Most landlords have shared a common dilemma: It’s the fifth of the month and one or more of your tenants haven’t paid rent.
For rental property owners in San Antonio, late rent payments are both a fact of life and an annoying distraction. But most landlords may be surprised to learn that there are some methods they can employ to head off late rent and address the issue when it occurs.
When dealing with tenants, it’s important to remember that open and honest communication, as well as legal precautions, can help you stay on top of late rent. Keeping on top of rent is not only important for your bottom line but also crucial for enforcing other stipulations in your lease agreements.
Here are four tips for San Antonio landlords to deal with late rent payments.
1.) Clearly Communicate Requirement to Tenants
Sometimes the simplest solution to preventing and dealing with late rent from tenants is to clearly define when rent must be paid and what the consequences are for repeat offenses.
The first line of defense is in the tenant’s lease, which should clearly define any stipulation on rent “grace periods,” late fees, and possible eviction for late rent payments.
When your tenant signs a lease, make sure they initial every page and put their name and signature on the document. That will help in the event of possible litigation in the future.
2.) Ask Why They’re Paying Late
While some landlords choose to immediately evict on the first instance of late payment, it may help you to talk to your tenant about why they are late and what can be done to remedy the situation.
Some landlords work on a biweekly payment plan that eases the burden on tenants with the intent of keeping the unit occupied. Tenants may struggle with monthly payments, and it is ultimately the landlord’s decision whether to bend the rules to ensure rent is paid.
3.) Late Fees are a Great Deterrent
If you don’t have late fees for rent payments, you may want to consider them.
A late fee is one of a number of different incentives to ensure residents pay on time every time. Some others include:
- Reporting late payments to a credit reporting agency
- Sending eviction warnings to residents
- Offering a discount for timely payments
- Establishing an automatic pay portal for residents
Even difficult tenants may be motivated to pay with the right incentives in place. Of course, it’s important to remember that these stipulations should be outlined in your lease agreement to avoid confusion and standardize your interaction with tenants.
4.) Evict When Absolutely Necessary
When all other options fail, it’s important for San Antonio landlords to enforce their eviction policy without discrimination.
Eviction should always be the last resort because it ultimately means one fewer tenant in your rental property. But when other measures to prevent late payments persist, it’s important to employ eviction in a way that meets the lease guidelines and doesn’t favor one tenant over another.
If you struggle to enforce your lease alone, a professional property management company could help you out.