Having tenants who pay their rent is important. Not only can it become very expensive for landlords when tenants do not do this, but it is also apart of the lease agreement.
When your tenants don’t pay rent it can be difficult to know what to do. Sometimes you hesitate to take action in the hope that the money will show up soon. Other times you are unsure what action you can actually take. So, if your tenant does happen to fall behind in rent, here are a few things you can do to sort out the situation.
Get in contact with them
If this is the first time this has happened then it’s worth flicking them a message or giving them a call to ask what’s going on. It might simply be a case of a slow bank transfer, or maybe they’ve genuinely forgotten.
If that isn’t the case and they simply cannot make the payment then you might want to organise something like a payment plan. Organise adding an extra amount from this week’s rent to every rent payment of theirs for the next few weeks. That way they can eventually pay everything off and you won’t need to deal with evictions or the hassle of finding another tenant. If you do this, remember to create an agreement in writing that you both sign.
14-day notice to remedy
Sending your tenant a letter via email or the post is the next step you want to take. Remember that the letter can only be through email if their email address is on the tenancy agreement in order to know that they would receive the message.
In the letter, you want to state the breach by the tenant (unpaid rent) and what they can do to remedy this (what options there are for repaying this). You then need to state that if the issue is not remedied within 14 days, or if you do not hear a response within 14 days, the matter will be taken to the Tenancy Tribunal.
It is important to send this letter as soon as possible. This is because the longer you leave it, the longer you will have to wait to take the issue to the Tribunal, and in these situations time equals money.
To write your 14-day notice to remedy, you can use the 14-day notice to remedy template created by Tenancy Services.
FastTrack Resolution is a service provided by Tenancy Services. It is very much a self-resolution based service and it is a lot less stressful than having to go to the Tenancy Tribunal. This response is suitable if you and your tenant come to your own resolution of repaying rent without the need for a mediator.
Basically you need to create an agreement with your tenant that outlines:
- the outstanding rent amount
- details of how this amount will be repaid
- the date repayments will start, and
- the consequences if any payments are missed.
Then once you have told your tenant that the agreement will be formalised by FastTrack you can do this by sending it here. Remember to include contact details for your tenant so the mediator can contact them to ensure they understand and agree to all of the conditions.
Once they do the mediator will go ahead and record the agreement and notify parties that it has been formalised. This means you now have an enforceable and legally binding agreement without needing to go through the mediation process that the Tenancy Tribunal option would entail. For more information about FastTrack, see here.
If you are unable to sort the issue out among yourselves and the 14-day notice is up, it’s time to take it to the Tenancy Tribunal. Here a mediator will help to find a fair and legal solution that may involve the tenant paying rent as usual plus a little extra until the late rent is remedied. If the tenant breaches this ruling then the tenancy may be ended.
To find out how to file a case with the Tenancy Tribunal, see here.
If your tenant is 21 days (3 weeks) behind on rent and:
- you haven’t been to the Tenancy Tribunal
- you are not prepared to keep chasing them
then it’s worth thinking about eviction. This obviously is not the ideal outcome for any landlord but if your tenants aren’t paying rent then you are losing money.
In order to lawfully evict tenants in this case, you will need to:
- contact the Tenancy Tribunal and
- apply to have your tenants evicted.
You cannot evict tenants yourself. For more information on the eviction process, see here.