**Please see our newest blog about changes to this information during the Coronavirus Pandemic.
As professional property managers, we have some strategies for when tenants don’t pay rent. Sometimes, landlords want to jump straight to eviction. But, you really want to avoid eviction if you can. It’s costly and time-consuming.
Today, we’re talking about how we handle tenants who aren’t paying on time.
Property Management and Eviction
Eviction is always available to us, but we like to take steps to avoid that. Everyone has different circumstances that come up in their lives, and I think you do need to take that into consideration. You also want to stay compliant with fair housing laws.
A professional property management company understands the importance of treating all tenants equally. We work hard to communicate and maintain a positive relationship with all our tenants so that if rent doesn’t come in, we can call them and see what’s going on. It could have been an accounting error or something with the mail, but whatever the situation is, always give them an option to respond and at least rectify the situation.
Make sure all late fees are paid along with the rent if it is indeed late. If the tenants aren’t going to have rent for another two weeks, we always call the owner to figure out how that is going to affect their own finances. If you’re relying on that rent payment to make your mortgage payment, you may have a strong opinion on what we do next.
Three Day Notice and Payment Plans
There’s always an option to immediately serve the Three Day Notice to Pay or Quit and move forward with an eviction. However, sometimes it’s better to talk to the tenants and come up with a plan. It provides accountability to the tenants while avoiding eviction. Keeping a good tenant in place for the long term is always the best option for your investment. Some of our tenants have been with us for 10 years, and we don’t want to lose them over one month of late rent. When you evict, you have to pay eviction costs and worry about a vacant property. Tenants who run into temporary financial trouble appreciate when we’re willing to work with them to avoid the eviction process.
Another thing is if it is just a tenant that is delinquent on a regular basis and they are not ever going to be able to catch up, you may need to give them a change of terms. Give them a longer notice so they have time to prepare if they cannot rectify it instead of jumping right to the attorney. Unfortunately, this is also contributing to the housing crisis. But we do want to make sure our owners are getting paid and that tenants are held accountable to their lease terms.
Fair Housing Act
Always be fair and work with your resident. Try to understand their situation and where they are coming from before jumping right into the eviction process. We think you should always treat your tenant the way you would want to be treated.
The most thing that we stress is that the Fair Housing Act is important and cannot be violated. We can’t offer a payment plan to one tenant but not another. It’s the same with late fees; you cannot waive them for one tenant but enforce them for another. It sets up a presumption of discrimination.
Fairness is appreciated by everyone. So, set your standards and stick to them. Then, there are no questions asked. You have a happy owner and a happy tenant.
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