How to Handle Tenants Who Just Can’t Pay Rent

Osprey Property Management   |   date March 2022

When owning a rental property, you know that tenants sometimes fall behind on rent payments. It's frustrating, but it happens. To deal with tenants that aren't paying their rent, the best thing you can do is follow a few expert tips.

In this blog, our Virginia Beach property management team talks about the best methods to deal with a non-paying renter, what you can do to collect rent, and how to proceed if rent continues to go unpaid.

Seek Professional Landlord-Tenant Help 

First, try to resolve the issue without resorting to legal action. If the tenant has fallen behind on rent, it might be possible to work out a payment plan with them. However, if they refuse to cooperate, you may need to consider legal action against them.

Before you decide to move forward with eviction proceedings, consult with a lawyer specializing in landlord-tenant law. The right lawyer will review your lease agreement and advise you on whether or not you have grounds for eviction.

Eviction letter on envelope with bills

In addition to consulting a lawyer, it's also wise to consider hiring a property management company to assist you with the eviction process. Property managers can help with everything from enforcing the rental agreement to finding a replacement tenant and handling the paperwork involved in evictions.

If you decide to pursue legal action, make sure that you hire a lawyer who specializes in landlord-tenant law. Landlord-tenant laws vary from state to state, so it's essential to consult with a lawyer who knows the ins and outs of your local area.

Handle The Situation Calmly

We understand that dealing with a tenant that is consistently late with their payments can be scary and stressful—but remember, it's not insurmountable. It’s essential to stay calm and think through your options to encourage a renter to catch up on past-due rent. 

A critical step in resolving any issue is communication. Sit down with your tenant and see what might be causing them to fall behind on rent payments. Maybe they've lost their job or had unexpected expenses come up. Once you know the reason they’ve fallen behind on rental payments, you can work together to find a solution.

If the tenant cannot pay the total rent, see if there's anything you can do to help them out. In some cases, reducing the amount for a certain period or extending their grace period can help them recover. You might also consider waiving late fees or other penalties for a short time. 

Inform a Renter Regarding Late Rent

When a tenant falls behind on rent, it's essential to take the appropriate steps to help them pay rent as soon as possible. However, before you begin the eviction process, send a late rent notice. This will allow your tenant to catch up on their payments and avoid legal proceedings.

Check In With Your Renter

After giving the tenant a late rent notice, property owners should make sure that they fully understand their situation. It's possible that they didn't receive the notice, or maybe they just forgot to pay. Either way, it's essential to reach out to them and ask if everything is okay.

Empty wallet in hands

This will allow you to explain the consequences of failing to pay rent and hopefully convince them to pay up. If you don't hear back from them after a few days, it might be time to look at legal options.

If Everything Else Fails, Seek an Eviction

If your attempts to work with your renter to collect past-due rent fail, it’s time to consider the legal eviction process. 

The first step is to send the tenant a notice of eviction that must be delivered in writing with a confirmed receipt. This notice should include the reason for removal, how much time the tenant has to leave or get caught up on late rental payments, and contact information for any questions or concerns. 

If the tenant does not comply with the notice, you can file an eviction lawsuit with your local court. The court will then schedule a hearing, at which both parties will have an opportunity to present their case. If the court decides in your favor, it will issue an order requiring the tenant to leave. The tenant can choose to appeal this decision, but they will be immediately forced to exit if they lose.

Virginia Property Management Experts Handle Tenants Who Can’t Pay Rent

Tenants who can't or won't pay their rent are a common problem. Don't panic—our property management team has the experience and resources to handle this challenge effectively. 

We have the answers to the question of “what is eviction” and how to negotiate with the tenant, give recommendations, or work with residents to resolve past-due rent situations without involving the courts. Our Virginia Beach property management staff assists rental property owners in determining the best options for each unique situation. Reach out to talk with us about our residential property management services! 

For more expert insights, download our free “Rental Property Owner's Tenant Eviction Checklist!”

 

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