A lot of the landlords we work with come to us for legal help when their tenants aren’t paying rent on time and they have to start thinking about eviction.
You can avoid eviction and all the expense and stress that comes with it by ensuring your rent is collected on time every month. Not only does it prevent the worst-case eviction scenario, it also provides you with a consistent cash flow and balanced accounting statements.
Check out these three tips that we always share with landlords and professional New Jersey property managers who need a little help getting rent paid on time.
Check Your Tenant’s Contact Information
Do you have your tenant’s most up to date contact information? Are you sure?
People are changing phone numbers and updating email addresses all the time. There’s a good chance you have access to the information that was provided when the lease was signed, but in order to communicate well with your residents, you need to know how to reach them.
The right phone number and email address will allow you to reach out with automated messages (like rent reminders) and make personal contact.
Communication is an important part of the rent collection process. Confirm you have the correct contact details and then send email reminders right before the rental due date. If the rent isn’t paid when that day comes and goes, give them a call. Explain that rent hasn’t been paid and ask if there’s a problem or a concern.
Residents may forget to tell you when their information changes. Check in with them from time to time.
Late Payment Consequences
It’s possible an otherwise responsible tenant is simply experiencing financial problems in a given month and needs a little extra time. If this is the case, accept whatever rent they can manage to pay right now. Then, get a Promise to Pay in writing. This is an agreement that will document what is still owed and when the tenant has promised to pay it. This keeps your residents accountable.
Late fees can be an excellent deterrent and should be applied consistently. We recommend that you not let tenants fall more than one month behind in rent. The likelihood that you’ll be able to collect anything beyond that point is low.
Serve a Pay or Quit Notice When Necessary
When rent isn’t coming in at all and residents refuse to talk to you or they default on their Promise to Pay, you’ll have no other choice than to move forward through the courts. Serve a Pay or Quit Notice and begin the eviction process. This will usually motivate those tenants to pay what’s due, otherwise they know they’ll face an eviction in court.
One last recommendation – document everything. When you keep good records, you have an easier time managing your business. You also have a stronger position if you do need to go to court.
We can help you bring in rent consistently or help you collect it when it’s late. Contact our legal team serving New Jersey property managers and landlords at Robert A. Gleaner, P.C.