We have had many property owners come to us for help when their tenants fall several months behind on rent. If your tenant is behind or not paying on time or is really far behind, we can take action on your behalf. There are a few things you should do right away, so you don’t find yourself losing many months of rental income.
Talk to Tenants
Let the tenants know they are behind. You expect they should know that, but they need to understand the consequences as well. If they aren’t paying you, then you cannot pay your mortgage. So either you will have to kick them out of the property, or the bank will kick them out when they come to foreclose. We recommend you let the tenants know they are late, and put together a form that tells them how far behind they are, and try to get a plan in place to get them caught up. If they cannot get caught up in a timely manner, give them a notice to vacate and the eviction process begins.
Applying Rent Payments
Fortunately, we have never had to go through the full eviction process with a tenant. Usually, people know they’re behind and if they had a rough patch they’ll get caught up. Otherwise, they will self-evict and they’ll leave. That’s typically the more common scenario. Whenever we do collect the rent when tenants are behind, we don’t apply that rent to the current month. We apply it to the month that’s furthest out. There’s a reason for that when you get to eviction court. It’s important to apply the late fee first, the older rent second and eventually, you can apply any collected funds to the current month’s rent.
If you do get as far as eviction court, you can’t evict someone if they only owe late fees. If the tenant is current on the rent, you cannot evict. That’s only an option if they are late.
Many property owners find themselves in a tight spot when their tenants are behind. Maybe it’s a friend or a co-worker or a family member. When you have a relationship, it’s difficult. If you don’t know what to do, call us and we can get in the middle of the situation and take care of things. We don’t mind being the bad guy.