How to Handle Problem Tenants : The Late-Payer

The Late Payer

 

There are many instances of encounters with a horrible tenant, not all of which result in a court action. Once the lease agreement is signed and keys are exchanged, a landlord or property manager can only hope things go smoothly. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case when it comes to dealing with unpleasant situations regarding tenants. Here are some issues with tenants some of our clients have experienced, and which you may want to try and avoid.

The Late-Payer

This is a slightly better version of the Non-Paying Tenant. The Late-Payer might not pay their rent on time, but at the end of the day, they deliver what’s most important, and that is their rent.  Rent is typically due and payable on the 1st of the month.  Many lease agreements will have a grace period before a late fee kicks in.   As a legal contract, the tenant is legally bound to abide by these guidelines. The lack of punctuality makes it difficult for the landlord to balance budgets and manage cash flow.

Prospective Tenant Checklist

HOW TO HANDLE THE PROBLEM

Immediately Post Legal Notice to Pay Rent or Quit!

As with a non-paying tenant, the first step should be the same.  Don’t wait for the payment, immediately being the process to start an unlawful detainer action.  Typically this begins with a written notice that either must be delivered or posted and mailed to the tenant.  By doing so, the tenant will realize that you are serious, and not going to waste time by listening to unwarranted excuses.  Although a lease may have a grace period before the late fee kicks in, you can still give notice the day after rent is due, for a habitual late payer.

Have a conversation with them

Again, communication is key, and you may want to have this in writing. Start by indicating how it is important for a tenant to abide by the lease agreement and that if they don’t, serious consequences could follow, such as being evicted. Be sure to request a face to face meeting with the tenant as well to ensure communication between both parties is clearly conveyed. Be sure to review the lease agreement with them again. Depending on if this was a one-time occurrence or an ongoing issue, you may want to give your tenant another chance to pay on time. But do not waive the late fees, if the tenant believes that there aren’t any consequences, then they are that much more likely to continue their behavior.

Don’t accept partial payments

By accepting partial payment, it may invalidate your Notice to Perform or Quit.  Therefore, after the expiration of the notice to perform or quit, do not accept any partial payments.  Also, depending on your jurisdiction/state, you may not be able to include late fees in your Notice to Perform or Quit.

Ultimately, as a landlord or property manager, you won’t always know what type of tenants you will be dealing with until you’re in the leasing process. However, comprehensive tenant screening should give you an idea. Past behavior is a likely dictator of future behavior. Remember to always clearly state the expectations and outline the consequences of breaking the rules in the lease agreement. As it is a legally binding document, it can guide and protect most any situation you encounter.

One of the easiest ways to address tenant problems is to avoid them altogether. To ensure you get the information you need we’ve created a download that shows you the 9 Most Effective Methods To Reduce Tenant Problems. Get your download today!

You may have encountered some other problem tenants as well, see what else you can do to address those issues:

The Non-Payer

The Rule-Breaker

The Property Destroyer/Litterer

The Proxy Renter

The Criminal

The Partier

The Stalker (aka The Pervert)

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