There are a number of reasons rent might be paid late. Maybe the tenant is experiencing financial hardship or is out of a job. Maybe they’re on vacation and just forgot to pay. Regardless, there are certain actions that a property manager will take when rent isn’t paid on time. The first action is sending a late rent notice.
A late rent notice is a letter written by the property manager to the tenant, informing them rent is past due. The late rent notice requests payment immediately.
While you should take this letter seriously, it’s more informal than an eviction notice. It’s a courteous reminder that rent is past due. You can and should still pay rent. Be aware that you’ll probably be charged a late fee.
If the late rent notice is ignored, your property manager will likely start the eviction process after the late rent time period is up (usually three to five days).
A late rent notice can also be referred to as a:
The classic format of a late rent notice will include the location of the apartment, amount overdue, late fee amount, the date it’s due by, name of the tenant on the lease and the landlord or property manager’s name. If you receive a late rent notice, make sure to double-check the following:
Be sure your address with the correct unit is in this letter. You don’t want to be held responsible for someone else’s missed payment.
The amount overdue will be stated in this letter. Be sure the amount is the same as your recorder. If it differs, enquire why.
The late fee amount should be included in this letter. If the late fee doesn’t look correct, reference your lease to see what late fee payment you agreed to.
The late rent notice will have the date the rent is due. This late rent period typically lasts 3-5 days. If the due date passes without the rent paid in full, including the late fee, expect the eviction process to begin.
This letter will outline who is responsible for paying the late rent. All the tenants who are included in the lease will be listed on this late rent notice. If the tenant who owes their share of rent is not officially on the lease, those people officially on the lease will be held accountable.
Lastly, the property manager’s name and contact information will be on the late rent notice letter. It is a good idea to follow up with them to let them know you received the letter, and explain your situation if need-be.
Most late rent notices will look similar to this sample. Your property manager will fill out a template that has all the following information. If it’s missing any pertinent information, be sure to contact them for details.
Date (dd/mm/yyyy): _______________
Tenant’s name(s): _________________
Address of rental unit:
This notice is to inform you that we have not received your rent payment which was due on ___(insert date due)___. This payment is owed for the time period of ______ to ______.
According to the terms of your rental agreement, you are also responsible for a late rent fee of $______. In combination with the rent payment, the total amount of ________ is due by __(date)__.
Please send the total amount due to this address:
If you have any questions or believe this is a mistake, you can contact me at (___) ___-_____.
Landlord or property manager’s signature
Landlord or property manager’s printed name
A late rent notice will be delivered the day after your rent is due. When received, it will outline when the final payment is due. Depending on your state laws, the tenant has 3-5 days to pay late rent before the eviction process will officially begin.
There is no formal law that requires a property manager to deliver a late rent notice. It’s usually given out of courtesy. If you haven’t paid rent and don’t receive a late rent notice, you still owe the amount and could be evicted if it’s not paid in three to five days.
The method of delivery will be outlined in your lease. Traditionally, a late rent notice is hand-delivered or sent by mail. However, some states allow them to be delivered by email.
The 3 day pay or quit notice is a more formal version of the late rent notice. Many states require this formal letter before a property manager can begin the eviction process. As the name implies, the tenant has three days to pay or will be removed from the property. If you receive this 3 day notice form, take action to remedy the situation immediately.
Since this is a more formal notice, the format of delivery is more strict. Typically, the landlord has to deliver the 3 day pay or quit notice directly to the tenant. If they can’t be reached, the letter can be given to an adult at the property or at their place of work. If no suitable person can be found, it will be posted on the property, such as taped to the front door. In both these cases, a version must also be mailed to the tenant’s address.
The eviction process timeline will depend on your state laws and how eager you are to remedy the situation.
The day after rent is due, your property manager will send a late rent notice or 3 day pay or quit notice. If the rent is still not paid in these three to five days, you’ll be sent a notice of lease violation.
This notice of lease violation will stipulate how long you have to remedy the situation. The time frame will vary based on your state laws. Once that time is up, and the lease violation is not remedied, the property manager can file an eviction lawsuit and the issue will be taken to court. Even if the lease violation is remedied, the property manager still has the right to evict you.
There are a few common reasons that people are served a late rent notice.
If you are traveling or on vacation when your rent is due and you don’t have a direct deposit set up, you may miss the rent deadline. Be sure to plan ahead whenever you’re going on vacation. If your rent needs to be paid by check, send it early. If you miss the deadline, explain the situation. Your property manager will likely be understanding if this is a one-time offense and you’re good for the money.
If you or someone in your household gets sick, it may cause a missed rent payment. If you’re hospitalized, be sure to communicate with your property manager about when you can deliver rent. Another option is to have someone you trust to deliver the rent. If the unexpected illness leads to financial hardship, and you can’t pay the rent, you may face eviction.
Lastly, job loss is a common cause of these late rent notice warnings. If you’ve lost your job and are struggling with finances, you may consider asking for a rent reduction. If the rent isn’t paid and you haven’t come to an agreement with your property manager, you’ll likely face eviction.
Some situations are unavoidable, but there are steps you can take to be more financially responsible.
Many property managers will offer direct deposit for rent payment. Take them up on this offer so you never miss a payment. Even if you’re on vacation, the rent will be paid on time. However, be sure this is linked to an account that has the proper funds. Some property managers will still charge a late fee for bounced checks or failed payments.
Creating a budget will help you make rent payments on time. Be sure you know how much you can afford for rent based on your income. Rent is typically one of your biggest monthly costs, so be sure you can afford the apartment you’re in. If you are spending too much, unforeseen circumstances could leave you facing eviction with little savings to fall back on.
Unpredictable events occur all the time. Whether this is a job loss due to the coronavirus or illness racks up your medical expenses, it can take a toll on your finances and impact timely rent payment. If possible, factor savings into your budget. This will relieve some of the stress if these events occur.
If you foresee a late rent payment, be sure to communicate with your property manager ahead of time. They’ll appreciate you making the effort and you might be able to come to an agreement that gives you some relief.
Receiving this can be intimidating, but it’s intended to be a gentle reminder. If you remedy the situation in the allotted time, there shouldn’t be any further issues. If you can’t afford to maintain rent payments at your current apartment, find a new apartment that meets your needs and budget.