27 Jun What are a landlord’s options when a tenant won’t pay rent?
Property management can come with a fair share of frustrations, including dealing with vandalized property and trying to collect unpaid rent. No one ever expects tenants not to pay rent; otherwise, you probably wouldn’t be renting to them in the first place.
Still, when you are faced with this situation as a landlord, you must find a workable solution. There are a few options that will vary, depending on local laws and the phrasing of the rental agreement your tenants signed. Any agreements that are not in writing will be difficult to prove in a courtroom. Here are a few options to consider:
- Security deposit: Use the tenant’s security deposit. This may not cover the full amount of the rent due, but at least you can recover some of your losses.
- Eviction notices: If the tenant still occupies the premises, you can issue an eviction notice. However, it must comply with any local laws regarding such notices. The hope is that the notice will get the tenant’s attention and they will bring their account current.
- Collection efforts: When you do not have the time or resources, you can hire a third party debt collector. All debt collection efforts must adhere to The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.
- Filing suit: As a last resort, you may have to file a lawsuit to collect a seriously delinquent rent. There is a filing fee and you can request that the cost of filing the suit be included as part of the damages.
Of course, the best remedy is to prevent the situation from occurring in the first place. While this isn’t always possible, there are a few actions you can take to be proactive in protecting your rental property income.
- Do not rent to any tenants based on a verbal agreement. Make sure you have a written contract that has been reviewed and approved by a legal professional.
- Make sure all payment terms, including the due date and any delinquency charges, are spelled out clearly in the rental agreement.
- Always collect a sufficient security deposit.
- Do proper screening of potential tenants, including background checks.
You want to trust everyone to live up to their word. Unfortunately, not everyone does. Barsh & Cohen can handle legal aspects of all things real estate. Contact us for a consultation. We are here to serve you! http://www.barsh-cohen.com/