Tenant is 4 months behind on rent

2 Replies

My property manager called me today to say they’re not sure my tenant who is 4mo behind on rent is going to catch up.

They suggested I could send to their collection agency, or once the tenant leaves, file in court for a judgement against them.

Do I have other options? Any ideas for this situation?

Have they already agreed to leave?  I'll be honest, it seems like it might be easiest just to cut your losses at this point.  I highly doubt that the court would be able to do anything to actually get you any money, unless you happen to think there's a reason they have some and aren't paying you.

I'd say the best thing to do is turn the unit over as quickly as possible, and the first step of that would be to get your current tenant out.

It took 4 months to come to this conclusion?  I have a few recommendations:

1.  Schedule a "regular and routine" property inspection.  Make sure the property is being respectfully lived in and by the legal tenants.  If not, evict them.  The moratorium is for delinquent rent only; they have no right to "use and abuse" your property while not paying in the first place.

2.  If your state law permits it, offset their security deposit for unpaid rent.  A dollar today is worth more than a dollar tomorrow so pay yourself first.  Document the offset.

3.  File a Small Claims suit for the amount owed and secure a judgement.  That way, they won't be driving a new car or getting a new home - while owing you money.  These are hard times and you've been more than patient.  The bottom line is - they don't get to live anywhere for free.  It's call theft of services.  The moratorium will more than likely be extended but by filing the suit (which is cheap and easy to do), it will put them on notice that the meter is running and they owe you.

4.  And, remind your PM that you're running a business - and that each tenant who is behind on rent due to the pandemic needs to have that agreement executed so that repayment is expected.

Hope this helps.