How to Talk to Late Paying Tenants

Late Rent

When a tenant is habitually late with your rent payment, it’s hard for a landlord not to take it personally. Rent payment is your money, you are allowing the tenant to live in your property in exchange for rent. This property means something to you, it’s something you maintain, in exchange for rents

A question I was asked by another property owner was how do you talk to tenants that feel it’s okay to consistently pay late with the rent?

First, I will disclose, I actually like it when tenant’s make their rental payments late.
As a property management company I have set ourselves up with the ability to get our rental property owners their rents on time.

Since that is solved, I see late rental payments as additional profit the property is making. Here is Philadelphia we are not allowed to charge more than ten percent of the monthly rents as a late fee to the tenants. But a ten percent return on an investment over just a few days? Can’t be that!

But your situation and view might be different so I will share you some property manager tips I have picked up through the years.

How to talk to late-paying tenants

Reach Out to Them Directly

  • If a tenant is late with your rental payment and you call them, the next time that it’s time to pay the rent the tenant will want to avoid that call! How uncomfortable it is sitting in someone’s property and having to explain why you aren’t paying your rent. As humans, we avoid being uncomfortable. That alone can fix late-paying tenants.
  • Contacting a tenant and speaking to them directly lets them know you care about getting your rental payment on time. Tenants sometimes want to believe it’s “no big deal” on your end. Contacting them lets them know otherwise.
  • Calling a tenant is better than texting, texting is better than email. Nothing puts a tenant on the hook like a phone call. I understand you might find that uncomfortable and that’s one of the values of hiring a property management company to do these things for you. But if you rather not call, text and email are steps in the right direction.


Joe White

Joe White is a Philadelphia Property Manager and Real Estate Broker. He is the owner of Grow Property Management and has been involved in the management, sales and purchases of Philadelphia area rental investment properties since 2008. He is an author and works as a real estate investment consultant and construction manager.

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