Tenants who don’t pay rent create a number of different problems for Dallas landlords. Even if you have a great resident in place who easily qualified during the screening process, you never know what’s going on in his or her personal life. Perhaps they lost their job or they’re suffering through a divorce. Instead of heading straight to the courts when rent is late, stop and figure out a creative way to solve the problem that’s beneficial to all parties. Eviction is the last thing you want to do.
If your tenant has not paid rent, take these steps to try and resolve the problem without a costly and contentious court battle.
Communicate with Your Tenants
Landlords who have a good relationship with their tenants are less likely to be surprised by late or unpaid rent. You should invite open and honest communication and conversation from your tenants. If they have not warned you that rent may be late and it hasn’t been received by the due date and the expiration of any grace periods, you should reach out to the renter.
You’re looking for an important piece of information. What you want to know is whether this is a one-time hiccup that’s due to poor financial management and planning or if something dramatic has happened that will impact their ability to pay rent going forward. An unexpected car repair might have set them back in their monthly finances; that’s easy to work with. But, if your tenant was fired from his job and may have trouble finding a new one, you need to think about the next steps.
Consider Offering a Payment Plan
Good tenants who usually pay on time and are taking care of your property are worth working with when rent is late. Set up a payment plan if that’s something that will work for them. Maybe they can pay you half of the rent now and get you the other half mid-month. Discuss when they will next be paid and see if they want to tack on the rental balance from this month to the following month’s payment. They’ll appreciate your flexibility, and you’ll be able to retain an otherwise high performing renter.
Put any payment arrangement that you agree to in writing. You want to enforce it and make sure that all parties meet their obligations. If your tenant defaults on the agreement, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to collect the past due amount.
Creative Resources and Ideas
If your tenant lost a job but is committed to staying in the home and catching up with rent, refer your resident to any local resources that can help with support and job leads. If your tenant does not believe he or she will be able to catch up or the financial problems run too deep for a payment arrangement, talk about an exit strategy. You can decide on a move-out date and begin marketing the home in an effort to find a new resident without losing too much rental income.
Make sure eviction is not your immediate plan. Most tenants will want to catch up with the rent they owe and stay in your property. We can help you work through a few potential solutions. Contact us at McCaw Property Management, and let’s see what we can do.