How to Send a Late Rent Notice
Sending a late rent notice when necessary is part of every landlord's responsibilities. While it may not be the best aspect of the job, late rent notices are important. They give a tenant one last chance to pay their rent before beginning formal eviction proceedings.
The laws dictating when a landlord should send a late rent notice and what procedures they should follow vary significantly from state to state. Knowing how to send official and informal overdue letters is an important part of a landlord's work.
When to Send a Late Rent Notice
When a landlord should send a late notice depends on several factors. In many states, it is customary for landlords to give a few different types of past due rent notices. The first notice is an informal letter advising the tenant that the rent is overdue and inquiring into what is causing the holdup.
The second notice is the formal “pay rent or quit” notification of the amount due. This notice states the consequences that will occur if they do not pay by the final due date. This is the official beginning of the eviction process.
Landlords should send an informal rent past due notice to the tenant as soon as it becomes clear that the rent is late. This is important because it helps the landlord establish the expectation that rent payments are on a strict schedule and that non-payment will be noted immediately. This inquiry can be friendlier in nature and can include the same basic information as the formal notice that will be sent out a few days later if no payment is made.
How long to wait before sending a formal notice depends on where the landlord and tenant live. Most states have strict rules governing the process of eviction that begin with the delivery of the pay or quit notice. Landlords are generally required to wait a few days up to a couple weeks before beginning this formal part of the process.
The amount of time a tenant has to respond to the notice before being asked to vacate the premises also varies across the country. New York tenants must respond within 14 days to avoid eviction, for example, while California tenants have just three days to pay late rent once the process has begun.
Legal Requirements for Sending a Notice of Late Rent
Landlords should consult their local unpaid rent and eviction laws for details on the specific steps they must take to legally send a late notice and file for the eviction of a tenant. It is imperative to follow these regulations to be able to lawfully evict a tenant without facing legal trouble later on. To understand how state laws can stipulate different processes for eviction, let's look at a few examples.
In Arizona, rent is due on the agreed upon due date regardless of the day of the week—no exceptions for Saturdays, Sundays or holidays. Landlords are legally able to issue the formal pay or quit notice the day after rent is late. This means that there is no state-mandated grace period allowing tenants to pay rent a few days late without facing eviction consequences. Once the landlord serves the tenant with the first formal notice, they have five days to pay the rent in full before the landlord can file for eviction in the local court.
The notice of late rent and eviction processes are similar in Texas, but they differ in some important ways. Texas landlords are not required by law to give their tenants a grace period from the time rent is overdue to the time they issue the quit or pay notice. However, Texas landlords can choose whether or not to give late tenants the ability to pay rent after the initial late notice is sent. Landlords can decide that the tenant will not receive a second chance to pay the rent and will instead be required to vacate the home.
Steps to Take to Send a Rent Past Due Letter
The basic process for sending a notice of past due rent is the same across the country. Landlords can use the following steps as an outline for what to do when a tenant is late on rent:
Make sure your information is correct. Double-check that the due date you had in mind is correct, and review the rules of the lease or rental agreement for late payments. If the lease stipulates that the tenant must pay a late fee for late payments, confirm the amount and conditions.
Check your account the day after rent is due to see if it has been paid. Most states do not legally require landlords to provide a grace period for late payments, but the industry standard gives tenants three to five days to make a late payment before eviction proceedings begin.
Communication is key. If a tenant is definitely late, reach out with an informal inquiry in-person or by letter or email. There may be a simple reason for the late payment, such as an incorrect bank number.
If no progress has been made with the original past due rent letter, begin the formal eviction process with a pay or quit notice. Remember, the exact steps a landlord must follow to legally evict a tenant vary from state to state. Familiarize yourself with your state's laws concerning mandatory grace periods, late fees, and decisions to evict. This notice can be drafted by the landlord's attorney, if applicable.
Draft a pay rent or quit notice and make copies. Keep the original for yourself. The notice should include the following elements:
Date of delivery
Names of all adults listed on contract
Total amount due, including the rent due, late fees and legal fees
Past due date and new due date (if applicable)
Acceptable methods of payment
The consequences for not making a payment
Signature of landlord
Deliver the rent due notice to the tenant by email or letter placed in their mailbox or taped on their door. Make sure you follow your state's process for the delivery of this notice. It is good practice to avoid handing this notice to any minors living in the property and to instead contact an adult residing on the premises.
Call the tenant once to inquire about the late payment. Calling more than once can be considered harassment and should be avoided. If you are able to talk to them, try to reach an agreement for payment of the amount due. Avoiding the court system is generally in everyone's best interest.
Wait the legal number of days for the tenant to make the rent payment in full. Agreeing to accept a partial rent payment will restart the official eviction process and may not be in the best interest of some landlords.
If the full rent payment plus fees due is not made by the new deadline, precede with the next steps for formal eviction.
Late Rent Payment Notice Template
Deciding how to word and deliver a past due rent notice to a late tenant is challenging for many landlords. Using a late rent letter template to draft the notice can help landlords fulfill their obligations without having to continuously review local laws or create new documents. As previously mentioned, it is necessary for landlords to review the conditions of their lease and state laws before creating a late rent letter or template. The following template can be customized for local laws and policies and then used as an outline for overdue rent notices:
Or download a word document sample here
Landlords should customize the above template to reflect their state's specific policies and their lease's stipulations. Questions about eviction laws can be directed to local legal organizations specializing in landlord and tenant rights. These groups exist in every state and generally provide free basic counseling to landlords in need of help.
How to send late rent notices from QuickBooks
A late rent notice is an effective way to notify your tenants that they have unpaid rent or past due rent. Unpaid rent is a significant source of pain for landlords. If you manage your rent and tenants in Quickbooks, we can help. Mailform's integration with Quickbooks is focused on solving this problem for small and medium sized landlords. Here's how it works:
- Log into Mailform (or create an account here: https://www.mailform.io/quickbooks.html))
- Sync your Mailform Account with Quickbooks. Mailform will automatically import your unpaid invoices and the addresses of those tenants.
- Choose which late rent notices you'd like to send.
- Select your print and mail options. For a late rent notice you can choose to print single vs. double sided, black and white vs in color, and whether you want to send your invoices via USPS Certified Mail (so you can get tracking numbers) 5. Hit ""Confirm"" That's it! All unpaid or past due rent notices are sent via USPS First Class Mail or Certified Mail. Try it now at https://www.mailform.io, or email email@example.com if you have questions, comments or suggestions!
How to send a past due rent notice via USPS Mail
- Head over to Mailform.io. No signup or account is needed
- Upload your late rent notice, then hit "Next"
- Enter the recipient address
- Enter your return address
- Select USPS Certified Mail. You'll get a tracking number, which you might want to keep as proof for later
- Hit send and pay
Email firstname.lastname@example.org with questions, comments or suggestions!