Landlord Checklist: Late Rent Penalty
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Landlord Checklist: Late Rent Penalty

If the tenant offers to give you the rent that is late, but balks over the penalty, you may want to refuse to accept the late rent until it includes the penalty.
                                   tenant eviction notice

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What should I do about late rent?

Collect it as soon as possible. Every day that rent is late eats up some of your security deposit. Talk to the tenants. Find out why the rent is late. Explain that a home is their most important obligation. If they want to keep it, they must pay their rent first. Sometimes a good talk will help. Also, consider imposing a penalty for late rent. It's a good idea to include it in every rental agreement you write. After a grace period of typically five days, the penalty is usually $50 or 5 percent of the rent, whichever is smaller. In today's world, we are all conditioned to watch out for money penalties, and tenants are no different. You'd be surprised how careful they will be to get the rent in on time to avoid the penalty. Just be sure to enforce the clause.

What if a tenant refuses to pay me a late penalty?

If the tenant offers to give you the rent that is late, but balks over the penalty, you may want to refuse to accept the late rent until it includes the penalty. This runs the risk of not getting any rent. On the one hand, having once paid a penalty for late rent, the tenant probably will pay on time ever after. On the other hand, sometimes a carrot works better than a stick. You can try raising the rent and then giving a discount if it's paid on time. The rent for all tenants goes up by $100. But, if it's paid on or before the due date, a $100 discount applies. You'd be surprised how promptly most rents will come in. Of course, sometimes the tenant simply can't or won't pay. If it's a situation beyond the tenant's control (loss of employment, illness, and so on), you may actually want to help the tenant to move to friends or relatives. If it's simply an adamant tenant who refuses without giving a reason, or won't accept your help, then eviction may be the answer.

How do I evict a tenant?

Get an attorney. In all states, eviction can only be accomplished through judicial means. You'll need to get an "unlawful detainer" action through court. In many areas, it will cost you around $1,500 the first time. It will also take about a month. (Most judges will not give you an eviction until the tenant has used up all the security deposit in lieu of rent.) After you've done it one or two times, you may find that it's not that difficult and you can save money by acting as your own attorney. Many landlords do this regularly.

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Comments (1)

illegal to ask for a late penalty here in Quebec, there is so many differences between countries I see

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