In today’s blog, we’re talking about what you should do if your tenant stops paying rent. This can be a stressful experience for landlords, especially when you have your own mortgage and other expenses to cover with that rental income. Make sure your lease explicitly states when rent is due, how it should be paid and what the consequences are for late payments. When all of this information is shared with tenants before they even move in, there should be no excuses for late payment or non-payment.

Three Day Notice

Your first step is to serve your tenants with a Three Day Notice. As soon as rent is late, you need to deliver this notice to the tenant so they know their options are to pay what they owe or vacate the property. The Three Day Notice is a legal notice that starts the eviction process. Even if you don’t plan to go through with an eviction, or your tenants have promised to pay you in a week, serve the Three Day Notice anyway. Time is of the essence when tenants aren’t paying, so you want to get the process started immediately.

Tenant Communication

Try to find out why rent is late and when your tenants plan to pay. Make a friendly phone call or send an email. Sometimes, unexpected things happen and even the best tenants are faced with financial circumstances that require a little extra money management. If something catastrophic has happened like a job loss or a major illness and the tenants don’t think they’ll be able to catch up with rent, you might want to talk about having them vacate in lieu of an eviction. This gets them out of the property quickly and keeps your property in good condition. You’re spared the cost of an eviction and you can start looking for new tenants immediately.


In worst case scenarios, an eviction may be your only option. When the tenants refuse to talk to you or they won’t pay rent, you need to file in court for an eviction. This process can be expensive and time consuming if you don’t know what you’re doing. We strongly recommend that you talk to a property manager or an attorney who is experienced in landlord tenant law.

The best way to avoid evictions and chasing down late rent payments is with thorough tenant screening. When you have a high quality tenant in place, you rarely have to worry that rent isn’t going to be paid on time.

If you have any questions or you need help with a tenant who is not paying, please contact us at Legends Realty, and we’d be happy to help you.