Author Topic: Rent late again!  (Read 2933 times)

CrazyIT

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Rent late again!
« on: October 30, 2017, 09:11:56 AM »
Advice needed please:

I have a renter that just moved in 3 months ago (all referenced and background checks came out good).  I collected the first monthís rent and one month damage deposit when she moved in.  The second monthís rent was late.  On the 5th day I texted her and she didnít get back to me for several days.  I called and left her a message and texted again with no reply.  Finally after the 12th she texted me and said she had been in the hospital and paying her rent slipped her mind.  I was patient and let her pay late without including the late fee (she agreed to drop the rent off right away).  Month 3ÖÖAlmost the same exact story?  5 days late,  me text her,  no response for several days then finally some hospital story again.  Itís the 15th now and she finally texted me and said she will drop the rent off tomorrow.  Part of me wants to be compassionate to her situation and part of me feels like Iím being taken for a ride?

I have owned a few rentals for several years and havenít had to evict anyone but this is the closest I have been to considering it.

I would like to get a discussion going on how others would handle this situation?

1:  How long do you wait to get serious about threatening to evict someone?
2:  What is the process you use?  (do you do it yourself or hire a lawyer?)
3:   What are the steps?
4:   What are the costs involved?
5:   What is the typical time it takes to get someone out that stops paying rent?

My property is located in Hennepin county MN.  Iím sure the laws differ in other states but there should still be some basic guidelines.


3 1/2 years and counting

Car Jack

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Re: Rent late again!
« Reply #1 on: October 30, 2017, 09:33:02 AM »
Does your late fee cover you for what sounds like 1/2 month without the rent money?  If it does, then what the heck.  Landlording isn't a passive investment.  If you're not chasing a tenant to collect the rent, you're fixing something.  If that's too much work, sell and buy index funds (what I've done).

CrazyIT

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Re: Rent late again!
« Reply #2 on: October 30, 2017, 09:53:00 AM »
Wasn't expecting that type of reply?

The late fee I charge is 8%.  That's the max i can legally collect.

Thank you; I have plenty of index funds.  Pre and post tax.  but good for you...
3 1/2 years and counting

ixtap

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Re: Rent late again!
« Reply #3 on: October 30, 2017, 10:01:28 AM »
The problem is that it is much easier to start as you mean to go on. You have now gone two months without collecting late fees.

Do you know when you can start the eviction process in your jurisdiction? Do you know what the process is? I have seen everything from starting the process the day it is late to not being able to start the process until they are a month behind.

The general advice is to move forward as soon as you are legally able. That is one reason I am not a landlord.

cchrissyy

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Re: Rent late again!
« Reply #4 on: October 30, 2017, 10:32:21 AM »
Late rent is very serious, and the fact you've seen it every time in her short tenancy is pretty much proof that this is how it's going to be if you keep her around (well, I'd expect worse, since people are on their best behavior at the start).  She needs to go ASAP.  I would call a lawyer today to answer all your questions about eviction law.

frenchsquared

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Re: Rent late again!
« Reply #5 on: October 30, 2017, 10:52:21 AM »
How well are they caring for the house?
Is the house clean?
Do they have clean pets?
Are you financial in trouble if they are 15 days late?

So... I would never evict a tenant for that, the next one might trash my house. They are paying after all. Now, I would use that as an excuse in a second if I had other reasons. I have had several tenant that pay just like yours.

One of them I set up on a by monthly payment. They had to pay the rent on the 7th and 25th. It worked with there paychecks. I got the rent when I expected it and no more stories. However, this tenant trashed my house and cause a roach infestation. Took me 3 months to kill the bugs. I should have evicted them. Lesson learned.

Another tenant, after the 3rd time I gave them an eviction notice. Turns out the mom gave the money to the kid and he kept it for a couple weeks over and over. The eviction notice was enough to let the mom see the issue and she started paying the rent. About a year later she moved out. She gave me 60 days noticed and left the house perfect. Even gave me a list of her thoughts on living in my house. Was very helpful. I had the house rented in 3 days. My communication paid off in the end. She was great.

