Your Tenant’s Rent is Late, What Next?

“A good tenant is one who pays his rent as and when due”…..this is the general view of most landlords today. Many good tenants have suddenly turned bad because they failed to meet their rent renewal deadline, even though they exhibited some level of diligence in the past, their failure to continue in the same line will always tag them as bad tenants. All that the landlords want is to pay the agreed rent full stop!

So, your tenant’s rent is late, what next?

A good landlord is supposed to deduce real facts and position of things as regards their tenants, especially for tenants who didn’t fail in their obligations in the past. But what if the tenant’s rent is late and no signs of receiving a rent soon? A number of considerations to this…..

Let’s ride along to see what you can do in this type of situation.

What a Landlord Should Do When a Tenant’s Rent is Late 

The following steps are the best approach to recover your outstanding rent and still keep a cordial landlord and tenant relationship.

Communicate With the Tenant:

One of the things a landlord can do will be to reach out to the defaulting tenant and try to find out what the issues are, and inquire to ascertain whether the tenant is facing a challenge or is in a mess that’s stopping him from paying the rent. This doesn’t have to be a physical inquiry, it could be by text, through a phone call, letter or even mail. You’re Knowing what the problem will put you in a better position to face what’s to come afterwards.

Understand the Tenant’s Situation:

The landlord should give the tenant a listening ear, he has to understand the tenant’s problem to proffer recommendations. The show of concern will go a long way in subduing the fears of the tenants who are experiencing some financial setbacks and giving hope that things will get better. This does not in any way say that the rent will be waived. A good understanding of the problem could result in a mutual arrangement on how the outstanding rents will be offset without either the landlord or tenant suffering unduly.  

Review the Tenancy Agreement:

If the tenant is going through a serious challenge that needs time to come off, and considering that the tenant in question hardly owed rent in the past, it’s a good time for the landlord to lend a helping hand by reviewing the tenancy agreement in favour of both parties, such as reviewing the tenancy period to monthly instead of yearly so that the tenant would be able to pay his rent on a monthly basis until he is able to return to the initial contract. The introduced payment plan must be written and the tenant will have to sign to affirm the agreed arrangement.

Enforce Late Fees:

Some tenants don’t deserve any assistance from their landlord, their previous actions could discourage the landlord from giving a soft landing. Hence, the landlord should refer to the clause or paragraph that deals with delayed rent and enforce the payment, which could be by giving an ultimatum upon which failure to comply would amount to a surcharge for late payment.

Send a Formal Notice:

If the tenant continues to owe despite the palliative allowed, it will be time to serve the tenant a quit notice due to the type of tenancy existing. A six-month notice for a yearly tenant, one-month notice for half yearly and other categories would serve. It’s already beginning to indicate that the tenant is not planning on paying the arrears of rent.

Document Everything:

The landlord must make sure to keep all relevant documents, receipts, and chats to enable a smooth sailing of the legal proceedings and ensure that the lawyer has all he needs for a favourable court ruling on the matter. He (the landlord) should ensure to follow the correct legal means to eject the tenant from his property rather than using thugs or other illegal forceful measures.

Eviction as a Last Resort:

If the final court judgment favours the landlord, which is expected, then the tenant will be ejected and a new tenant admitted, while the landlord signs a new landlord-tenant relationship with the new person and starts enjoying an improved rent.

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