When to Send a Late Rent Notice
A past due rent notice, or late rent notice, is a document requesting that a tenant settle his or her financial
obligations due to non payment of rent. The notice is usually the first one to be given out once a rental
payment becomes even a day late. Because of this, a late rent payment letter is generally written in a gentle,
friendlier tone compared to further demand letters.
Most local laws give tenants around 5 to 7 days after their due date to pay rent before penalties, and the
landlord can legally apply late fees.
Once you have sent a late rent notice, the tenant is given ample time to try and resolve their due payments.
Landlords also have the option of sending out multiple letters to the tenant for late rent, especially if
However, if the tenant still can’t or refuses to pay rent, or is unresponsive, the landlord might switch to
sending a pay or quit notice. This is a step
up and more severe demand letter, which states that the landlord will take legal action if the tenant still
doesn't wholly pay his or her account.
Landlord tenant law states a landlord cannot jump to a court eviction
process without first sending a late rent and pay or quit notice.
There are many ways to create a late rent or pay or quit notice. You can find plenty of excellent sample
eviction notices for nonpayment of rent online. But the more convenient option is creating an AAOA account to
download the form listed above.
Consequences for Not Sending a Late Rent Notice
Late rent is a common problem most landlords face regularly. Fortunately, most of these situations resolve
themselves quickly. Maybe the tenant was too busy and simply forgot about their rent payment. It’s also possible
that they need an extra day or two to put the money together to settle their obligations.
A late rent notice helps remind the tenant of the obligations, without resorting to threats or demands. It’s
fast, easy to create (especially with the late payment notice template available from AAOA), and helps maintain
an amicable relationship between tenant and landlord.
The most significant consequence of not sending out a late rent notice is that you won't get paid. Going
through an eviction process costs a lot in attorney and court fees. That’s less money you collect, had you
just sent a simple late rent notice.
You also lose precious time in reminding a delinquent tenant or researching how to win an eviction case against
them. But most of all, you get the mental stress of having to ask someone for money continually. Plus, it
probably won't sit well with you that you're letting someone use your property for free, minimizing the chance
to earn money from your investment.
What if a Tent Continues To Be Late on Rent?
If the tenant still doesn’t or can’t pay with your first late rent notice, you can consider sending out a more
strongly worded notice. You can adopt a demand letter for unpaid rent and use it for your situation.
However, don't wait too long or spend too much time sending out late rent notices that don't register with your
tenant. If they still don't respond, it's time to send out a pay or quit notice. This is a letter threatening
legal action should rent still not be settled after a set number of days (usually 5).
Sometimes, tenants will compromise by offering partial rent payments. This could be better than nothing, but
note that such an arrangement could lead to confusion. Also, some states will waive certain rights if you
accept partial rent payments.
After the set number of days is up, you can now legally file an eviction lawsuit against the tenant with the
local court. If you win and have the legal documents to prove it, the state can now forcefully remove the
tenant from your property.
How to Handle Late Rent Around the Holidays
The holidays can be a time when everyone is busy or possibly out of town, or perhaps even burdened with an
additional expenses. If your tenant missed his or her rental payment, it's prudent to give them the opportunity
to explain and speak to them about their current financial situation. Maybe they have simply forgotten and have
every intention to pay.
In this case, a late rent notice is more useful than ever. It’s a more compassionate way to gently ask for
rental payment, without having to strain your relationship unnecessarily. Moreover, it will give you less
mental stress by not having to ask for money directly so that you can enjoy the holidays yourself.
A membership with American Apartment Owners Association gives you access to late rent notice templates,
tenant background checks, and rental documents to help you
manage your business better. Sign up for your account today!