Another one is in her 60 and 2 or 3 times she was over a month late. She really was in the hospital. She doesn't drive and doesn't have a lot of family. I am nicer to her. 90% of the time she pays on time and actually takes the rent directly to the bank. I did verify that she was in the hospital the second time. He house is always very clean. Yard is fine. She even had the trees trimmed. I would have done it had she asked.

Others I charge a $25 late fee and give an eviction notice if they start to make me wonder. This seems to have worked for most situations. I care about my tenants and try to talk to them. I want to understand why. Some do what yours is and I feel try to take advantage of me. Whenever I get that feeling I tell my self this is a business first and take actions to change it. From that point on I give them an eviction notice on the 5 day. Thats in my lease. Never had to do it more then twice.

In Colorado you dont need a lawyer to evict someone. I talked to a lawyer the first time. But I have no issues doing it on my own now.

katscratch

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Re: Rent late again!
« Reply #6 on: October 30, 2017, 11:10:50 AM »
If you haven't checked already, here are a couple sites with eviction information for Hennepin:

http://www.mncourts.gov/Find-Courts/Hennepin/HennepinHousingCourt.aspx#tab01LandlordandTenantActions

https://www.housinglink.org/List/MNevictionprocess

I don't have advice for when to start that process, but it may be worth having a more in depth discussion with her. I once had a landlord when I was divorcing that made me cry, he was so nice when my deposit/first/last check bounced because my account deposit was credited after the check (same day, not uncommon for big banks but I cut it too close). He took a big risk allowing me to go ahead and move in, especially knowing I was just starting a divorce, but it worked out and I was there for years until I bought a house. NOT to say that your tenant is ultimately going to be responsible - but the one thing that stood out about that landlord compared to all my others is that he was very good at knowing when to be hands on -- we met in person to discuss my check bouncing and my overall situation (where I cried, ha). He managed his properties himself and was super quick to respond to my only request (a plumbing issue with the tub that I couldn't figure out) but otherwise left us alone in between routine maintenance projects. The one unit that was a little trouble (nothing crazy just young/first apartment mistakes), on the other hand, was visited far more regularly.
« Last Edit: October 30, 2017, 11:20:26 AM by katscratch »

srad

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Re: Rent late again!
« Reply #7 on: October 30, 2017, 11:39:48 AM »
I'd want to find out if it really is a hospital thing.  If it really is a hospital thing, I personally would be sympathetic to their cause and work with them in regards to collecting their payments.  As long as i'm collecting their rent even if its two weeks late I"m ok.  However, If they go past our agreed upon modified payment date i would have to start the eviction process.  And for me to agree to a modified payment date i'd need some documentation, like a letter from their doctor stating they were at the hospital for those days and will continue to need treatment for XX more months.  You should also start collecting late fees this month regardless, that might jog their memory a little more come rent time.  But i don't know, the fact that they don't get back to you for several days after a text...  This all seems fishy. 

You can google eviction laws in your area and decide if you want to hire an attorney to do it for you.  I've never had to evict someone but i plan to do it myself when the time comes. I've know several LL's who have done it on their own just fine.

sokoloff

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Re: Rent late again!
« Reply #8 on: October 30, 2017, 11:52:22 AM »
Disclaimer: I'm not a landlord, but have considered it for the future when I have more free time.

I'd start hardass and by-the-book with any new tenant. Post whatever eviction notice is appropriate in your jurisdiction the first day when the rent is late. (By this, I mean the typical "3 days to pay rent or quit the premises" notice.) Show them that this is business to you and you expect them to hold up their end of the bargain. (You need to be scrupulous and hold up your end as well, of course.)

Charge them the late fee(s) exactly as provided in the lease and set those consistent with (the maximum allowed by) local law.

If you start down that road and find a tenant with a legitimate exogenous situation, you're free to hem and haw and grant them a one-time exception, but you've given them some notice that you're not liable to accept it a second time. Starting down the "nice guy landlord" path leaves you open to exploitation (or at least wondering about the same).

