What to do if your tenant is late with the rent payment

Real Estate Agent with RE/MAX DFW Associates/PLATINUM PROPERTIES & MANAGEMENT 0534986

What to do if your tenant is late with the rent payment

Being a landlord does have challenges and one problem that seems to crop up for every landlord in their career is tenants who are late with rent repeatedly. It's important that you don't let the tenant "slide" by without consequences, charge them the late fees written in the lease!  Always treat every tenant in the same manner when they're late with rent.

Courtesy Call

At noon on the 3rd give reminder calls, emails or text messages that rent is due by 5pm today.

Late Notice

The first step is letting them know immediately that the rent is late. Add in the late fees in a late notice. 

Attach the late notice to the homes door and have a witness. Don't accept rent without the late fees added. Tenants will think twice about paying rent late if they have to pay more.

Phone Call 

Follow up the late notice with a phone call if you haven't received some sort of response within a couple of days after the late fee notice. Some tenants prefer text message or email.

Eviction Notice

Every states laws are different on eviction notices. Be sure you know your states property code! Most tenants pay up when they are given a one day notice to vacate!  Follow the rules on these notices, because you want the judge to rule in your favor should the case go to court.   

Eviction Process

Eviction is the eventual outcome if your tenant is still delinquent with the rent then you have to move through the eviction process. No one likes this process, but if you are a landlord chances are you will run into this situation during your career.

Credit Bureau

Always report your delinquent tenants to the credit bureau. This helps prevent other landlords in their background checks from falling into this tenant's trap. Unfortunately there are some tenants who know how to work the system.

Posted by

Tracy Lee Parker

Broker Associate with

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Comments (7)

Diane Rice
Rice Prprty Mgmnt & Rlty, LLC, South Holland, IL - Lansing, IL

Hi Tracy.... we ATTEMPT to follow the same pattern you have here... WITHOUT the courtesy call.  The 5-day notice is pretty effective..... HOWEVER.... our owners can over-ride our decisions... for good and sometimes for BAD!!! 

We will feature this to get input from the others... thanks for posting it!

Nov 17, 2009 06:02 AM
Wallace S. Gibson, CPM
Gibson Management Group, Ltd. - Charlottesville, VA

Since late/notice fees are a PROFIT CENTER for me, I e-mail a reminder if it is the first time and serve a 5-day pay or quit on the 7th and then I file the UD/eviction on the 12th/13th.....I can sign and file and appear at the first return date (where trial date is set) so I usually get their attention as I send a copy of the warrant in debt for unlawful detainer ALONG with a copy of record from the court's PUBLIC website showing they are being sued!!!

All notices are sent ADDRESS SERVICES REQUESTED so if they have put in a forwarding with the USPS, it gets forwarded to me for $.50 

Nov 17, 2009 08:08 AM
Charles Stallions
Charles Stallions Real Estate Services - Pensacola, FL
850-476-4494 - Pensacola, Pace or Gulf Breeze, Fl.

Very important to treat everyone equally. Just wondering what kind of book keeping program you might recommend.

Nov 17, 2009 09:18 AM
Tracy Lee Parker

Maybe the ladies above could answer this for Charles...I have a few properties so we are using quick books right now.

Nov 18, 2009 01:45 AM
Wallace S. Gibson, CPM
Gibson Management Group, Ltd. - Charlottesville, VA

I use PROMAS and it is AWESOME!!!

Back to non-payment of rent...since the UD/eviction only covers the current mo rent, I file another suit in Small Claims scheduled for 2 months hence to account for the deposit and any accelerated rent.  This suit is served while they are STILL at the rental unit and they have not "disappeared".

Nov 18, 2009 03:36 AM
Karen Otto
Home Star Staging - Plano, TX
Plano Home Staging, Dallas Home Staging, www.homes

This is good to know even though I've never had to deal with this because I don't have rental properties - at least not yet =)

Nov 20, 2009 09:39 AM
deleted deleted
Culver City, CA

Great post, I along with others here have followed the same phases of collecting rent payments, but I have to say I have never sent a Courtesy call out before. That will be a great addition to the process. Thank you for the great post!

Dec 02, 2009 02:16 AM