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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. Most landlords establish a step-by-step process that the tenant can follow to ensure that their response is both timely and consistent.

Encourage Paying On Time

One of the important things you can do as a Spring Branch property manager is to encourage your tenant to pay their rent on schedule. Great 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

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 a friendly reminder, just make sure to put it in writing and document your delivery method.

Call Your Tenant

If you have established regular, positive communication with the tenant, it is essential to continue that trend when managing a late or missing rent payment. 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. On the other hand, make sure 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 exceeded your lease’s grace period and multiple late payment terms, it may be time to send your tenant a pay or quit notice. This kind of notice is an official document that expresses your desire to pursue action against 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. 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

If everything else fails, it might be time to pursue legal action against your tenant. The eviction process usually requires a court ruling in most states. 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. But to avoid delays or having the judge rule in your tenant’s favor, it is essential to follow the law and the evictions process to the letter.

Keep it Professional

Finally, as you work with your tenant, you need to keep a few 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. At last, it is most crucial to maintain your professionalism and adhere 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 West to do it for them. Contact us online to learn more about our quality services.

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