Handling Tenants Who Aren’t Paying

Being a property owner can be an exciting and rewarding job, but the hard truth is that you’ll likely come across some renters who are a bit (or a lot) of a headache to work with. You’ll have your great tenants who always make their payments on time, and then there will be those who may cause you and your homeowners association some stress.

So, what do you do when someone isn’t making their payments? Do you evict them right away, press charges, or swallow your pride? We will be exploring each of these options.

Determining the Need for Eviction

If someone isn’t making their payments, it’s your responsibility to notify the tenant about a coming eviction—or the possibility of a repayment plan. You can also ask when they plan to leave the property.

A repayment plan can be a good idea if the tenant has been otherwise paying each month, notifying you about late payments in advance, and keeping the property looking good. For these types of renters, you can work with them to establish a fair plan of repayment for what they are late on plus a fee.

However, if the tenant is always paying late, has broken other leasing terms, and just all around has given you headaches, you may just want to use the late payment as a reason to evict the tenant.

Determining the Need to Press Charges

While, in general, it’s best to remember that your tenants are human and that it’s often most effective to treat them fairly and hear their concerns, there are situations where pressing charges is warranted. For example, a tenant may still owe money to you in the hundreds or thousands, left your property damaged, or had an angry attitude towards you or your homeowners association. In these cases, it will be up to you whether you want to press charges.

In general, though, treating tenants with fairness and being an open ear to concerns from the beginning is likely to reduce or eliminate the amount of damage done.

Determining When to Swallow Your Pride

Remember that as a property owner, you will learn many lessons along the way and things will not always go according to how you planned them initially. If you make the decision to press charges against someone who left your property because of payments they owe or damages they made, make sure the money, time, and energy on your part is worth it. Sometimes it could be best to simply think about what lesson you can take from the experience.

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