Skip to Content

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

Late Rent Notice Paper with a PenThere are multiple things you can do to motivate your tenant to pay rent payments on-time as a property owner or landlord. But there will be times a tenant will still make late payments or miss rent payments altogether. In these kinds of situations, it is best to know how to manage them. For a lot of landlords, having a step-by-step process helps ensures both a timely and consistent response.

Encourage Paying On Time

One of the first and most crucial things you can do as a Hixson property manager is to encourage your tenant to pay their rent on time. Some of the best ways to do this are through 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 late, then you should double-check your records and be sure that it’s late and not 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

If the grace period has passed and the tenant hasn’t paid rent yet, it is important to send a reminder to your tenant about the late rent. This reminder can be official or as friendly as you’d like, but 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. Giving your tenant a friendly phone call would do a lot to help you understand the situation more and figure out why the payment is late. Although your tenant may not want to talk about the details of the circumstances, especially if they’re facing sudden financial hardship, even a quick conversation could accomplish a lot. On the other hand, make sure not to call your tenant repeatedly or demand payment. This is considered harassment, which is illegal.

Send a Pay or Quit Notice

If you’ve tried many reminders and the rent payment has exceeded your lease’s grace period and other late payment terms, it might be time to send your tenant a pay or quit notice. This kind of notice is an official document that expresses your desire to pursue action against your tenant. Your notice must have the amount of cash the tenant owes, the deadline to pay in total, and your intent to evict if these conditions are not met. But be sure to follow state and local laws that dictate when such notices can be sent and how they must be delivered to the tenant.

Start the Eviction Process

When all else fails, it might be the time to pursue legal action against your tenant. This is the eviction process, which needs a court ruling in most areas. In lots of places, it’s illegal to forcibly evict a tenant or even change the locks until the court proceedings are finished. These proceedings can take months and can be very costly for everyone involved. But to avoid delays or having the judge rule in your tenant’s favor, it is essential 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, avoid accepting 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. Lastly, you need to maintain your professionalism and keep to the terms of your lease. You might not like to, but enforcing your lease is an important part of handling 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 Your Home to do it for them. Contact us online to learn more about our quality services.

We are pledged to the letter and spirit of U.S. policy for the achievement of equal housing opportunity throughout the Nation. See Equal Housing Opportunity Statement for more information.

The Neighborly Done Right Promise

The Neighborly Done Right Promise ® delivered by Real Property Management, a proud Neighborly company

When it comes to finding the right property manager for your investment property, you want to know that they stand behind their work and get the job done right – the first time. At Real Property Management we have the expertise, technology, and systems to manage your property the right way. We work hard to optimize your return on investment while preserving your asset and giving you peace of mind. Our highly trained and skilled team works hard so you can be sure your property's management will be Done Right.

Canada excluded. Services performed by independently owned and operated franchises.

See Full Details