My Tenant’s Rent Is Late…Again

I took a deep cleansing breath before beginning this post, however, I can not guarantee that I will make it to the end of this post without bursting into virtual hair pulling.  Early last month I told you about my tenant that has been consistently late in paying her rent.  I hadn’t charged her the late fees outlined in our lease agreement and decided to begin charging her the late fees if she was late with November’s rent.  Lo and behold, it is now the 12th and I have yet to receive the balance of the rent that she is responsible for.

I’m not a stalkerish type of landlord.  I don’t call or write or bug her at all.  I let the grace period of 5 days go by.  You know how Jesus rose from the dead on the 3rd day?  Well, she came out of hiding on the 6th day, which happened to be last Saturday.  She must have called me 10 times that day saying that she was going to pay the rent by depositing directly into my bank account.  I never answered her phone calls and allowed them to go to voicemail.  I did call her back on Wednesday to tell her that i had not received the rent and to ask if she needed any additional information.  She didn’t answer my voicemail or return my call.

It’s now the 12th of the month and I will be sending out a notice of non-payment and demand for rent which will include the late payment fee of $50.  In the state where I own my rental property, there is no limit to the amount that I am allowed to charge, but I am pretty reasonable.  My buddy that owns 3 rental properties near me has the same issue, but he like to begin calling his tenants from the 3rd day of the month until they pay.  That’s not my style.

If you are thinking of owning rental properties, I have some tips for you to follow when dealing with suck ass tenants:

  1. For every decent, rent paying tenant that you have, you will get stuck with 2 bad ones.  It’s nothing that you have done.  Shit happens, so be prepared for the worst including a tenant who smokes, has 2 cats, a devil worshiping son, and bad hygiene habits. Or is that just mine?
  2. Make sure that you’re smarter than your tenant.  By that I mean being organized enough to have your paperwork in order so that when you have to slap your tenant with some legal paperwork, you’re in the right.
  3. You may have to be hardass.  I didn’t want to be, but if your tenant thinks that you’re a pushover, that chainsmoking woman will never pay her rent on time.  A decent landlord can let some things slide but a smart landlord knows when to stick it to her…Uh, I mean your tenant.
  4. As a landlord, you have the right to send your tenant a notice in the mail, hand deliver a notice or leave a notice on the door saying that the tenant has not paid the rent and that they have three days to pay it.  After the three days are up, you do not have to accept the rent from the tenant, even if the tenant offers the full amount.  You can then start eviction proceedings.
  5. Bone up on the eviction process in your state.  The state where I own my house is pretty good on getting deadbeats out.  If needed, I can have her ass out of my house by the end of the month.  It pays to know the process.

I’m not above evicting someone for Christmas. For those of you who told me that I should cut her some slack, I’m sorry to say that I was right.

UPDATE: Here is a template version of the Notice to Vacate For Non-payment in Word format that I mailed off today.  I hope that you never have to use it, but just in case you do…

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24 thoughts on “My Tenant’s Rent Is Late…Again

  • It sounds like this is a recurring theme every month with this tenant. (I think it would be different if it was the first time ever, but I’m a tenant myself and had one particular incident many years ago that left a bad taste in my mouth.) If she is consistently late, and by late I mean after the 3rd day, or whatever your policy is, it’s time to start evicting. It is the 12th and that’s pretty darn late! Even though I’m a renter myself, it’s time for her to understand that she needs to pay her bills on time (or at least her rent!)

  • “You may have to be hardass.”

    I don’t consider it being a hardass to hold someone to accountable for something they agreed to.

    I wonder if your reluctance to charge her the late fees in the past is coming back to haunt you now?

    It may be unpleasant, but I think you’re better off coming down hard on the first occasion rather than letting it slide.

    A five day grace period is generous in itself.

    Good luck –

    • In the original post I stated that my reluctance to charge her the late fee was because 1) she has terminal cancer, and 2) she helped to get new appliances for the apartment, so I offset that by not charging her the late fees. I questioned then if I had done the right thing and you’re right because now it’s coming back to haunt me.

  • I think my advice when I read the original post was to start charging a late fee with the next month if she was late. Well, I am sorry that she was late again.

