A late rent notice is a document a landlord uses to notify a tenant of overdue rent. The late rent notice’s main aim is to request the payment of the overdue rent formally.
It contains details on the amount due, late fees incurred by the tenant, and when the payment is due. The lease and the state laws will determine if a late fee is charged and how much the landlord is allowed to charge the tenant.
The landlord sends the late rent notice to ensure that there is evidence or a record of formal communication concerning the past due rent in the event that legal action against the tenant is necessary. It also helps the landlord reinforce the importance of making timely payments. The landlord should consider whether or not this is a recurring behavior with a tenant before sending the notice.
A tenant that is late for the first time should receive a late rent notice to act as a reminder; however, this is a recurring problem, then the notice to pay rent or Quit or an Eviction notice should be sent to help end the lease agreement with the tenant. The state and local housing laws will help the landlord determine how long the tenant has to either pay or leave the property.
The landlord can make the process of demanding for late rent payment easier by ensuring that the terms of the rent payment are clear, the tenant receives an early reminder to make their rent payment, the late payment notice is sent at the appropriate time, and quick action is taken if the tenant does not comply.
The late rent notice can also be referred to as a notice to pay rent, failure to pay rent notice, demand for payment of rent, demand notice for nonpayment of rent, notice to cure, demand for past due rent, and notice to demand payment for failure to pay rent.
When Should You Send the Late Rent Notice?
The late rent notice should be sent depending on what is stipulated in the local laws and the lease agreement terms. Usually, landlords send the notice soon after the due date to give the tenant a chance to make the necessary payment before a late fee is charged. The notice can also be sent five to seven days before the landlord starts to charge a late fee. The late fee charged will depend on the state regulations; for instance, some states allow landlords to charge a set fee while others permit a specific percentage of the rent to be charged.
The landlord should send a 3-day pay or quit notice in the event the tenant does not pay the due rent after the late rent notice is sent. Some states require a late rent notice to be sent so as to act as a formal warning before any other notice is served. In other states like California, the landlord can send a 5-day pay or quit notice.
If the tenant fails to make payment, the landlord can opt to begin the eviction process. Before the eviction process starts, the landlord should consult state and local housing laws to ensure that the eviction notice is sent at the appropriate period. Though most states require the eviction notice to be sent in 3 to 5 days for late rent payment, others require a 10 to 14-day notice, with the longest being the 30-day minimum required by the District of Colombia. Some states leave the decision to the landlord and tenant, who are required to indicate it in the lease agreement.
But, How Does it Work?
The landlord should follow well laid out step by step process when sending any kind of notice to the tenant. The process aims to ensure that there are no issues related to the notice itself. It also aims to ensure that the notice is sent within the confines of the law.
The process includes the following steps:
Step 1: Check applicable laws
The landlord should start by reviewing the local landlord-tenant laws regarding the type of notice that should be sent. The laws will help clarify which notice best suits the landlord’s situation. It also ensures that the actions taken by the landlord are supported by law.
Step 2: Check your lease agreement
Secondly, the landlord should confirm the lease agreement about late rent. If the lease agreement provides a specific process that should be followed, the landlord should adhere to it. The landlord should also check to confirm how many days grace period the tenant should receive
Step 3: Consult a local attorney
Thirdly, if the tenant withholds payment because of the landlord’s failure to uphold his/her obligations as stipulated in the lease agreement, then a local attorney should be consulted. A local attorney will help the landlord decide whether or not a late rent notice should be sent.
Step 4: Decide an appropriate day to serve the notice
The late rent notice should be sent on either the first or second day after the due date for rent payment. The notice will help remind the tenant that the rent was not paid on the due date. It should not threaten eviction or legal action, especially if it’s the first time a tenant has been late to make the rent payment. The landlord can send the pay or quit notice on the fourth day of an overdue payment.
Step 5: Choose a delivery method
Next, the landlord should send the late rent notice using the method indicated on the lease agreement. The notice can be sent in person, through an overnight courier service, or using certified/ registered mail. It is also crucial to check if the state recognizes email as an acceptable delivery method before using it.
Step 6: Refuse to accept partial payments
The landlord should only accept the full payment of the rent to avoid having to go through the same process again. It is important to be strict about the payment, especially if this is a recurring problem with a tenant. It also helps discourage a tenant from making any further late payments.
Step 7: Serve the notice
The landlord should then serve the late rent notice to the tenant. The name(s) of the tenant should be indicated in the notice to help show whom the landlord is referring to. The appropriate details should also be contained to avoid having to write another notice. Mailing the notice helps ensure that the landlord has proof the notice was sent, as the tenant must sign to receive it.
If the tenant has children, the landlord should ensure that an adult receives it to ensure that the tenant cannot deny that the late rent notice was sent. A copy of the late rent notice should be retained to be used later in court should the tenant fail to make the payment.
Step 8: Start the eviction process
If the tenant does make the payment, the landlord can commence with eviction. The landlord can take the matter to court if the tenant refuses to leave freely. The appropriate documentation should be presented to the court. The documents include the original 3-day notice to pay rent or quit, the original Declaration of Service with identical names and dates, a complete copy of the tenant’s application, a signed copy of the lease agreement, rent raise and change terms if the rent has been increased and a copy of any changes made to the lease agreement.