CrazyIT

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Re: Rent late again!
« Reply #9 on: October 30, 2017, 02:35:27 PM »
Thanks for all the replies so far. 

Very interesting and differing points of views!

Katscratch-  Thanks for the links.  :)

 frenchsquared-  Very nice reply:  clearly you have compassion for your renters (as do I)

How well are they caring for the house?  Seems good so far
Is the house clean?  Cleaner then my house
Do they have clean pets?  No pets (don't allow pets)
Are you financial in trouble if they are 15 days late?  Not at all.

I don't doubt that my tenant is having some health issues and when many people live month to month it gets very hard when they get behind to get caught up. 

I mostly don't this stuff affect me emotionally.  I have a decent stache and the rental is sometimes a nice write-off.

I did a little research today and found just to file the eviction paper work its $299.  If I get a lawyer involved I would expect that cost to increase signifigantly

Right now:  My plan it to reach out to my tenant (After I received the promised rent tomorrow) and try and work with her for future months.  I may need to take action and am preparing for that.

I will keep this tread updated-  Maybe it will help someone down the road.


3 1/2 years and counting

surfhb

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Re: Rent late again!
« Reply #10 on: October 30, 2017, 09:26:19 PM »
Take this as a good lesson.   Shouldn't you already know the answers to all those questions before you ever consider being a landlord?

I'd call a lawyer today and evict her immediately......You have every right to do this!      Why would you have compassion for someone who is purposely costing you money?    You are a business, not a charity. 

MommyCake

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Re: Rent late again!
« Reply #11 on: October 31, 2017, 05:49:36 AM »
http://www.ag.state.mn.us/Brochures/pubLandlordTenants.pdf

Please see above, it has a lot of useful info. 

You don't need to spend money on a lawyer to evict someone.  Familiarize yourself with the laws and you can do it yourself.  It is very difficult, if not impossible, to evict someone for consistent late payments.  Once you accept the rent payment, you generally cannot evict.  The way around this is to document the incidents in a notice to the tenant, and let them know that the next late payment will NOT be accepted - you will simply start eviction process.  Then if/when they are late again, you file the complaint. 

I think you simply started off on the wrong foot with the tenant.  You give an inch and they take a mile.  Try being firm, and charge the late fee next time.  If that doesn't change the behavior, evict. 

On another note, I don't really think hospitalization is a good excuse two months in a row, especially considering she failed to contact you to let you know.  If she were responsible and courteous, she would have called you in advance of the being late to explain. 

Kroaler

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Re: Rent late again!
« Reply #12 on: October 31, 2017, 06:28:12 AM »
I dont have rentals but have done lots of reading. 


Heres what I would have done in the situation and plan to be my operating model.

ALWAYS collect the maximum late fee. - If they continue to pay late, more money in my pocket.

In my state eviction can be started by filing paperwork yourself and also cancelled.  EVERY time rent was late I would file for eviction on the 1st legal date.

In addition to late fee there would be an eviction cancellation charge, otherwise the eviction stands. 


That (assuming legal) is how I plan to operate, especially with a new tenant.     



My answer would be different if this was a multi year good tenant. 



lexde

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Re: Rent late again!
« Reply #13 on: October 31, 2017, 07:04:04 AM »
I’d charge the late fees regardless and ask for proof of hospitalization to avoid starting the eviction process. If she’s already doing this now it isn’t going to get better toward the end of the lease term. I’m pretty cynical about this sort of thing though so do what best suits your situation. I would waive a late fee once as a courtesy but not again after that. People are quick to cry wolf and take advantage in my experience.

Bourbon

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Re: Rent late again!
« Reply #14 on: October 31, 2017, 07:34:49 AM »
I typically give one free pass, and make that clear to them when I am doing so.  The next time late fees apply.  Currently using a flat fee for late with additional charges for each day late.

CrazyIT

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Re: Rent late again!
« Reply #15 on: October 31, 2017, 10:37:35 AM »
http://www.ag.state.mn.us/Brochures/pubLandlordTenants.pdf

Please see above, it has a lot of useful info. 

