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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 there are times a tenant will make a late payment or misses a rent payment entirely. In these kinds of situations, it is best to know how to manage 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 Columbia property manager is to encourage your tenant to pay their rent on time. Some of the best ways to do this are through regular communication and convenient online rental payment options. If you keep in touch with your tenant- even when things are fine- you can have better and more frequent communication when things get rough. In addition, making paying rent easy and convenient can help encourage your tenant to keep those payments well-timed.

Check Payment Records

When a tenant’s rent payment is still overdue, the next thing to do is to double-check your information and make sure that it’s late and that you didn’t forget to log it properly. Also, make sure to double-check your lease documents to validate whether your tenant is still in the stated grace period for on-time payments. Sometimes a late payment isn’t late. It’s crucial to have your facts in order before advancing to the next step.

Send a Late Notice

If the grace period has passed and you still didn’t get your rent payment, it is important to send a reminder to your tenant about the late rent. This reminder can be official or as friendly as you’d like, but just make sure to put it in writing and document your delivery method.

Call Your Tenant

When you’ve established regular, positive communication with your tenant, you need to continue that trend when handling late or missing rent payments. Giving your tenant a friendly phone call would do a lot to help you understand the situation more and figure out why the payment is late. Even though your tenant might not want to discuss the details of the situation, especially when they’re facing sudden financial hardship, even a brief conversation might accomplish a lot. But 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 have tried reminders and the rent payment has overpassed your lease’s grace period and other late payment terms, it is time to send your tenant a pay or quit notice. This notice is an official document that expresses your intent to pursue action opposed to your tenant. Your notice must have the amount of cash the tenant owes, the deadline to pay in total, and your intent to evict if these conditions are not met. Make sure to follow state and local laws that govern when such notices can be sent and how they must be delivered to the tenant.

Start the Eviction Process

If there are no options left, it might be time to pursue legal action against your tenant. The eviction process usually requires a court ruling in most states. In multiple places, it is illegal to remove a tenant by force or even change the locks until the court proceedings are over. These proceedings can take months and can be very costly for everyone involved. It is necessary to follow the law and evictions process to avoid delays or having the judge rule in the tenant’s favor.

Keep it Professional

Finally, as you work with your tenant, you may need to keep some things in mind. First, avoid accepting partial rent payments Taking in any amount will restart the eviction process from the very start. Just be sure to document everything, including the phone calls. Lastly, you need to maintain your professionalism and keep to the terms of your lease. You may not want to, but enforcing your lease is a crucial part of managing 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 Prime to do it for them. Contact us online to learn more about our quality services.

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