Tenant not paying rent is one of every estate investor’s worst nightmares. No one wants to hear that his tenant has stopped paying rent. This is one reason why most property investors hire the services of a commercial property manager to help in dealing with tenants.
As a landlord, everything may seem great until your tenant stops paying rent. It is a very tricky situation, you will need to take actions to get your rent or get the tenant out of your property. However, certain actions can get you into trouble. Avoid taking any quick action on impulse until you’ve read this article or know what the law has to say about dealing with a situation where the tenant stops paying rent.
If you have a property in Glendale, San Fernando Valley or anywhere in California, the law is clear about dealing with such a situation. If you are not making use of a property manager for your property, you may need to get the services of an attorney with knowledge of California fair housing laws.
In the meantime, below are some steps you can take when your tenant stops paying rent.
- Talk With your Tenant
The first step is to have a heart-to-heart talk with your tenant. Visit the tenant in person to find out the reason why he stopped paying rent. It is a good thing to be friendly and understanding. However, the tenant needs to understand that this is a business for you, he needs to pay his rent or he can’t stay.
You need to let the tenant know that you will be issuing him a formal eviction notice. You can agree on a date to pay the rent or be evicted from the property.
- Issue a “Pay or Quit Notice”
California housing laws demand that landlord issue a “Notice to Pay or Quit” when your tenant stops paying rent. This letter is just a simple write-up that tells the tenant to pay before a certain date or move out of your property.
If the tenant fails to pay within the number of days stipulated in the notice, you can go ahead and formally terminate his agreement. He will lose the right to occupy the dwelling after terminating his agreement. After terminating their agreement and they still refuse to leave, you can file an action with California eviction court.
- File an Eviction Action
When your tenants stop paying rent and refuse to move out after terminating his agreement, you will need to file an eviction action.
Please note that you are not allowed to lock out a tenant or turn off essential utilities. After filing a legal action, you will pay the court fees and the administrator will schedule your hearing. This process normally takes between 2 and 6 weeks. In some cases, you may need to hire an attorney to defend you. Once you win your case, you will get the sheriff to remove the tenant by force.
- Cash For Keys: Pay Your Tenant to leave
This may sound far-fetched to most people but it is actually a great idea many people are using. Most people will wonder why they should pay their tenants when it should be tenants paying them. However, you can reason like a businessman in this case.
If your tenant refuse to leave the house, going to court will not only take a long time but also may leave you with bad reputation. If you really need them to leave as fast as possible, you can offer to give them some amount of money ($250 – $1,000) on the condition they leave your house immediately. However, before you use this option, you may need to check with your jurisdiction to know how long evictions usually take.
- Hire a Commercial Property Manager
The situation where tenant stops paying rent is common and you will have to face it as a landlord. Handling these cases demand experience and skill. Moreover, if you don’t have time or lacking experience, you will definitely need to get the services of commercial property management company.
A property manager is a neutral third-party with a system in place for handling unpleasant situations. They are experienced in this area and know no friend or foe. With a reliable property manager, you ensure you always have your rent and never have to deal with a stubborn or rogue tenant.