Tell me if you have had this happen to you before?
The first of the month rolls around, you check your payment processor and your mailbox and you notice that one of your tenants hasn’t paid for their rent.
You decide to give it a day to see if they will come through and then, when the second of the month arrives and they still haven’t paid their rent, you decide to go over to your property and have a little chat.
You knock on the door and as soon as it is answered, your tenant comes outside and begs you to work with them. “I just need a little bit more time! My paychecks didn’t hit when I expected them to! I’ve been sick and haven’t been able to work! My car broke down!” and the excuses go on and on and on.
In situations like this, it can be tough to 1) Discern truth from fabrication and 2) Decide whether or not you should work with your tenants or threaten eviction.
In this article, we are going to lay out the cold hard truth about whether you should work with your tenant or kick them to the curb.
1. Understand that Late Rent is Almost Always About Priorities
Unless a tenant genuinely doesn’t have the income to support their rent (an issue that should never occur if you master the vetting and interview process), late rent is almost always a matter of priorities.
Typically what happens is that their paycheck date will vary because of long or short months.
E.g. they might get paid on the 1st and the 15th one month, then the 3rd and 17th, then the 12th and 26th.
When this happens, they will typically not prioritize their rent payment because they think “Hey, I have a whole week before rent is due!”
After a few nights out a new pair of shoes, they find themselves unable to pay rent because of poor planning.
If this is the case, you need to have a very serious with your tenant about their priorities, explaining that you run a business, not a charity. If this trend continues, eviction should be brought up and threatened. You will find that the possibility of being removed from their current residence will almost always create a drastic shift in tenants priorities.
2. Illness or Unemployment
While the media would like you to believe that this is a common occurrence, it’s not.
In fact, in our experience, 9 our of every 10 tenants who claim they cannot pay because of illness or unemployment are actually lying to buy themselves more time to pay rent.
However, in the 10% of cases where they genuinely have an issue, we have found that keeping a strict rent policy will actually encourage them to find work more quickly and get back in the game.
It might not seem “Nice” but the rent has to be paid, either by you or by them.
This means that unless you would be willing to hand them $1,000 to help out during a tough time, you shouldn’t be willing to comp a $1,000 payment.
Owning a rental property is not like owning a charity.
Bills have to be paid. And if your tenants aren’t paying them, then you are.
So be strict with your rental policies and make sure that everyone is paying on time. They might not love you for it, but it will keep you financially stable when other property owners are filing for bankruptcy.