Tip of the Month - November, 2018


Source: “First Time Landlord” by Attorney Janet Portman, Marcia
Stewart & Michael Molinski

While tenants come in all shapes and sizes, most tenant problems boil down to a few common and recurring themes.

LATE RENT: While being a day or two late every once in a awhile should not be a reason to evict-especially if it is an otherwise reliable tenant-you probably do want to enforce on-time payments.  This will help show that you are serious about this business relationship and help avoid reinforcing late-payment habits.  The first time your tenant is late, simply call and make sure the payment did not get lost, forgotten, or misplaced.  If the tenant apologizes profusely and pays you immediately-especially a tenant with a history of on-time payments-you may have nothing to worry about.  The next time it happens, however, you should invoke the late-fee clause in your lease or rental agreement.

ENFORCE YOUR RIGHT TO THE LATE FEE: Your tenant may decide to pay the rent, but not the fee.  Instead, if your lease or rental agreement says that the fee is considered “additional rent”, you will be able to use a “Pay of Quit” notice to demand the late fee and you can begin eviction proceedings if the tenant does not pay the fee or move.  If your rental document does not describe the fee as additional rent, you will have to sue in Small Claims Court.  If the tenant promises to send a check soon but does not, fails to respond to your call or says “Sorry, I can not make the payment”, your next step will probably be to send a termination notice (often called a “Pay or Quit") notice. This notice should explain that the tenant must pay rent within a designated time or move out.  If the tenant does not comply, you can file an eviction lawsuit.

This web page was updated on 11/01/2018