    This situation is one of the reasons I am hesitant to get a rental property. The prospect of someone smoking and being late with the rent makes me cringe.

    Are you glad you are landlord still, or do you wish you invested the money otherwise? I am just curious if you feel it worth the stress.

    • I’m still happy to be a landlord. I purchased the home with this tenant in it, and I am hoping that once I have her out, things will be easier. She is not someone that I would have originally rented an apartment to for obvious reasons, but the previous owner was not as picky as I am. So, the price was right for this property and I don’t regret it. I just need to get rid of HER.

  • What a nightmare! I am sorry you have to go through this headache. Some time ago we were comtemplating to rent out our condo and buy a house, but decided against it. We heard too many horror stories about renters. Keep us updated!

    • Don’t let me discourage you from renting. I purchased the home with this renter in it, but had I screened her myself, she would NEVER been chosen as a tenant. The previous owner’s standards were – shall I say – below average.

  • I have a tenant who pays her rent a month and a half late for the past 3 months. she has 2 or 3 jobs so money should not be a problem. some people just don’t care about others. Evict her ass yesterday. Sorry i have no sympathy or compassion.

    • I hope you’ve started proceedings on your tenant as well. I can be sympathetic because I know that times re rough for lots of people, but like Judge Judy says, don’t pee on my leg and tell me it’s raining.

  • Oh, that is tough. When I rented, I would have been charged a $50 late fee PER DAY after the 3rd of the month (although I always paid early), so I think you are being way more than reasonable. Good luck getting paid and I hope you get a great renter you truly deserve next time around. It sucks that she has cancer, but it also sucks that she’s mooching off of you. 🙁

  • Oh, that is tough. When I rented, I would have been charged a $50 late fee PER DAY after the 3rd of the month (although I always paid early), so I think you are being way more than reasonable. Good luck getting paid and I hope you get a great renter you truly deserve next time around. It sucks that she has cancer, but it also sucks that she’s mooching off of you. 🙁

  • My landlord just finished the eviction process with one of our neighbors (wouldn’t have known anything was up, except that the neighbors told all of the gory details to my husband). He even had to take them to court, and the (5 months w/out paying rent) were allowed to stay until this past Friday. They stayed until the electricity was cut off.

    Sometime, you can’t be the nice guy.

    • 5 months with no rent?!!! I don’t know if renters realize that many homeowners are on the brink themselves and 5 months with no payments from the renters might mean that the homeowner might be falling behind on their mortgage payments on the home. Thankfully I have no mortgage on the home and the laws in the state where I own the home are very homeowner friendly.

  • My landlord just finished the eviction process with one of our neighbors (wouldn’t have known anything was up, except that the neighbors told all of the gory details to my husband). He even had to take them to court, and the (5 months w/out paying rent) were allowed to stay until this past Friday. They stayed until the electricity was cut off.

    Sometime, you can’t be the nice guy.

  • Not totally surprised. Awesome outline of what potential landlords need to brush up on. Way to share with us and I’m sure it is helping you deal with the devil herself. 🙂

  • Not totally surprised. Awesome outline of what potential landlords need to brush up on. Way to share with us and I’m sure it is helping you deal with the devil herself. 🙂

  • I had way too many of my tenants paying their rent late. I really like this site because now my tenants can make rent payments online with a credit card or check, and they don’t have to worry about late fees any more.

    https://www.autopayrent.com

  • I had way too many of my tenants paying their rent late. I really like this site because now my tenants can make rent payments online with a credit card or check, and they don’t have to worry about late fees any more.

    https://www.autopayrent.com

  • I rent rooms and encounter this. I usually evict on the first day, the law gives them 10 days to sort it out and pay once you give notice.

    I made the dumb mistake of renting to a friend. Back where I started. Argh

  • I can appreciate your hard stance on rent collection when it comes late paying tenants. Unfortunately, this is what it comes down to for many landlords, whether you like it or not. I like to recommend that property owners set clear expectations from the start, act quickly anytime a tenant pays late, and enlist the help of a property manager to collect rent from their tenants in order to avoid any necessary trouble. I also agree with your advice that sometimes giving the proper notice to your tenant is in order. This way should you need to start the eviction process, you are legally allowed to. Thanks again for sharing!

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