How long to wait until you file for eviction??

51 Replies

In my experience - I have tried to be nice and I've heard all the excuses and when it comes down to it - I wish I had started the eviction process sooner. The problem with allowing this behavior is that you are training them on how to treat you and they may be likely to pull the same thing in the future cause as they may think that you are a pushover-   Now they may be long term tenants with a good history of payments and this may be a special situation that they need to get over and obviously that merits a case by case review - but generally speaking   you should start the eviction process as soon as  your state allows - it is always possible to cancel it if they pay and you choose to accept it - but at least you will let them know that non-payment is not an option that you will put up with. The longer this drags out - the more you'll wish you had started sooner. 

@Caleb Heimsoth Thanks for your comments.  Where you mention 5 day notice, are your referring to North Carolina which requires a 10 day notice for intent to evict? Thanks, Terrell

@Chris Wange; Thank you for that Cozy reference and especially the part about their limit. Also while I was waiting for a response I was listen to a BP podcast I think it was #48 and they mentioned about using "PayNearMe", haven't looked into how well it's still going but it sounds like a good idea. 

I don't understand why landlords think they need to text, email, call, visit or remind their tenants when the rent is past due.  They know the rent's past due.  Issue a pay or quit and they will get the idea.  You don't have to be a jerk, just be professional and never apologize for requiring them to pay on time.

File yesterday....it’s so not worth it to wait. Great advice in this post...good luck!

Lots of good advice on this post! I use buildium for my property management software. I have it automatically set up where rent is due on the first, late by 12:01 on the 2nd. An automatic late fee of $50 is applied to their accounts and an email (and/or text depending on their settings) is sent out notifying them that their account is past due and additional fees and/or eviction may occur if not paid in full. That's a good way to start out on the "serious landlord" business. From there, I agree with earlier posts that you want to send your pay or quit letter as soon as possible. Depending on your state laws, it may take a while from the time the letter is sent before you can actually start your eviction process. 

Originally posted by @Ray Harrell :

@Thomas S. , what's with the insults about "hobby landlords"? Everyone had to start somewhere, and everyone had to learn. Stop it! Maybe someone only wants one or two properties and not thousands.

Funny thing is I consider myself a hobby landlord, yet even I tossed up a 5 Day Pay or Quit the day my tenant was late the first time. Was happy to do so. She paid up in FULL w/ late fee + the $75 fee for the 5 Day Pay or Quit notice.

It's not about being a hobby landlord or not, it's about having cajones mejores. A lot of people don't realize this is a service based industry, but one where some relative confrontation is part of the routine business.

Lots of great advice on this post. 

It is a tenant's responsibility to pay rent on the day it's due (this should be clearly stated in your lease agreement). I agree with other posts above - it's best to have a repeatable, consistent process in place for your tenants and set expectations regarding late rent payments at the time your tenants move in.

We use Propertyware software to send rent due reminders automatically two days before rent is due, a late reminder the day rent is due (and not received) and serve pay or quit notices the day after rent is due. 

So with us... 

Late fee on day 5. 

They have till the 8th to pay. 

If we don't have it by the 8th and they haven't communicated ( we will work with an otherwise solid resident once every 12 months) then we post the 10 day notice of eviction. 

At this point we send them to our attorney and she takes over. 

https://www.courts.state.md.us/sites/default/files/import/district/forms/civil/dccv082br.pdf

I’d start here and research more about the paperwork you need. BY THE WAY YOU NEED TO SERVE THE NOTICES WITH A 3RD PARTY SERVER!!!! Do not not not not forget that. Everything you do now is evidence for court. That means you the “opposing party” can’t serve your tenant.

I’m not a lawyer but I just evicted my tenant and learned the hard way to serve with a 3rd party. Food for thought.

Don't try to be a "nice" landlord - you will get taken advantage of. Hold them to the contract they signed (lease). Begin the eviction process as soon as you are legally allowed to. Make no exceptions. You have to train your tenants and set a precedent from the outset.

If you are a nice person who doesn't like confrontation, then you can hide behind the lease and your attorney. There are a few BP podcasts that discuss this.

I'm a bit fired up on this topic because I'm going through an eviction right now on a tenant that I had been way too nice and lenient towards, and he lied to my face and in writing multiple times, disrespected me, damaged my property, and as of this morning owes me a couple thousand dollars and is squatting in my unit. So, my attorney is processing the eviction and I'm going to sue him for everything I'm legally allowed to (damages, late rent, attorney fees, etc). 

I'm not saying you have to be a jerk, but, you really have to keep in mind you are running a business and treat it as such.

