As a rental property owner, you’re likely at some point to run into a situation in which you need to send out a late rent notice to one of your tenants. It’s not a pleasant task, but the fact of the matter is that it must be done.
Enforcing and encouraging on-time rental payments protects you as a landlord and helps renters remain current. Read on to learn the best way to handle sending out late rent notices.
The Purposes of Late Rent Notices
When rent payments are late, regardless of the reason, it’s important that you protect your rights as a rental property owner by sending a late rent notice to your tenant. These notices serve three purposes:
Provide Simple Notification
Sending a late rent notice notifies the tenant that their payment is past due so that they can take the time and steps required to address the issue. Sometimes, people simply forget about their rental obligations.
Ensure Legal Documentation
To protect your rights, you need to legally document the fact that a rental payment is late. It may have simply slipped the tenant’s mind, and it may never happen again, but you must help prevent consistently late payments.
If they do pay late month after month, late rent notices can be used as evidence to justify a lease termination (if your state laws allow such an action).
Ease Eviction Proceedings
The third purpose these notices serve is to become the first step in the eviction process if the situation escalates. It’s a fact of life that sometimes, landlords just end up with tenants who cannot or will not pay, regardless of how thorough your tenant screening process may be.
Be Proactive with Late Rent Prevention
In a perfect world, renters would always pay rent on time or at least before the end of the grace period. The standard grace period is between two and five days. It is on the first day following the grace period that rent is technically considered late, and this is when a late rent notice should be sent.
Don’t hesitate to send the letter right on that day. The longer you wait, the longer your tenant may assume that it’s okay not to pay. Some landlords wait an extra day or two before sending a late notice; however, you don’t want tenants to become accustomed to an extensive grace period.
You need these payments and have the right to know when to expect them, and you don’t want tenants to fall into a bad payment behavior pattern. Late rent payments can cause your own bills to be paid late, which is a situation you, of course, want to avoid.
How to Serve Late Rent Notices
For your legal protection, it’s important that your late rent notice contains the right information. When it’s time to write the late rent notice, you must make sure that it contains the following:
- The name of the tenant
- Your name
- The property address
- The date of the late rent notice
- The late fee amount
- The total amount of rent due to bring the account current
- The due date before eviction begins
- The form of payment required (to avoid NSF checks)
- The consequences of continued lateness
- Your signature
Always keep a copy of the notice that you send in the tenant’s file. You need to also include proof that the notice was actually delivered to the tenant. This proof will be important if you need to evict the tenant later.
How PayRent can Help
If you choose to collect rent online with PayRent, you can send a late notice with just a few clicks. From the dashboard, you can see whether your renters are current or past due at a glance. Clicking ‘Send past due notice’ will then send them an email reminding them that they currently have a balance that they need to pay. Additionally, you can add automatic late fees in case the rent isn’t submitted on time.
More Tips for Getting a Tenant to Pay Rent on Time
There are several things you can do to help minimize the chances of renters failing to pay rent on time.
Make sure to set a fair market rent for your property that is similar to other properties in the area. Take the time and effort to thoroughly screen all tenants by pulling rental histories, conducting background checks, and running credit reports.
Use an online rent payment app to make it easy and convenient for your renters to pay their rent on time.
In addition, it’s a good idea to use an online rent payment app that lets you send a past-due notice with the click of a button. With the right app, you can also enforce late fees by blocking partial payments from a renter, issuing a pay or quit notice, and downloading ready-to-send past-due notices.