What to Do When Your Tenant Stops Paying Rent

The ideal tenant will pay rent on time every month, and when you’re placing a tenant in your property, it’s important to screen carefully so you can find someone with a proven history of doing that. Every landlord wants to avoid evictions and chasing down late rent payments. You might have a great tenant in place, but bad things happen to good people. If rent slows or stops altogether, there are a few things you need to do.

Communicate with Your Tenant
First, talk to your tenant and find out if the problem is a temporary issue or something that’s going to prevent rent payments from coming in on time every month. It’s possible your tenant simply forgot or had a difficult month financially.

Three Day Notice
If your tenants avoid you or you can’t seem to get any information on why rent is late, you need to serve a Three Day Notice to Pay Rent or Quit. This paperwork has to be filled out and processed correctly. The slightest mistake will invalidate the notice. Make sure you indicate your right and intention to pursue an Unlawful Detainer if rent is not paid.

Unlawful Detainers
Evictions are called Unlawful Detainers in California. If you don’t receive payment after you serve the Three Day Notice and you cannot get your tenants to agree to a payment plan, you should talk to an attorney and prepare the Unlawful Detainer filing. After it’s served, your tenants will have some time to respond. If they don’t respond, you can get them out of the property pretty quickly. If they do respond, the eviction process may last a little longer.

When an answer is filed by your tenant contesting the eviction, there will be a trial. You can still work with the tenant to try and get the rent caught up to avoid this trial. If you don’t reach an agreement, however, go to court with your lease contract, the Three Day Notice you initially served, and any documentation that proves the tenant owes what you say is owed. You’ll likely win your judgment, and the tenant will be ordered to leave the property.

California evictions can be expensive and sometimes complicated. There are many forms to manage and the law is written to favor the tenants. That’s why an attorney is especially helpful. If you have any questions about late rent payments and evictions, please contact us at Los Angeles Property Management Group.

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