Late Rent Notice Examples
Following are a few examples of late rent notices:
What Should Be Included?
A late rent notice should contain adequate information to ensure it is informative. The components include in the notice also help ensure that the landlord’s message to the tenant is clear and to the point.
The following information should be outlined:
The notice should contain the address and location of the property. These details help identify which property the landlord is referring to. The landlord should ensure that the full address is indicated in the late rent notice.
Names of all tenants
The names of all residents living on the property should be indicated. It helps identify who the landlord is referring to in the notice. The names should also be the same as those indicated in the lease agreement.
Date of notice
The date when the notice was issued should be indicated. It helps show when the landlord sent the notice. It also helps to ease record-keeping in the event that more than one notice is sent.
Purpose of the notice
The landlord should indicate a short statement explaining why the notice has been issued. It helps explain the purpose of the notice to the tenant. The statement should be clear and straight to the point.
Rent amount due
The amount owed to the landlord should be indicated in the notice. It provides information on the total amount of money the landlord is should have received. The amount indicated should be the same as that what was outlined in the lease agreement.
Deadline for payment of rent is due
The deadline by which the amount was supposed to be paid should also be indicated in the late rent notice. It shows that the original date has passed.
Effective date for payment of new rent
The date by which the landlord expects the new rent to be paid should be indicated in the notice. The date indicated shows that the landlord has provided a clear timeline by which the tenant should clear the overdue debt.
Pending late rent fees
The landlord should indicate any late rent fee incurred by the tenant. The late fee charges are often stipulated in local and state housing laws. It should also be the same as what is indicated in the lease agreement.
Acceptable forms of payment
The landlord should also include acceptable forms of payment such as cash, credit card, among others. It is recommended that landlords select a form of payment that leaves a paper trail. It helps ensure that the landlord can provide proof of each payment made by the tenant.
Repercussions of failing to pay
A warning outlining the actions the landlord is likely to take if the tenant does not pay due rent as requested in the notice should be indicated. Indicating possible repercussions helps to motivate the tenant to make the payment as soon as possible. The repercussions indicated should align with what is stipulated in the lease agreement.
The landlord’s signature should be indicated at the end of the late rent notice. It shows that the landlord approves of the contents of the notice.
Late Rent Notice Templates
A late rent notice template is a useful tool that should be used when creating the notice. It eases the writing process by providing you with a predesigned format. It also provides you with a framework of the elements that should be included in the late rent notice. Using a template enables you to focus on writing a clear message to the tenant. There are free and customized templates to make the writing process more efficient.
Consequences of Not Using a Notice for Late Rent
Not using a notice to inform the tenant of late rent puts the landlord at risk of losing the money owed. The landlord is also likely to lose money from consulting an attorney or seeking the payment in a court of law. There is also the risk of losing time from constantly looking for the tenant or trying to remove the tenant from the property. Finally, not using a notice can result in emotional distress caused by continuously asking for the money owed.
Frequently Asked Questions
Depending on the method stipulated in the lease agreement, the late rent notice can be sent in person via an overnight courier service or certified mail. The best method is mailing it because it leaves a paper trail.
The landlord can either opt to send a pay or quit notice or commence with the process of eviction if the tenant continues to be late on rent payment. However, a lawyer should be consulted before any action is taken to ensure that the landlord complies with local law over the matter.
The pay or quit notice is a formal document that demands that the tenant either pays the due rent or vacate the property. It often acts as the landlord’s last warning before the eviction process begins; however, this is dependent on the state of law. It shows the tenant that the landlord can force him/her out of the property.
A 3 day or a 5 day pay or quit notice is used to give the tenant a specific period of time by which to either pay or vacate the premises. It is usually served before any eviction notice is served. It pushes that tenant to take the necessary actions as soon as possible or face the laid-out consequences.
No, the landlord should not accept partial rent payments. Accepting partial payment could lead to the landlord surrendering other rights stipulated in the local housing law. It can also lead to confusion on how much money is owed by the tenant.
A tenant can be 30 days late before an eviction notice is sent. It is therefore crucial that the landlord begins reminding the tenant as soon as the payment is delayed. In addition, sending notices to the tenant helps speed up the process of demanding payment.
The landlord should be consistent with the rules even around holidays. It helps ensure that the tenant does not take advantage of holidays by continually missing a rent payment. It also helps to ensure that other tenants don’t claim that the landlord favors one of them over the rest.
The landlord can evict a tenant for late payment. If the tenant receives a pay or quit notice and fails to make the payment, the landlord can evict the individual. The notice is applicable in most states.
Yes, a landlord can charge a flat fee for late rent. The flat fee charged may be regulated by the state. Often the flat fee charged is broken down and is added on each day the rent is not paid.
Late rent payments show up on a credit report if the rent payments are processed through the rent portal. The credit report used will determine how it appears. It may appear on a Vanguard score but not on a FICO score.