You don't need to spend money on a lawyer to evict someone.  Familiarize yourself with the laws and you can do it yourself.  It is very difficult, if not impossible, to evict someone for consistent late payments.  Once you accept the rent payment, you generally cannot evict.  The way around this is to document the incidents in a notice to the tenant, and let them know that the next late payment will NOT be accepted - you will simply start eviction process.  Then if/when they are late again, you file the complaint. 

I think you simply started off on the wrong foot with the tenant.  You give an inch and they take a mile.  Try being firm, and charge the late fee next time.  If that doesn't change the behavior, evict. 

On another note, I don't really think hospitalization is a good excuse two months in a row, especially considering she failed to contact you to let you know.  If she were responsible and courteous, she would have called you in advance of the being late to explain.

Thank you MommyCake

This is really the best answer/advice I have seen regarding my scenario. 

I appreciate everyone's reply's but certainly starting the eviction process is complicated and costly.

I am in the process of constructing her a letter regarding enforcing my late fee and process moving forward.

3 1/2 years and counting

acroy

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Re: Rent late again!
« Reply #16 on: October 31, 2017, 10:46:30 AM »
ouch, sorry to hear.

I agree, this type of behavior will be standard operating procedure for your tenant. some people are just flakes. Always an an excuse, never their fault...

Disclaimer: I've have never been a landlord; drawing on my pal's experience, who has been renting out 3 houses for the last 10yrs or so.
- very clear late terms in the contract
- enforced with iron disciple. Nicely, sympathetically, but iron.

He has had to evict once or twice, and it has always happened within the first 6 months.

good luck!
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the_fella

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Re: Rent late again!
« Reply #17 on: November 02, 2017, 07:09:22 PM »
Wasn't expecting that type of reply?

The late fee I charge is 8%.  That's the max i can legally collect.

Thank you; I have plenty of index funds.  Pre and post tax.  but good for you...

I didn't know late fees are regulated by law. My landlady charges $50/day.

Kroaler

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Re: Rent late again!
« Reply #18 on: November 02, 2017, 07:50:29 PM »
Wasn't expecting that type of reply?

The late fee I charge is 8%.  That's the max i can legally collect.

Thank you; I have plenty of index funds.  Pre and post tax.  but good for you...

I didn't know late fees are regulated by law. My landlady charges $50/day.

Most states have a tenant landlord legislature that spells out the mins and max for everything along with other applicable rules.

If you get bored look yours up, 50$ seems high.

Megma

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Re: Rent late again!
« Reply #19 on: November 03, 2017, 08:25:45 AM »
Have you considered moving to an online payment system? This might help "forgetful" tenants (if she doesn't have the money it won't help of course). I use Cozy.co after seeing it recommended here, it's free for rent collection. My tenants can set it up to auto-pay.

I will also add because they payments are automatic, I text them on the 1st if they haven't paid, not the 5th. Rent is due the 1st, yes it's late after the 5th and they will pay a late fee but it's due on the 1st and they should have paid on the 1st.
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CrazyIT

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Re: Rent late again!
« Reply #20 on: November 03, 2017, 12:48:23 PM »
Update: OP here

So that tenant texted me and told me and said the refrigerator was acting up and she had the rent for me.  I'm thinking:  Good opportunity for me to see whats going on there.

I told her I would stop by on my way home from work and take a look (even though they don't pay the rent you still need to maintain the property).  I stopped in and she met me at the door (she clearly was in some pain).  The house was clean and well kept.  I went and looked at the refrigerator and found the compressor fan was not working.  I was able to get it fixed with a little oil.

She did indeed have my rent with late payment.  She clearly is having some medical issues.  She could barely move without being in pain and can't drive.  She explained how sorry she was being late and was embarrassed for the situation she was in.  She told me the reason she didn't get back to me is because she was working with her employer to get short term disability and she had been getting the runaround and wanted to straiten that out before she could promise paying the rent.  All stories seemed legitimate to me.

I own rental properties for the extra income but I also believe I am helping supply affordable housing. 

