If your tenants think they can get away with not paying rent, then they will. Be sure to outline why paying rent late is really worse for your tenants then it is for you. If you have strict policies set out in your lease that address late fees then your tenants will be less likely to pay their rent after the date it is due. Here are some things to do if a tenant stops paying rent.
Grace periods are created to give leeway to your tenants for monthly rent collection. You should try to limit grace periods as much as possible. Grace periods allow tenants to take advantage of you because they know they have the extra time. While grace periods may come in handy at times for certain tenants, you don’t want your tenants to abuse this privilege and pay rent late each month. If your tenants are aware of how paying rent will negatively impact them, then they will be more inclined to pay on time. You should also be aware of the laws in your area that pertain to grace periods. Some states require property managers to allow a grace period while others do not.
You should aim to be firm but fair with your tenants. No landlord wants to chase their tenants for money, so late fees should act as a deterrent and force your tenants to pay their rent on time. Late fees will be set out in the lease for your tenants to follow. Again, late fees differ according to province and state, so it is best practice to ensure your late fee policy is in accordance with local laws. Some states don’t allow a late fee like Florida, while others have set parameters that you must follow.
If nothing works and your tenants are still not paying their rent, then you must start the eviction process as soon as possible. Evictions differ in each state and province as well. A pay rent or quit notice is common and will state that the tenant must pay the rent or move out. This preempts the eviction process and informs the tenant that you will start proceedings if they do not pay up. There are a number of ways you can serve this notice including by mail, in person, or by a professional server who can ensure receipt.