As easy as it sounds, rent collection can actually be difficult if the expectations aren’t set up first and put in writing. Here are some important tips, techniques, and processes to help you get set up for success prior to placing a tenant.
One thought to think about before we get started is: “Either you are training the tenant or the tenant is training you.” Which one do you want it to be?
I say that a little bit in jest but the truth is if you don’t have CLEAR guidelines on how you want your tenant to perform, expect them to not perform.
Now some of these might seem really obvious but they are missed quite often.
The set up of expectations:
- Set the expectation of when, where and how rent is paid.
- Set the expectation of when rent will be late if it’s not paid in full on or before this date and if you are going to allow a grace period. Some states require it. States like ours do not.
- What will the late fee be when it is late. Check your state laws because this is often a predefined rule in most landlord/tenant laws.
- Put it ALL in the lease agreement. You never want to leave any of this up for question.
- Follow the already set up expectations to the letter. Don’t deviate. Not only does deviation create an expectation going forward it also can be a Fair Housing violation when you’re not willing to deviate for every tenant.
- Predetermine when you are going to serve the “Pay or Quit” notice. State law defines how long they have to pay or quit but not how long after they are late that you have to serve this. We serve ours on the 3rd or the following business day if the 3rd is a weekend or holiday.
- Predetermine when you are going to file eviction paperwork with the court. Immediately after the Pay or Quit period is up or wait a few days. We highly recommend filing immediately after.
After these, follow the court process to the end. Know your landlord-tenant laws better than the judge you will be facing. You never know but you may need to hold the judge accountable to the rules and laws the tenant is subject to.
Here at ICPM, we are extremely experienced in this process. Having placed and managed over 2500 tenants and having gone through the eviction process more than a few times, we know exactly how to navigate it. That being said, if you have questions on how to set the expectations, tips on specific situations or how to navigate through eviction, we are here to help.