No landlord rents out a property with the idea of their tenant neglecting to pay rent. That said, nearly every landlord will have to deal with a tenant that is late or skips a payment altogether. How you react to the situation will dictate how the next 60 days in the property transpire. There is a delicate balance between trying to work with your tenants and taking action that will protect your investment property. Nobody likes to deal with an eviction, but the sooner you act and the more definitive you are in those actions, the better you can make a bad situation. Dealing with an eviction requires a very strategic approach. Make sure you take the appropriate steps. with any luck, you may be able to avoid it altogether.
Dealing with tenants can be frustrating sometimes. They will often try to see just how late they can pay or what boundaries of the lease they can push. As the landlord, you can make or break any rules you like, but once you break them there is no turning back. The best way to deal with an eviction is to avoid it altogether. Often times, this means dealing with late payments as soon as they happen and enforcing the terms of the lease. If you have a small fee for a late payment, you cannot waive it just because your tenant promises to pay. You will only be feeding into their negligence.
As soon as your tenant is over five days late, you need to see what is going on. In the rare case that this was a tenant oversight or the cause of a short term financial issue, your tenant will most likely reach out to you before you have to contact them. There are very few tenants that you can make an exception for and try to work with. Once your tenant is late a few days, it is usually a sign of bigger problems. You need to find out what is going on as soon as they are late. The quicker you start to deal with the situation, the better it will be on your end. If you drag the process out or wait until your tenant contacts you, it may be too late to do anything.
As much as you may try to work with your tenants, the rental payment is everything for your property. Your tenant may try to offer you partial payments or negotiate a discounted rent, but this can be more trouble than it is worth. If there was a legitimate reason for the delinquency, and it will only be a one-time-thing, you can consider an alternative approach. However, late payments can be a sign of things to come.
If late payments are at the heart of something bigger, start the eviction process as soon as you can. There are state laws and procedures that must be followed, but the sooner you start, the sooner you can get it over with. Partial payments are often inconsistent. Once your tenant knows that you will work with them, they will try to exploit the situation even further. After a few weeks of being late, you should evaluate the situation. If you think an eviction is your best option, you should immediately seek out an attorney and start the process.
Once you start the eviction, you should not look back. Your tenant may call you and tell you they have most of the rent with a promise they will be OK for next month. This is not a situation that you want to constantly have to deal with. If you aren’t comfortable, or as comfortable as you can be, you are adding unnecessary stress to your business. It is never easy when you have to deal with real people in an uncomfortable situation, but it is inevitable. If you open the door for them to move back in, you are asking for trouble. Once you make a decision you need to stick with it.
An eviction can be a very difficult time for both landlord and tenant. All you can do is to try to make the best of a bad situation. Act as quickly and authoritatively as possible. You should also start looking for a new tenant as soon as you have an idea of when the house will be available. Real estate investing has incredible highs, but one of the lows is having to deal with an eviction. Instead of waiting for the situation to go away, you should deal with it head on.