This is an excellent read that applies to the Michigan rental market also. With so many former home owners now renting and with new investors now becoming landlords this article offers some great tips and advice for both tenants and landlords.
If you manage property at some point it will happen - tenants will be late paying rent. As long as there is communication between the tenant and landlord, most late rent issues can be worked out.
Tips for tenants:
- Be the first to call. Landlords are much more willing to work something out with you if you make the effort to contact them before they have to call you.
- Know the late fee agreement and assure your landlord you will follow it. If you are unable to meet the terms, ask your landlord to work out a different arrangement.
- Be prepared to give your landlord a definite date that you will have the rent - try not to be more than a few days late.
- If your circumstances are such that you've lost your job and will be unable to pay rent, just be honest and tell your landlord. Even though you know the outcome will be that you have to move - it's much easier to let the landlord know whats going on - a decent landlord will give you time and not start the eviction process.
Tips for landlords:
- If your tenant calls to say rent will be late - be understanding and don't get upset.
- If your tenant is generally a good tenant, compromise - extend the late fee grace period - then begin late fees if the tenant does not pay rent on the agreed upon extended day.
- Before imposing late fees, listen to the tenant and their reasons. Once a tenant left a message to tell me rent would be late and they would pay it a few days later. The rent never came, but they called back. When I asked the tenant what was going on, it turned out their child went to the emergency room and they had to pay a substantial co-pay. I did not impose any fees because sometimes, there really is a good reason.
- Think of an incentive for late-paying tenants. For example, after the first time a tenant is late, and has paid rent plus late fees, I give them a "one free late fee waived" coupon. They can only use it one time during the remainder of their lease. I've found it to be a good incentive because they don't want to use up their coupon!
No matter what you work out the most important things to remember are:
Tenants - call first and communicate! Landlords: be open, understanding and aim toward working something out!
This blog is written with my opinions and my opinions are presented with accuracy but not guarantees. Please talk to a professional before making any real estate, financial or agency decisions. Gabrielle Kamahele Rhind - 2011. If you want to reprint parts of this - just email me for my permission: TucsonsRealEstate@gmail.com.
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