There is light at the end of every solved problem. Who has not had a tenant pay late? How you handle the situation determines if you make money on a property. I welcome creative solutions and education. I have tried many different ways to help people pay ontime. I have even tried offering an insentive to pay on time or rent deduction. Most of my leases have tenants paying on the 25th of the previous month so I get the rent before all the other bills come to the tenant.
Many of us who are landlords, realtors, property managers, and/or owners struggle with renters that pay late from time to time. Many people who are late once with the rent or payment are late again and a pattern is eventually set which often leads to them leaving either by court ordered eviction or running away in the middle of the night. Other issues include lots of discussion and a trip to the court to set a repayment plan which when paid late or not paid at all, leads to an eventual eviction anyway. People who are only late once or twice may get there issue fixed and pay on time for the rest of their tenancy.
We all want to be the good landlord and help others but, we need to get paid on time. Are there any good reasons for allowing and accepting late payments? Getting payment with a late fee is not a good way to make additional cash. If someone's Government check comes in on the second of each month and the landlord has the tenant set up to pay or be late on the first, the tenant will always be late. Change the payment date to the second or third so the tenant can be ontime or have them pay a month ahead. If a college student can't remember to write a check every month, have then do an automatic bank draft. Send out emails or call those who struggle legitimately with memory issues. There is not really a good reason for a late payment.
Everyone has bumps in the road of life but, a habitually late tenant means just that. The habit of being late, and telling constant excuses will probably continue and lead to more work and more flustration for both the tenant and the Landlord or management company. If the rentor, tenant, leasor, lease purchase buyer, or even owner financed buyer does not have the money ontime every month, they may need to move. They may not want to be late but just don't have the money and thus are digging themselves a hole they can not climb out. Late payments hurt the tenant's credit and chances to move or upgrade in the future. Late payment of rent may mean other things like the property is not being kept up or the gas is turned off in the winter or the grass isn't being cut to community guidelines in the summer. Usually nothing is improving if the rent is not getting paid on time.
It is hard both emotionally and going through the process of discussion with the tenant or the court process to deal with an eviction or payment plan. We all wish we could just email a tenant a notice, "please pay your rent on time" and the problem would go away but that isn't reality. The sooner the situation is taken care of the better for everyone.
Remember, as a landlord, you have a plan in writting. Everyone agreed to the plan before they moved into a property. The plan (rental agreement, lease, purchase agreement, land contract) states the payment rules and the consequences for not paying or paying late. Follow your stated rules on payment where the stress will be less for everyone and the payments come in and come in on time. If you do not follow the written plan, do not plan to be the landlord. Problem solved.