What is a Late Rent Notice: Learn the Ropes

By: ROS Team February 19, 2021

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People always aspire to become a landlord. They find it’s one of the easiest ways to make money.  That may be true to some extent; however, what people don’t realize is that landlords have some pretty hefty responsibilities, like monitoring the general upkeep of rental units as well as being on-call 24/7 in case of a tenant emergency. In addition to their many responsibilities, landlords also have to pursue late payments when a tenant doesn’t pay their rent on time.

Late rent payments are a touchy subject regardless of whether it is the landlord’s primary or secondary source of income.  Therefore, landlords should take proactive steps to address late payment issues,  and issuing a late rent notice is one option that can help landlords claim the money due to them.

What is a Late Rent Notice?

A late rent notice, which is also called a past due rent notice, a notice of late rent, or late rent payment letter, is a formal written notice that the landlord gives the tenant that states that the rent is already late and requests that the tenant remits payment as soon as possible.

For context, you can think of a late rent notice as the first step towards evicting the tenant from the property if the tenant does not pay up.

When Should You Send a Late Rent Notice?

When the lease is signed, the landlord and tenant mutually agree on a certain date of the month as the due date for rent payments. If the tenant fails to pay rent by the due date,  the landlord can send a past due rent notice. It is advised that the landlord sends the notice the first time the tenant fails to make a payment by the due date.

Send a Late Rent Notice

If the payment date is not already set, look to local or state laws to figure it out. If you don’t find guidance from the law, consider adopting best practices or traditional rent payment dates–for most, rent is due on the first day of each month.

It is of utmost importance that you keep a record of tenants who consistently pay their rent late. Instead of giving those tenants a verbal reminder, send them a well-drafted written notice of late rent and save a copy for yourself. Once you have written the notice, you can either hand-deliver it to the tenant or send it via courier service.  Sending the notice via email is also an option if visiting the property is inconvenient for you.

It would be great if the tenant was late paying rent once or twice during their lease.  However, if late rent payments become the norm, you might have to consider evicting them. Should eviction become an option, your record of late rent notices would be your defense for evicting the tenant should he/she challenge the eviction in the court.

What Should You Include in a Late Rent Notice?

Generally, late rent notice should include essential information such as the apartment unit number, the tenant’s and landlord’s names, and all other terms and conditions related to the payment terms outlined in the lease (i.e. rent amount and payment due dates).

Tips to Prevent Late Rent Payments

  • Late rent payments are not always due to indolence or procrastination. Sometimes it’s the result of financial hardship. As a landlord, take a proactive approach and minimize the risk of receiving late payments by verifying the tenant’s income and employment status before they sign the lease.

Tips to Prevent Late Rent Payments

  • When you list your house on the market, the first thing you need to do is to set a reasonable monthly rent. When you start receiving rental applications, make sure the potential tenant is financially secure enough to pay the rent amount. It is always better to consider people with a permanent job and a decent salary–such tenants hardly cause landlords problems related to rent payments.
  • When it’s time for the tenant to sign the lease, talk through all the terms and conditions with them, including when rent is due and how it can be submitted.
  • Provide plenty of advance notice when you plan on increasing the rent so that the tenant can allocate their budget accordingly.
  • Try to subscribe to an automatic payment service to receive rent payments.
  • If you can, send out an email or text reminding your tenant(s) before the rent due date.

Read Also: 7 Reasons Why Your Rental Application Was Denied

What If a Tenant Continues to Be Late Paying the Rent?

Having said all that, there is no guarantee that you will receive your rent payment on time, or at all, once you have served the past due rent notice to the tenant. If that happens, you may consider progressing to sending the tenant a ‘notice to quit’ letter. Notice of late rent is the first step of initiating the eviction process. However, every state and city has its own laws and regulations regarding how evictions should be handled. Get legal advice before pursuing eviction.

Tenant Continues to Be Late Paying the Rent

A notice to quit is a formal letter that the landlord writes to the tenant requesting that he/she pay the rent within a certain time period, say 14 days, or leave the property. If the tenant is not ready to vacate the property, the landlord would be in a better position when it’s time to evict and if the matter ends up in court.

Pro Tip: Evicting a tenant from your property is quite technical and will likely cost you money as well. Therefore, it is highly recommended that you consult with an attorney before starting the eviction process.

Conclusion:

A landlord has a vested interest in ensuring tenants pay their rent and that they do so on time consistently. Evictions can be intense, so it’s a good idea to get the help of an attorney before going down that road. Doing so will help avoid additional costs should the tenant challenge the eviction in course.  Plus, you can’t get a new tenant in the unit until you settle the issue with the current tenant.

Serving a notice of late rent may not completely eliminate the mental anguish associated with dealing with a troublesome tenant or even evicting them, but it will certainly help you defend the decision to evict should it be challenged.