One in seven California renters is behind on their rent, statistics show.
It might be because of inflation, a job loss, or because of an illness. Sometimes there may simply be a miscommunication or a payment didn't go through. Whatever the reason, late payments do indeed happen, and landlords need to know how to proceed when a tenant doesn't pay.
Do you have a tenant with a late rent payment? Do you want to know your options as a landlord when it comes to late rent?
Keep reading to find out what steps you should take to collect unpaid rent.
First, Check the Lease
Typically leases require that the rental payment date is the first of the month. The law in California specifies that landlords do not need to give a payment grace period to collect rent. However, most landlords will delay three or four days, especially if the 1st falls on a weekend or holiday.
If the tenant has still not paid, you should remind the tenant that the past due rent is outstanding. In some cases, tenants do forget or a payment is delayed because of banking or check processing delays, so a friendly reminder might be the only remedy you need to collect late rent.
Still No Rent? Serve a Notice
If you have followed up with your tenant and given a few days for the payment to come through, you can serve a late rent notice, called a 3-Day Notice to Pay Rent or Quit. This notice serves as an initial legal step to getting the rent paid.
It is also the first step to take before you can file an eviction. The notice cannot ask for more than the money owed. Make sure you include all of the precise information required in the notice.
Make three copies of the notice—one to keep, one to mail to the tenant, and one to post at the property where the resident can see it.
The best-case scenario is the tenant pays the rent within the time frame specified. If the rent payment still remains unpaid, you may wish to attempt to reach recover the rent one last time. If that fails, then you can proceed with an eviction notice.
The Eviction Process
The eviction process is a legal procedure and therefore may require attorney services. The process includes the collection of documents, the filing of a complaint, and notifying the tenant.
If the tenant does not reply, you will be able to request a default judgment. The tenant will be ordered to pay court costs and legal fees and will have to comply with the eviction.
Upon winning the case, you will receive a Writ of Possession five to 14 days following the court order. This instructs a sheriff to lock the tenant out of your property.
The tenant may fight the eviction, in which case the court will assign a new court date.
We Can Help You Recover Late Rent
Having issues with late rent payments by tenants is not an uncommon issue. In most cases, you will reach a resolution with the tenants. Unfortunately, in some cases, the process will lead to filing for an eviction.
At Harland Property Management, we strive to provide a wide range of excellent services to property owners. Contact us today—let us manage your properties, increase your profits, and give you valuable peace of mind.