In this case I am glad I didn't do anything in haste.   Maybe she will turn out to be a great tenant?  time will tell
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Aimza

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Re: Rent late again!
« Reply #21 on: November 03, 2017, 03:02:29 PM »
Good luck. My advice is since she seems to be paying and trying to be a fairly good tenant, don't evict until she misses rent completely. As long as you are collecting full rent and the late fee, you'll be okay. Don't let a sob story take away your income though.

It's obviously just annoying to deal with late rent. I personally evicted my last tenants because of constantly late rent but they were also not nice people and the rent was also way under market value.

In the end, it cost me $20k to renovate the crappy apartment so that I could get in better quality tenants, but it was worth it to have the rent paid on the 1st of every month. I also implemented a per day late fee which I didn't have with the previous tenants.

2microsNH

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Re: Rent late again!
« Reply #22 on: November 04, 2017, 04:16:44 AM »
Sounds to me like your tenant gets paid mid-month and is afraid to ask you whether you will move the rent due-date to mid-month. Have you tried asking her whether the 15th of each month is a more workable due-date for her? If you can work with this, it may save you the headaches.

HawkeyeNFO

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Re: Rent late again!
« Reply #23 on: November 10, 2017, 07:25:07 PM »
I own rental properties for the extra income but I also believe I am helping supply affordable housing.

Need to decide if you are a charity or a landlord.

elaine amj

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Re: Rent late again!
« Reply #24 on: November 11, 2017, 07:34:19 AM »
We had late payment by our current tenant a few months in. Also hospitalization.  We accepted a really late payment that month and also a month or two after. She ended up asking (and we agreed) to move her payment to the 3rd week of the month. She has paid more or less consistently since then although occasionally we have to shoot her a text. In September, she was $150 short but explained it and a week later, made it up.

She has now been our tenant for a year or so and overall been a good tenant. The place is clean, she advocated for us when our (new) property manager was fleecing us, and she also self-manages the property in a way. My DH's own health issues has made it difficult for us to maintain the property ourselves so she deals with the various tradespeople for us. We were nervous about this but so far she has been honest and transparent in doing this (all her quotes have been for less than our previous property manager charged and of course, she has a vested interest in the job being done right).

That all said, we are not poster children for business - minded landlords. We tend to be bleeding hearts and have used the house as a charity before (previous tenant paid very little rent until she eventually passed away from cancer).

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Kroaler

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Re: Rent late again!
« Reply #25 on: November 11, 2017, 08:04:09 AM »
Tenant with cancer - Im truly terrified of that one.

I think I would rather a meth lab, or fire or something.   It would be less devastating to me in the long run...

elaine amj

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Re: Rent late again!
« Reply #26 on: November 11, 2017, 12:36:03 PM »
Tenant with cancer - Im truly terrified of that one.

I think I would rather a meth lab, or fire or something.   It would be less devastating to me in the long run...
LOL! It was certainly a financial cost to us. She had been a good tenant before so we were willing to do this for her and considered it just part of our charitable giving. Looking back, I am happy we were able to bless her in a tangible way. I will say that we did check on her story to confirm it since we have been scammed in the past by someone (not a tenant) faking cancer.

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montecristo1985

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Re: Rent late again!
« Reply #27 on: November 13, 2017, 09:40:44 AM »
I do rentals out of my excess, so I'm not super hard-nosed about late fees, especially if I know they had a legitimate emergency.  If they get all casual about it, then I'll start requiring it.  It sounds like you are getting there, especially as this hospitalization seems to have effected their timing on paying the rent, but not their ability. As for eviction, my rule is usually two months behinds, just because at that point it is cheaper to just move than to pay the current landlord. 

Another thing to consider is getting them set up on auto-draft, if this is truly just a problem of "forgetting".  Maybe ask them about that in the discussion on future late fees.

Goldielocks

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Re: Rent late again!
« Reply #28 on: November 18, 2017, 10:22:34 PM »
If your tenant is trying to get onto LTD,,,, the rent may be too high for her to manage in future.

It is not a help for someone to live in a place that takes ALL of their income.

