What to Do When a Tenant Stops Paying Rent
Landlords are business persons and have bills to pay too. This means tenants have the responsibility of paying rent on time so that the landlord can settle his/her bills. However, sometimes landlords have to deal with a rogue tenants who cannot pay rent on time and will always come up with excuses as to why they should be allowed to pay rent late. In some instances, a tenant may stop paying rent completely.
The following are the basic actions to take when a tenant stops paying rent.
1. Address the Issue with the Tenant
As a landlord, it is good to try to be understanding and polite with your tenants all the time. Having said that, the first and most polite thing to do when a tenant stops paying rent is to talk with him or her and see how you can solve the issue amicably. You need to ask the tenant why the rent is in arrears and see whether it is because of a genuine reason or mere ignorance. You can also take the opportunity to explain to the tenant that you rely on the money collected from tenants to pay your bills. The idea is to talk to your tenant and try to assist where you can if the tenant has reasonable excuses.
2. Give the Tenant a Notice to Pay or Vacate
In some incidences, a tenant may be problematic and it becomes difficult to talk to him/her and address the issue of unpaid rent. Similarly, the tenant could give you invalid excuses why rent is in arrears. The best thing to do in such situations is to issue the tenant with a notice to pay or vacate the property. The notice to pay or vacate will also help you in court if it becomes necessary to force the tenant to vacate the premises.
3. File For an Eviction Action
In a situation where the tenant has failed to pay rent after you have issued him/her with a notice to pay or vacate, the next step is to file an eviction action in court. Remember you cannot forcefully evict a tenant from your property by force or even turn off some essential utilities such as water and electricity. The right procedure is to file an eviction action in court so that you can legally evict the tenant from the premises.
4. Convince the Tenant to Vacate Through Cash for Keys Offer
This approach may sound weird because it is the tenant who should be paying. However, sometimes you can save yourself the stress of dealing with rogue tenants and court cases by offering them a small amount of money as a tip to encourage them to vacate the premises. It is also worth noting that eviction processes are expensive and can take up to several months. It could be wise to part with some cash and find another reliable tenant so that you can recover your money.
5. Hire a Lawyer or a Professional Rental Manager to Help You
Dealing with rogue tenants who have refused to pay rent can be very stressing to landlords with little understanding of tenancy matters. If you are among landlords who do not like running after tenants to ask them to pay rent, the best thing is to hire a lawyer or a professional property manager to help you. This is a wise decision if you are not conversant with tenancy issues in your area and you do not want to risk getting into serious problems with law enforcers.