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What Should I Do When My Tenant’s Rent is Late?

Late Rent Notice Paper with a PenThere are many things you can do to encourage on-time rent payments as a property owner or landlord. But some tenants will still make late payments or miss rent payments completely. In these circumstances, it is crucial to know the best way to handle them. For multiple landlords, establishing a step-by-step procedure is a way to make certain that their response is both well-timed and consistent.

Encourage Paying On Time

One of the first and most crucial things you can do as a South Burlington property manager is to encourage your tenant to pay their rent on time. Some ways to do this are by regular communication and convenient online rental payment options. Staying in contact with your tenant – even if things are going fine – encourages better and constant communication when things get tricky. What’s more, you can help motivate your tenant to keep their payments on time by making rent payments easy and convenient.

Check Payment Records

If your tenant’s rent payment is still behind schedule, the next thing to do is to double-check your records and confirm that it’s late and not just a recording error. Also, double-checking your lease documents can help determine whether your tenant is still in the agreed grace period for on-time payments. Sometimes a late payment isn’t late. It is crucial to have your facts straight before you move on to the next step.

Send a Late Notice

When the grace period has passed and you still haven’t received the rent payment, you need to send a reminder to your tenant about the late rent. This can be an official or friendly reminder, but be sure to place it in writing and document your delivery method.

Call Your Tenant

If you have established regular, positive communication with your tenant, it is necessary to continue that behavior when dealing with a late or missing rent payment. By simply giving your tenant a friendly phone call, you can understand the situation more and find out why the payment is late. Although your tenant may not want to talk about the details of the circumstances, especially if they’re facing sudden financial hardship, even a quick conversation could accomplish a lot. On the other hand, be careful not to call your tenant repeatedly or demand payment. This is considered harassment, which is illegal.

Send a Pay or Quit Notice

If you’ve tried many reminders and the rent payment has exceeded your lease’s grace period and other late payment terms, it might be time to send your tenant a pay or quit notice. This notice is an official document that expresses your purpose to pursue action against the tenant. This notice must include the amount of money the tenant has to pay, the deadline to pay in full, and your intent to evict if these conditions are not met. Be sure to stick to state and local laws that govern when such notices can and how they must be delivered to the tenant.

Start the Eviction Process

It may be time to pursue legal action against the tenant if there are no other options left. The eviction process typically needs a court ruling in most places. In most areas, it’s illegal to forcibly remove a tenant or even change the locks until the court proceedings are over. Those proceedings can take months and can be costly for all who are involved. It is important to follow the law and the evictions process to avoid delays or having the judge rule in the tenant’s favor.

Keep it Professional

Lastly, it is important to keep some things in mind while you work with your tenant. First, don’t accept partial rent payments If you take any amount of cash, it will just restart the eviction process. Moreover, be certain to document everything, including phone calls. Last, it is important to continue your professionalism and stick to the terms of your lease. You might not want to, but enforcing your lease is an important part of operating your rental property as a business.


Dealing with late or missing rent payments can be a time-consuming headache. That is why many rental properties owners hire property managers like Real Property Management Sterling to do it for them. Contact us online to learn more about our quality services.

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