You need to ask her if she can still afford the place.  Straight out tell her that she can't if  you find out her income will be less than 3x the rent.  If so, offer to help her physically with moving, and she what she says.   Remind her that you want to help, but will need to start processing the late payment notices the next time.  Asking to move the rental due date is a good idea too.

freedcorporateslave

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Re: Rent late again!
« Reply #29 on: November 19, 2017, 09:58:50 AM »
When I read your first post I thought landlording is not for you if late rent bothers you so much! Then when I got to your last update I was happy to see you have a handle on the situation.

I bet you are a real upstanding and responsible guy. You make sound financial decisions, have adequate savings, and would never be late on paying a bill. It is going to be hard for you to understand how someone could be late on rent. It happens. With some people it will happen often. But as long as they take care of the place and always pay is it really worth the trouble of evicting them?

In this case I am glad I didn't do anything in haste.   Maybe she will turn out to be a great tenant?  time will tell

You have some good advice from others here, but your own conclusion is the best. The only thing I would add is next time rent is late, take a deep breath (or 2 or 3!). Wait a few days. If it is still late don't e-mail, don't text. Pick up the phone or drop by and say hi. Both of you will be able to understand each other a lot better with an interactive conversation than impersonal texts. But something about your last post tells me you figured that out already too...

Enigma

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Re: Rent late again!
« Reply #30 on: November 19, 2017, 10:38:33 PM »
I charge a late fee for late renters and have 27 units.  I will say that there are some people that don't care about the late fee and every payment they do is after the deadline.  It seems to becoming a more common issue with the younger crowd.  They are too busy to remember to pay rent doesn't necessarily mean they don't have the money or don't intend to pay.  I knew an individual that every bill they paid was included a late fee (electric, water, gas, rent, etc).  They were stacked and just forgetful.

With that all being said.  I do not get worried when a renter is late on their payments.  I send them a notice 5 days before rent is due, a notice on the 6th that they owe rent and a late fee.  If they do not pay anytime after I send them a certified letter (IAW TN Statutes) then file at the courthouse for eviction usually around the 20th.  The security deposit helps cover some of the expenses between.

A month after they have been evicted I used 'rentrecoveryservice.com' and put them into collections owning me back rent at $16.95 flat fee.

My late fee is 10% IAW Tennessee Code 66-28-201(d)
 (2017 Minnesota Statutes (504B.177 LATE FEES) 8% max)
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Dicey

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Re: Rent late again!
« Reply #31 on: November 19, 2017, 11:35:52 PM »
Iíd charge the late fees regardless and ask for proof of hospitalization to avoid starting the eviction process. If sheís already doing this now it isnít going to get better toward the end of the lease term. Iím pretty cynical about this sort of thing though so do what best suits your situation. I would waive a late fee once as a courtesy but not again after that. People are quick to cry wolf and take advantage in my experience.
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clarkfan1979

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Re: Rent late again!
« Reply #32 on: November 24, 2017, 11:03:12 AM »
I wouldn't be as active in trying to collect the rent. If they don't pay then I would just start the eviction process. Some of my tenants consistently pay late. One tenant consistently pays around the 5th to the 10th. However, I don't do anything to track him down. He always pays even though it's consistently a few days late. I try to be as passive as possible with my landlording.

cliff

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Re: Rent late again!
« Reply #33 on: November 26, 2017, 09:52:35 PM »
For moving forward, when your lease comes time to renew or you have a new tenant consider setting a somewhat higher rent with a discount for early payment -amounts as you see fit.  That way tenants get rewarded for paying you before the 1st and are eager to pay you quickly.

I’d still suggest charging the late fee after granting a one-time courtesy pass if you are on somewhat personal terms.  After the free pass, sending the notice as required by your state’s eviction law as soon as they are late each subsequent time if you are able to send it yourself.  Your judgement call, though, if you have to pay hundreds as you mention.



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adamcollin

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Re: Rent late again!
« Reply #34 on: November 27, 2017, 12:31:18 AM »
Just hope she pays the rent on time this time! Do keep us informed CrazyIT.
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