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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. But there are times a tenant will make a late payment or misses a rent payment entirely. It is important to know the best way to handle them in these situations. For a lot of landlords, having a step-by-step process helps ensures both a timely and consistent response.

Encourage Paying On Time

As a Dunwoody property manager, it is important 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. 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 late, then you should double-check your records and be sure that it’s late and not a recording error. In addition, determine whether your tenant is still inside the stated grace period for on-time payments by double-checking your lease documents. Sometimes a late payment isn’t late. It is important to have your facts in line before you advance to the next step.

Send a Late Notice

If the grace period has passed and the tenant hasn’t paid rent yet, it is important 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

When you’ve established regular, positive communication with your tenant, you need to continue that trend when handling late or missing rent payments. You can understand a lot about the situation and find out why the payment is late by simply giving your tenant a friendly phone call. 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. 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 sending reminders and the rent payment has exceeded your lease’s grace period and multiple late payment terms, it is 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. Make sure to stick to 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

It may be time to pursue legal action against the tenant if there are no other options left. This is called the eviction process, which requires a court ruling in most places. In multiple places, it is illegal to remove a tenant by force or even change the locks until the court proceedings are over. The proceedings could take months and can be costly for those 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

Last, it’s important to keep a few things in mind while you work with your tenant. First, avoid accepting 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. Lastly, you need to maintain your professionalism and keep to the terms of your lease. You might not like to, but enforcing your lease is an important part of handling 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 Greenway to do it for them. Contact us online to learn more about our quality services.

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