3 Tips For Dealing With A Tenant That Is Behind On The Rent

Owning and renting out property can be a great way to produce some ongoing income, but a tenant that is delinquent with his or her payment can really throw a wrench into your plans. If you are a landlord who is struggling with getting paid on time, take a deep breath and relax. In most cases, the law will be on your side, but it's important that you don't make any mistakes that could hurt you if you do end up going to court to get your money. Here are 3 tips for how to handle a tenant who is always behind on the rent.

Remain Consistent

To make things easy, make sure you are requiring rent from every tenant in your building on the same day and that you are treating all tenants equally. If word gets out that you gave special treatment to someone, another tenant could try to take advantage of this fact. If you end up going to court to resolve the dispute, you will be in a good position if you can demonstrate that the due date and late fees were always clearly communicated to the tenant. Don't start increasing the late fee, as there is likely a legal maximum for how much you can charge depending on the city or state that the tenant lives in and demanding even more money that the tenant might not have is not going to improve the situation.

Remain Professional

Not getting paid on time is obviously frustrating. But it's important not to verbally attack your tenant as this could come back to haunt you in court. When interacting with a tenant who is behind on the rent, always remain professional. Never threaten to cut off utilities or make other dramatic or threatening statements.

Consider Legal Help

If you've done your best to get your tenant to pay and the situation doesn't look like it's going to improve anytime soon, it might be time to consider talking to an attorney. Real estate attorneys will know the local legal requirements for starting an eviction in your area. Your attorney may tell you that you can post an official late rent notice on the tenant's door or take other legal steps that might help resolve the case. Sometimes, even making clear that you've hired an attorney can let the tenant know that you're not going to be pushed around anymore and they need to get their payments in order.

If you have a tenant who is behind on rent, it is important from a legal standpoint to ensure that all of your interactions remain professional and threat-free. Stay consistent, and keep reminding the tenant of the due date and any applicable late fees each month. If the situation gets out of hand, you may be able to take the tenant to court. Contact a local real estate attorney today for assistance.