There are many different reasons why renters quit paying. Tenants who either postpone paying their rent for months or outright refuse to do so frequently put landlords in this situation. So what do you do if your tenant defaults on their rent obligations?
Given that you must have your own financial obligations and expenses to take into account, it makes sense that you would feel frustrated. However, it might not be a good idea to argue with the tenant in this circumstance; instead, you should behave calmly but firmly. Remember that you must always follow the law when dealing with tenants who have stopped making rent payments to avoid future legal complications.
Respecting the law aids in settling the issue quickly and painlessly. Understanding the law is necessary in order to follow it, though.
Landlord's Legal Protections and/or Rights?
The rights and obligations of the landlord and tenant are governed by a unique set of laws in each state, but it is a general principle that landlords can charge rent for their properties and collect rent payments in accordance with a predetermined schedule.
If the renters choose to vacate the property, they must give the landlord due notice of their intention to do so. The ability to withhold rent even when there is a disagreement between the landlord and renter does not exist anywhere else in the world, though. The Citizen's Advice Bureau emphasizes that tenants cannot lawfully cease paying their rent and run the risk of being evicted if they do. By law, landlords are also permitted to investigate the renting history, including the means of rent payment, of their tenants, both current and potential. Rent arrears and/or property damage that might be recorded in the tenant's name might be checked by landlords. The knowledge is crucial for enhancing landlord-tenant relations.
Steps to be taken if the tenant stops making rent payments;
To be able to spot problems early on, you must first keep monitoring your bank account frequently. If it is established that your tenant is not paying rent, the first step in resolving the situation would be to learn the reason(s) behind this. Start gently but swiftly asking questions because the issue might be too straightforward for you to handle.
It could be, for example, any of the following;
- Miscommunication amongst co-tenants.
- Short-term cash flow problems.
- The rent has not been transferred by the tenant.
- The couple's divorce or separation.
On the other hand, the cause could be overly complex, such as any of the following;
- Employment loss.
- A hard long-term financial, professional, or personal situation that the tenant is dealing with, such as job stress.
- Alternatively, it might just be the case that your tenant refuses to pay the rent. In order to ensure your own financial security and mental well-being, you must address the situation as soon as you can.
How then should you approach this predicament? Here are some actions to take;
Reaching out to the Surety/Guarantor;
It would be a good idea to get in touch with the guarantor if there is a third party acting as your tenant's guarantee, such as a relative or close friend, who has promised to make up any missed rent payments if the renter fails to pay them. Share the problem with the third party. When a third party is involved, the issue is typically resolved swiftly; if not, take the required steps to collect the rent from the guarantor.
Regain control/Custody of your property;
A letter stating that you will be reclaiming ownership of your property if payment is not made within a week or by a certain date may be sent to the tenant after 21 days have passed without payment of rent. According to the Housing Act of 1988, landlords have the right to evict tenants who repeatedly miss deadlines by pursuing a certain legal procedure.
File an appeal for assistance in the court;
If your tenant ceased paying rent and you want to evict them, you have the right to seek the court to rule against the tenant on two counts: the rent that is owed and the costs incurred by the landlord to collect it. However, you must consider all factors before approaching the court, such as if the debt's quantity justifies the time, money, and effort required.
It is a known fact that dealing with a tenant who has failed to pay the rent can be incredibly stressful for landlords, whether they are novices or seasoned pros. You will eventually learn how to manage such obstinate tenants, though. Understanding the law will also be useful in finding a swift and peaceful solution to the problem. When the renter fails to pay the rent for the first time or begins to delay payments, you must pay attention to the situation and treat it seriously. Talk to your tenant right away to put a stop to this conduct before it develops into a habit and you have to wait longer and longer to get your rent.
Keeping track of all payments and contact between you and your tenant is essential to finding a solution. Start by giving the tenant a direct phone call to discuss the problem. Sending a written letter and keeping a copy of it on hand would also be a good option. If you ever find yourself in legal trouble, this will be useful.
If the landlord and tenant reach a resolution and the tenant agrees to make up any missed payments, make sure to maintain a written copy of the settlement agreement and mail it to the tenant. Don't forget to emphasize the repercussions of breaking the agreement. You won't ever run into a problem with a tenant who stopped paying rent if you are prudent and stringent in financial things, particularly rent payment.