Chasing down late rent is not a good use of your time and resources, so it’s important to have a plan in place when your tenants fall behind or stop paying rent.
Tenant ScreeningAt Tri-City Realty Services, we have a standard procedure for approving our tenants. Experience has shown that it doesn’t pay to make exceptions to those procedures. Placing a tenant in a house who doesn’t meet our guidelines will often prove that it would have been better to wait a few more days and find a qualified tenant. Qualifying the tenant in the beginning saves you a lot of headaches.
Enforcing the LeaseSometimes, a tenant doesn’t pay rent even after being qualified and approved. Things can always go wrong in peoples’ lives, whether it’s a divorce, a job loss or an illness. We still have to enforce the lease, regardless of the situation. If a tenant doesn’t pay rent, a delinquent letter goes out on the 5th day of the month. On the 10th day of the month we send a letter of demand, and on the 15th day of the month, we file a Dispossessory Action in the magistrate court. The lease is between the tenant and Tri-City Realty Services, so I can file the claim and go to court if necessary. This doesn’t happen very often. Most times, the tenant will pay the rent before the court date and we dismiss the action. The lawsuit gets their attention and they find a way to pay the rent.
Court ProcessIf we do go to court, the tenant can agree to a payment plan that gets them caught up in a short period of time. The judge signs a consent agreement that outlines expectations. If tenant does not meet those expectations and fails to make their payments, we get a Writ of Possession and the tenant has to move. Most of the time, they make their payments. They get to stay in house and we avoid a vacancy.
Evictions are not my favorite part of property management, but if tenants don’t pay then they don’t get to stay. If you have any questions about property management, please contact us at Tri-City Realty Services.