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

Late Rent Notice Paper with a PenIn your role as a property owner or landlord, there are lots of things you can do to push for on-time rent payments. Although, some tenants 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 Wilmington property manager is to encourage your tenant to pay their rent on time. Regular communication and convenient online rental payment options are the best way to do this. Be in contact with your tenant – even when things are going smoothly- as it encourages better and constant communication when things get hard. Also, making paying rent easy and convenient may help push 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, be sure to double-check your lease documents to check whether your tenant is still in the stated grace period for on-time payments. Sometimes a late payment isn’t late. It is essential to have your facts in line 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 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

If you’ve established positive, communication with your tenant, it’s essential to continue that when handling late or missing rent payments. Just by simply giving a friendly phone call to your tenant, you can understand the situation a lot more and figure out why the payment is late. Though your tenant may not want to talk about the details of the situation, especially when they are facing sudden financial hardship, even a short conversation would 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 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. But be sure to follow state and local laws that dictate 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. This is called the eviction process, which requires 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 could take months and can be costly for all of those 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

Lastly, it is important to keep some things in mind while you work with your tenant. First, do not accept partial rent payments Take any amount of money and you will just restart the eviction process from the very beginning. And make sure to document everything, even 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 Champion to do it for them. Contact us online to learn more about our quality services.

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