Bad tenants are a problem not only for you, but also for your property. There are a lot of reckless people out there who are willing to take advantage of rental property owners. They don’t pay rent on time and sometimes they don’t pay at all. They don’t take care of the property. Sometimes, they violate the lease agreement, moving in unauthorized pets and people or smoking marijuana inside the home despite your lease agreement prohibiting it.
This is why professional Irvine property management is so important. You need an experienced professional in place to screen tenants well, thus avoiding these problem renters. The short term financial problems caused by unpaid rent and other issues never go away. They simply snowball into bigger problems that are harder to fix.
Here’s what you can do when your bad tenants – or even your otherwise good tenants – fail to pay rent.
Set Rent Collection Policies and Expectations in the Lease Agreement
First, you need to make sure you have a strong rent collection policy in place. It should be included in your lease agreement and discussed before tenants move in.
Talk about when rent is due, how you expect it to be paid, and what the consequences are if it’s paid late. When you offer your tenants a variety of ways to pay rent, you’re more likely to get it in on time. Offer online or electronic rental payments, let them know if you have a grace period, and explain how the late fees work if rent isn’t paid on the day that it’s due.
Contact Your Tenant Regarding Late Rent
When rent is officially late and any grace period has expired, contact your tenant. Remind them that rent has not been paid and the account needs to be brought up to date immediately to avoid further collection activities that may result in eviction.
Sometimes, tenants will simply forget. Your reminder will trigger them into paying, and you won’t have to worry.
Work with tenants willing to communicate with you. Perhaps they’re having a bad month financially and need a little extra time to come up with the rent. This isn’t ideal, but working out a payment arrangement and agreement is often better than eviction.
When tenants aren’t willing to communicate, and you cannot seem to get an answer on when rent will be paid, you’ll need to take additional legal steps.
Serve a Three Day Notice on Irvine Tenants
California now has a just-cause eviction requirement. Luckily, nonpayment of rent is considered a just cause for evicting your tenants and regaining possession of your property.
Serve your tenants with a Three Day Notice to Pay or Quit. This notifies the tenants that they have three days to catch up with their rental payment or move out of the property. You have to allow for three full business days, and after that time period has passed, you’re permitted to file an unlawful detainer lawsuit in the court system.
Usually, your tenants will catch up with the rent within the three days because they don’t want the eviction to go any further. Sometimes, they’ll contact you and ask for extra time. There’s nothing wrong with agreeing to a payment arrangement, but make sure you put it in writing. We also recommend that you continue with the eviction process even if you’re expecting a payment in a week or two. This protects you and the process if your tenants default on their agreement or don’t keep their promise.
Unlawful Detainer Action
After you file for the unlawful detainer, your tenants will be served a Summons and Complaint. They will have the opportunity to respond, and a court date will be set. Sometimes, the tenants don’t show up and you win your case by default. Sometimes, the judge orders you to mediation, where you and your tenant will have to agree on an outcome. Maybe they can put together a payment arrangement if they want to stay or maybe you can agree that they’ll be out in 10 days.
Avoiding eviction is always the best way to go, and good Irvine property managers will do their due diligence while screening potential tenants to ensure they’re not placing someone with a history of late payments. As the California courts still recover from eviction moratoriums, they’re going to be busy.
If your tenant isn’t paying rent, don’t wait too long to take action. We can help. Contact our team at HCM Property Management.