How Firm Should You be on Rent Collection and When Should You Commence Legal Action?

How Firm Should You be on Rent Collection and When Should You Commence Legal Action?
Annapolis

The eviction process can be costly and time-consuming for landlords and tenants alike. In many
cases, you can avoid rent collection issues by ensuring you choose quality tenants from the
start.

A property manager can simplify this process and greatly improve your chances of renting to
respectable tenants who are more likely to pay rent on time. However, even the best tenants
can encounter hardships such as a serious illness, job loss, or death in the family, that can affect
rent collection.

Some tips on handling rent collection issues

Below are tips on how to handle rent collection issues on residential properties:

Stick to a policy: Rent collection is one of the most important factors in residential
property management. The last thing you need to deal with is tracking down tenants
who forget or refuse to pay. As such, it’s important to create and follow a
comprehensive rent collection policy. An experienced property manager likely has an
effective formula for handling all types of rent related matters. For example, a typical
rent collection policy might be: rent is due on the 1st of the month, late fee applied on
the 6th of the month and failure to pay rent filed with the courts no later than the
10 th .Filing failure to rent with the courts is generally also the first step in eviction
proceedings.

Make your policy known to all tenants: Next, you must ensure that all tenants
understand your rent collection policy as well as the consequences of violating it. In
addition to verbally explaining your policy, be sure to provide tenants with a physical
and/or electronic printout that explains your policy and what will happen if tenants fail
to adhere to the provisions therein.

Understand state eviction rules: Every state has its own unique laws regarding how and
when landlords may seek legal action if a tenant fails to pay rent. In Maryland, if rent is
due on the 1 st of the month, it is legally late on the 2 nd . However, you have to allow a
five-day grace period before you can impose a penalty. The maximum late fee penalty in
Maryland is 5% of the monthly rent .

Make it easy for tenants to pay: By giving your tenants a variety of payment options,
you can reduce the chances that rent will be late. Allow electronic payments, partial
payments ahead of time (in line with their pay periods), partial payments from multiple
residents (roommate situation), and credit card payments (if possible).

Encourage tenants to set up automatic payments: During the lease signing, you should
encourage your tenants to set up automated monthly electronic payments. You may be
able to entice tenants to enroll in autopay by offering a small discount on the rent.

Reward consistent on-time rent payments: If you have a tenant who is always on time
and consistent with their rent, you may want to offer them a reward. For example, if a
tenant pays on time for 12 months in a row, you might reward them with a gift card at
the end of the year.

When it comes to rent collection issues, legal action should be a last resort. However, if a
tenant refuses to respond to late notices, phone calls, and other collection attempts, you may
be left with no choice. Yet it is vital that you retain a skilled attorney and proceed in a lawful
manner. The best way to avoid eviction issues in the first place is to hire a savvy property
manager to oversee your residential real estate.

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