We put a 5 day grace period in our lease after the 1st of the month.  Even if they have communicated with us, the excuse is valid, and we agree on a payment plan, we will still post the property with a 10 day pay or quit notice.  Often times people will have the best intentions of catching up on rent, but can't for whatever reason.  If we do not post the property, we lose that time.  

Every time that I tried to be the nice guy and work with a tenant, I found myself wishing that I started the eviction process earlier.  

@Nick Rutkowski provided a great link to start your eviction research for Maryland. As others have mentioned, eviction rules and laws vary by state and locality. The only thing I can add is here is that you can often get a lot of guidance from your local clerk of court. The clerk basically sits in an office in the General District Courthouse (usually "District" for LL/Tenant) and accepts filings and fees. But if you have a reasonably friendly, helpful clerk, that person can point out the correct forms you should fill out and make sure you've calculated the correct fees for filing, service of process, etc... A self help eviction is very possible with some patience, good luck!

Every city/town is different but ours requires a 10 day pay or quit notice before filing.  

I give tenants the 5 day grace period before late fees start getting charged. Then if it’s still not paid on 10th they get the 3- day notice. Based on the way your tenant is responding to you, it’s time to begin the eviction process.

"what's with the insults about "hobby landlords"

It is not a insult it is an attempt to differentiate between "professional" and a mom and pop operation that is not managed as a business. The owner generally has not studied their state landlord tenant regulations and has zero experience in dealing with "tenants". They tend to deal on a personal as opposed to professional level. In fact it is not a business approach at all it is a personal approach to rental operations.

Give me another label to differentiate that you do not take personally and we can try it out. As for me my family has been in the rental business since before the second world war and have advanced far beyond hobby level regardless of the size of our operations. Size is not a factor it is the approach to the business that differentiates Professional from Hobby.

For any one that does not like the reference to Hobby all you need to do is adopt a professional approach to the business and in dealing with tenants on a non personal level. Any landlord that comes on here asking about how to deal with non payment of rent is in the class of a Hobby landlord, mom and pop or what ever title you choose to use.

If professional was their approach they would place money at a far higher level of importance and not need advice on how to deal with non payment of rent.


@Thomas S.

"Give me another label to differentiate that you do not take personally and we can try it out."

We don't have to try anything out. There are landlords, people who rent properties that they own...PERIOD! And there are investors who purchase multiple properties and do this as a business.

Also, I would not consider you a professional. I would consider you a spoiled, pompous, privileged brat whose family handed him an established business, and who now thinks he is the king of the world! A true professional would offer advice without insulting people, and share their own experiences as examples.

I have more respect for the "Hobby Landlords" because they are starting from scratch and learning along the way. You simply walked in and started running the cash register.

Reading a bunch of these articles and comments we forget these tenants are also our customers if they are not paying and it's the first month that they've done this often times some Grace is allowed especially if they are communicating the situationbut if they're doing this frequently and not communicating and likely short paying every month then quickly move to have them effected each state or province has their own system best to research that or hire a paralegal

Originally posted by @Ray Harrell :

@Thomas S.

"Give me another label to differentiate that you do not take personally and we can try it out."

We don't have to try anything out. There are landlords, people who rent properties that they own...PERIOD! And there are investors who purchase multiple properties and do this as a business.

Also, I would not consider you a professional. I would consider you a spoiled, pompous, privileged brat whose family handed him an established business, and who now thinks he is the king of the world! A true professional would offer advice without insulting people, and share their own experiences as examples.

I have more respect for the "Hobby Landlords" because they are starting from scratch and learning along the way. You simply walked in and started running the cash register.

I have multiple properties, run it like a business, but I still consider myself a hobby landlord.

Homes are like PokeBalls and good tenants are like rare Pokemon. Gotta catch ‘em all!

If the tenant has had good payment history and takes care of the property then I will sometimes accept payment towards the end of the month instead of the beginning vice having to go to court but it's not an ideal situation. If they try to stretch it out beyond that is when I go to court.

It’s frustrating when a tenant(s) does not pay on time and abide by the lease. My answer to you is to find out the cause of the delinquency: in this case, you stated the tenant will not answer phone calls, that to me is a show of bad faith. I’ve had tenants that were late for “life unavoidable circumstances” but were courteous enough to call and let me know the situation and that they would be paying the late fees and rent on such and such a date. The ones that ignore your calls, go ahead and file eviction papers per your state law as soon as possible. They are up to no good. 

I charge a eviction notice Fee equal to the court filling cost in my state pluse the cost of issueing the notice..

If they pay up before we go to court.  I recoup my filling expance.

3 day notice by the 5th, send to attorney by the 10th.  You give them your hand, they take your arm.  You give them your Arm, they devour your entire body.  They are the WALKiNG DEAD!!!

Swanny

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