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

Late Rent Notice Paper with a PenThere are multiple things you can do to motivate your tenant to pay rent payments on time as a property owner or landlord. But there will be times a tenant will still make late payments or miss rent payments altogether. It is essential to know the best way to manage 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

One of the important things you can do as a Spokane property manager is to encourage your tenant to pay their rent on schedule. Regular communication and convenient online rental payment options are the best way to do this. Being in touch with your tenant – even if things are going fine – encourages better and more frequent communication when things get rough. Also, making paying rent easy and convenient may help push your tenant to keep those payments well-timed.

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. 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 did not receive the rent payment yet, 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

When you’ve established regular, positive communication with your tenant, you need to continue that trend 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. On the other hand, make sure 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 intent to pursue action opposed to your tenant. This notice should have the amount of money the tenant owes, the deadline to pay in full, and your intent to evict if these conditions are not fulfilled. 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 the eviction process, which needs a court ruling in most areas. In multiple areas, it’s illegal to forcibly remove a tenant or 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

Finally, as you work with your tenant, you need to keep a few things in mind. First, do not accept partial rent payments Taking any amount of cash will just restart the eviction process from the beginning. And make sure to document everything, even the phone calls. Finally, it’s necessary to continue 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 Spokane County to do it for them. Contact us online to learn more about our quality services.

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