If you rent out an apartment or a house to long-term renters, you obviously expect to be paid in time. But while there are many good renters on the market, there are … also really bad ones. If you notice your rent is late, it’s time to take action. But if this has never happened to you before – what do you do? In this article, we’ll tell you all about the steps you can take, from contacting your tenants yourself to taking legal action.
1.Double-check your lease documents
It might sound a bit silly, but it’s important to always double-check your signed documents before you take action. Sometimes you’re absolutely certain of something … and it’s just not true. Maybe you wanted to receive your rent by the 1st of each month, but the contract gives your renters until the 3rd, and maybe there’s even a grace period of another three days. It’s important to know exactly what your renters signed off on before taking the next step. You don’t want to bet that annoying landlord that calls them for rent even though they still have some days to pay!
2.Send a late rent notice and call your renters
If the grace period has passed, it’s time to take action and send a late rent notice. You can give this notice to your tenant(s) in person, but also email it or drop it off in their mailbox. A late rent notice basically describes that their rent is past-due and what that means. Usually that means the renter will have to pay extra fees, such as late fees. Your late rent notice should also mention that you will take legal action if needed (e.g. evict them).
You can also call your tenant or pop by to talk about this. It’s important you only do this once – you don’t want to be accused of harassment. Or worse: they sue you!
3.Take legal action if all else fails
If your late rent notice gets ignored, it’s time to take (legal) action. First of all you can send a Pay or Quit Notice, which conveys your intent to evict. You can also post the eviction note on the door of the tenant(s).
If you’re done handling everything on your own, you can also call in a debt collection agency (Dutch: incassobureau) to make sure your owed money is paid. They don’t only specialize in getting money back for businesses, but many also specialize in the termination of rental agreements (Dutch: ontbinding huurovereenkomst). Eviction lawyers and debt collection agencies know exactly what to do and which steps they have to take to evict the people living in your apartment or house and to make sure you get the money you’re owed.
It is important to know that it is not acceptable (or legal) to lock someone out or move their belongings during the eviction process. It’s also illegal to shut off utilities. Leave this process to your lawyer or collection agency, they’ll know what to do.
Hopefully your next renters do pay in time! Good luck with getting your money back and/or evicting your tenant(s)!