by Danielle Mason June 12, 2019 2 min read

Ahh, the rent is late - again! No business can be profitable when you are constantly chasing what is owed to you. To ensure you have a constant and steady stream of income, it is important that you pick the right tenants and make sure that they are adequately screened.

However, if you find yourself stuck with a renter who won’t pay their debts, know there are some steps you can take when the rent is late. To work out what course of action to take, ask yourself the following questions:

Is this the first time rent has been late?

Sometimes, mistakes happen. An automatic payment may bounce or some other perfectly, understandable excuse.

In these situations, you may want to forgive your tenant for their discrepancy and waive any late-fees that may apply.

However, be firm and do not let this happen more than once. If your tenant is behind on rent and it is becoming frequent, you need to take a hardline.

Don’t let your tenants take advantage of you - if they are having a hard time paying bills, depending on the circumstances, you can take this into account. But at the end of the day, you are running a business and a business isn’t profitable, without cash flow.

what to do when rent is late

What is your rent collection policy?

Set a precedent straight from the outset: rent is expected to be paid regularly and on time. Go over rent collection policies with your tenant (ideally before any issues crop up) so that both parties are aware of their responsibilities.

In your lease, clearly spell out: the amount of rent due, when payments are to be made, how payments can be made, what grace periods are allowed, what late payment fees apply and what consequences will happen if tenants default on payment.

If you are struggling to be firm with your rent collection policy, it may be worth looking into a property manager who can do this hard work for you.

What should you do?

If you have questioned your tenant on why they haven’t paid rent and you are still not satisfied with the answer, it may be time to serve your tenant with an eviction notice.

An eviction notice can only be served if your tenant has broken a clause of your lease. Make sure that you are within your rights to serve an eviction notice and seek independent legal advice if you are unsure.

Check the relevant rules of your state to see what time period or how many infractions is required before you can evict a tenant. When it does come to providing an eviction notice, it is best practice to do so via a formal letter.


We hope you found this blog interesting! However, do note that it should not be used as a substitute for competent legal and/or other advice from a licensed professional.

Danielle Mason

"Danielle is a specialist content creator with a keen interest for real estate and tenanting issues. She loves travel and works remotely when she can. Prior to joining LandlordBoss, Danielle wrote for companies in the technology, retail and start-up industries."

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