on the 1st but no late fee until the 5th. Then why would the rent ever be paid before the 5th? It’s due on the 5th. The 1st is just the day you want it. It’s never going to get paid on the 1st. If rent is due on the 1st, then it is late on the 2nd.

Hi Bob,

Obviously the guy is having cash flow timing problems (for whatever reason).

I agree with posting a pay or quit, but since you seem to not mind talking to him about this, why not suggest that he get a "Temporary Job" on his days off and get his cash flow back in line. If he does, great, if he doesn't things will not change.

Chasing residents for rent is a hard way to make a buck.

Good Luck!


Start f the eviction  process immediately and stop letting your tenant train you

My guess is if there are no late fees applied until the 5th, he doesn't feel he has to pay rent on the 1st.  Afterall, there is no penalty applied.

I require my tenants to have and maintain a telephone as a condition of occupying the property. If phone communication is not avalible I post notices on the front door. In this a noncompliance of the rental agreement and a notice to vacate the property should solve the problem.

Rick 

The tenant knows when their rent is due. They know how to pay. The phone has nothing to do with this. Issue notice that you are going to evict on the date as your local law allows, and move forward unless rent is paid in full. 

I don't care about their phone/email/work hours. They know how they need to pay me. If they don't, they get a 5 day notice. If they don't pay at that point, it gets turned over to the attorney.

@Dale Nesmith

Rent is due on the first but the tenant is responsible for ensuring that the landlord has it by the fifth. For instance the tenant can mail the check on the due date but it must reach the landlord on or before the fifth. ...or I guess technically you could drop it off in person on the fourth. Most stipulate due on the first. Meaning in person by the first or postmarked. The fifth is just an additional later protecting the landlord from "lost in the mail" or "technical error."

Rent payment must be in the landlords possession,' in what ever form is agreed to, by midnight the day it is due, Not postmarked, not being processed, it must be accessible to the landlord the day it is due. If not it is late. The eviction process, beginning with the pay or quite notice, is begun first thing the net morning.

He has apparently had a change of fortunes, and his financial condition is different than when you screened him as a tenant (you DID screen him, right?). Be "on his side" & offer to release him from the lease/rental agreement if he leaves within the next 30 days & be glad to have him on his way. Trust me -  releasing him from a lease that he's going to break anyhow, and not insisting on a 30-day notice that he can't/won't honor anyway is much better than dealing with an eviction. You just want your house back. Figure out what you didn't catch on this one, don't make the same mistake on the next one.

Re Cozy -- if he authorized the payment on the 4th, I wouldn't insist on a late fee just because Cozy drags their feet to pay you. You chose the slow carrier pigeon, not him. Most people (reasonably) expect that an electronic transfer is immediate. Move the deadline to day 3 if you want, but make sure you stay within state laws (ie in CA, if the 1st is a weekend or holiday the landlord must accept the payment on the next business day as "on time"--a business day is when BANKS are open, not when you are "open" to collect rent).  

Originally posted by @Bob Romano :

My tenants phone has been working fine until the first month he took residence. Since then he has been consistently late by a few weeks for the rent.  Now I call it and it goes right to vm. I went to the house to tell him this and he said" his phone is being fixed and he had to send it out for repair" . well 3 weeks later , it still does not work. Now who waits 3 weeks for their phone to be repaired? I keep trying to call his wife's phone, she never answers' either. I sent him an email yesterday stating I need a new contact number and have not heard back yet. What would you guys do?

 I'm still trying to figure out why you are harassing your tenant. Either he pays on time or he gets a notice. Seems he has you by the nose and is calling the shots.

@Bob Romano put a notice to quit on his front door. You need to be able to contact your tenant. And chronic late payment is grounds for eviction in most states.

serve him a notice to pay or quit then evict him legally thru your attorney or the court and then block his number and delay the communication while the eviction process plays out and gets rid of this nightmare tenant.  

Rent to a better tenant and move on with life. 

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