My Tenant Has Stopped Paying Rent

This is an extremely common problem for landlords, especially in an economic climate where unemployment is rising and the general cost of living is rising. More and more tenants are starting to fall into arrears, and it’s a massive problem for landlords.

What should I do if my tenant stops paying rent?
1) Communication is key

Most importantly, you need to talk to your tenant. As soon as your tenant falls into arrears, you should try to contact your tenant either by letter, a phone call, or even a visit. The issue is best dealt with sooner rather than later.

If you let the situation drag on for months, hoping that the tenant will pay, the rent arrears may eventually spiral out of control, to the point where the tenant will never be able to pay them. Additionally, if they know you will be on to them quickly, they are more likely to give their rent payments priority.

2) Come to an agreement with your tenant

Trying to resolve the issue with your tenant directly should be the main focus; court action should always be the last resort.

Perhaps you can allow the tenant to pay more frequently in smaller payments or perhaps, in the case of a good tenant you would be sorry to lose, you can give a small rent reduction.

3) Put any agreement in writing

If you come to some form of compromise with your tenant, you should put it in writing. A letter setting out the agreement, including any relevant dates, and what will happen if the tenant fails to comply, will be sufficient.

4) If your tenant has fallen 2 months in arrears without making any payments

If you can’t come to some form of agreement and your tenant has fallen in arrears by 2 months or more, then you have suitable grounds to Evict your tenant.

Extra Tips for landlords that have tenants in arrears
Landlord Insurance

Check your Landlord Insurance Policy to see if you are covered for a tenant defaulting on payment.

Tenant Guarantor

If the tenant has a Guarantor, then contact them and advise them in writing and by phone that the tenant has defaulted.

They will legally be responsible for covering the tenants arrears if the tenants refuses to pay.

Tenant Eviction Professionals

Evicting tenants can be a lengthy and complicated process. If you’re uncertain of the law and procedures, it might be worth getting in touch with a Tenant Eviction Professional.

Taking the professional route may sound expensive, but it can actually work out to be the cheaper option because professionals know what they’re doing and they generally work fast. Plus, it takes away a lot of the stress from the landlord.

“My Tenant Has Stopped Paying Rent” Comedy Sketch

I can’t remember why or how, but i’m thanking fate for the cinematic treasure I stumbled upon earlier today. I came accross a humorous Tenant Vs Landlord comedy sketch, which you can watch below.

Will Ferrell plays a tenant that can’t pay his rent on time, as a result, his frustrated landlord, Pearl, doesn’t take the news lightly, consequently uses lines like, “You pay now, bitch”, in attempt to persuade Will.

I can appreciate Pearl’s situation. I’ve been in that situation, and I’ve had to mutter the words, “You pay now, bitch” a few times. Pearl hit the nail on the head a few times, and I’m sure any Landlord that has been in this situation can appreciate the following lines…

I’m tired of this crap

I work too hard

I want my money

I want my money, bitch

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4 Comments- join the conversation...

Guest Avatar
Amarjit Singh Kullar 22nd September, 2009 @ 17:15

Sometimes it happens like the owner of the p[roperties of the residential properties become tesnsed up. But not always.

Guest Avatar
Phil 23rd September, 2009 @ 09:54

I have an ongoing problem with tenants that were given their statutory 2 months notice as I was moving back into my property. On the first month of the notice the payment collected via letting agent (wasters)were not in full and I had to chase the agents to find out why!! Then the tenants disappeared the first week into the last month and refused to pay the rent. On visiting the property I can see why as they knew they had no way of getting their deposit back!! They redecorated the house top to bottom badly and in really shit colours.They had gone into the main ring of the electrics and re-routed wiring adding sockets, it was all very dodgy!! They had thrown away a couple of items of furniture I had left in the house, broken glass, boiler wasnt working. And now I have nothing but hassle from debt collectors for unpaid parking fines for cars registered at my house in numerous names!! And I thought employing a Letting Agent to manage my property whilst working abroad would be a good wrong can you be!! The agents were writing saying they had inspected the property and it was being well looked after and if it wasnt for a friend contacting me saying the house looked empty I would not have known they had buggered off!! The agents didnt know and have been totally useless!! Even now they are supposedly trying to get the deposit back from the DPS and they have cocked that up by submitting the final comments and reports over a week past the deadline. Where do I go from here? any advice would be welcomed :-) Sorry for the long message, but as far as Im concerned the tenants I had are scum!! And as for the agents Ive been thinking of all sorts of ways I could get my own back, again any suggestions most welcomed.

Guest Avatar
Jas 23rd September, 2009 @ 11:07

You should look at taking the letting agents to court for negligence and due care. Basically, look to seek costs from them rather then the tenant directly as they were hired to perform full management. Read your contract with them in properly to see what they should have and not have been doing etc. All correspondence with them etc. Speak with a solicitor to see if you have a case.

Guest Avatar
Phil 23rd September, 2009 @ 12:00

I have been considering taking the letting agents to court, but I was only paying 10% this was for finding a tenant and rent collection, which they failed to do on the last month. I had a friend of the family who is a barrister look over the contract with the letting agents, but he seems to think its all a bit open ended with regards to any liability on their behalf. They are a well known Estate/Letting Agents in my area, but its only when things go wrong you discover they dont even belong to any professional organisation such as ARLA. I have all the correspondence with them as things started to go wrong after the first 6 months letting agreement. It transpired that a full referencing and credit checks were not done because the tenants originally paid six months in advance. By this time I had already gone to NZ. By the second term they could only pay 4 months and eventually only month to month. I asked about Rental Warranty and was told I would not qualify for this as the tenants would not have met the required criteria. Its cost me about £3000 to put the house right and now the tenants are trying claim most of the deposit back via the DPS. I am now waiting a decision from the ARD on this.


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