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What Should I Do When My Tenant’s Rent is Late?

Late Rent Notice Paper with a PenThere are many things you can do to encourage on-time rent payments as a property owner or landlord. But there will be times a tenant will still make late payments or miss rent payments altogether. It is essential to know the best way to manage them in these situations. Most landlords create a step-by-step process that the tenant can follow to make sure that their response is both timely and consistent.

Encourage Paying On Time

One of the first and most crucial things you can do as a Bixby property manager is to encourage your tenant to pay their rent on time. Some ways to do this are by regular communication and convenient online rental payment options. Staying in contact with your tenant – even if things are going fine – encourages better and constant communication when things get tricky. In addition, making paying rent easy and convenient can help encourage your tenant to keep those payments well-timed.

Check Payment Records

If your tenant’s rent payment is still behind schedule, the next thing to do is to double-check your records and confirm that it’s late and not just a recording error. Also, double-checking your lease documents can help determine whether your tenant is still in the agreed grace period for on-time payments. Sometimes a late payment isn’t late. It is important to have your facts in line before you advance to the next step.

Send a Late Notice

When the grace period has passed and you still did not receive the rent payment yet, you need to send a reminder to your tenant about the late rent. This can be an official or a friendly reminder, just make sure to put it in writing and document your delivery method.

Call Your Tenant

If you have established regular, positive communication with your tenant, it is necessary to continue that behavior when dealing with a late or missing rent payment. By simply giving your tenant a friendly phone call, you can understand the situation more and find out why the payment is late. Even though your tenant might not want to discuss the details of the situation, especially when they’re facing sudden financial hardship, even a brief conversation might accomplish a lot. Besides, be aware not to call your tenant repeatedly or demand payment. This is considered harassment, which is illegal.

Send a Pay or Quit Notice

If you have tried reminders and the rent payment has exceeded your lease’s grace period and multiple late payment terms, it may be time to send your tenant a pay or quit notice. This notice is an official document that expresses your purpose to pursue action against the tenant. This notice should have the amount of money the tenant owes, the deadline to pay in full, and your intent to evict if these conditions are not fulfilled. Be sure to stick to state and local laws that govern when such notices can and how they must be delivered to the tenant.

Start the Eviction Process

It may be time to pursue legal action against the tenant if there are no other options left. The eviction process usually requires a court ruling in most states. In lots of places, it’s illegal to forcibly evict a tenant or even change the locks until the court proceedings are finished. The proceedings could take months and can be costly for those involved. But for no delays or having the judge rule in your tenant’s favor, it’s necessary to follow the law and the evictions process to the letter.

Keep it Professional

Finally, as you work with your tenant, you may need to keep some things in mind. First, don’t accept partial rent payments If you take any amount of cash, it will just restart the eviction process. Just be sure to document everything, including the phone calls. Last, it is important to continue your professionalism and stick to the terms of your lease. You might not want to, but enforcing your lease is an important part of operating your rental property as a business.


Dealing with late or missing rent payments can be a time-consuming headache. That is why many rental properties owners hire property managers like Real Property Management Tulsa to do it for them. Contact us online to learn more about our quality services.

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