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How Do I Punish a Tenant Who Pays the Rent Late?

How do I punish a tenant who pays the rent late?

When rating your tenants, the ones who destroy property should be grouped with tenants who consistently pay rent late or sometimes never at all. Unfortunately, these problems are very common. Having to consistently chase tenants for payments is frustrating. Additionally, mediating measures can sometimes be a bit of a grey area. Below are tips on how you can go about dealing with this problem.

Plan Ahead

You need to plan for late rent payers in advance. Most owners are in shock when they learn that they are not able to implement late payment fees if they did not state these fees in the original contract. This means that if you want to punish your late paying tenants, you will need their lease agreement to reflect this punishment. Therefore, during tenant negotiations, be sure to clearly address the following, as well as reflect them on the lease:

  • Expected date of rent payment each month
  • Exact amount of rent payment (plus inflation, if any)
  • Late fee, if tenants do not honor the monthly payment date

Follow up with Them to Pay Rent

Before reaching panic mode and starting to brainstorm punishments, address the situation with the tenant. Sometimes rent can be late by a day or two because of completely understandable reasons. It will do well for your peace of mind to approach the problem from an empathetic viewpoint first, as opposed to a purely financial point of view. Should a tenant repeatedly neglect to pay their stipulated rent each month, then consider the following:

  • Leave notices: Leave notices on their apartment door to let them know that you are expecting rent as soon as possible.
  • Pay regular visits: Bother them regularly at home to remind them about the pending payment.
  • Take note: Track the times and days that you approached them about the issue. You can use them later in legal action if necessary.
  • Late fee: Request that they agree to the addition of a late fee to their lease, should this problem be a foreseeable recurring one.

Take Legal Action

Sometimes playing nice can only get you so far, and taking further action becomes necessary. When it comes to building rentals, most tenants are well-protected by the law. You need to build a solid case against them if you want the authorities to get involved. Gather all of the following to make your case:

  • Paper trail: Document all of the notices, visit dates, and one-on-one encounters that you had with the tenant regarding the late payment.
  • Video footage: Video footage can be a great form of proof to show that the tenant is still residing in the apartment, despite neglecting to pay.
  • Past payment dates: Keep a record of all past payments that shows the inability to comply with the stipulated due date on the lease.

When it comes to timely rent payments, there is only so much that a homeowner can do. Take the measures that you can, without compromising your integrity or your own safety. After that, leave the punishments to the legal authorities. This keeps you protected and out of the line of fire, should anything go wrong. Good luck!

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