Collecting December Rent
Christmas is around the corner and some of tenants have better uses for their money than paying December rent. Landlords often find that December is the month of the year that is the most difficult to collect rent on time or at all.
I have had tenants tell me how sorry they are, but they can only pay part of their December rent. Or, they tell me they won’t be able to pay their rent at all! Oftentimes, these tenants will explain that I don’t need to worry! Tax money will arrive in their mail box at the end of January and they will pay me in full at that time.
As if this is a solution for not paying December rent!
These tenants make it sound perfectly reasonable to pay their December rent at the end of January. When I follow my procedures and file an eviction, they get mad at me. It drives me crazy!Landlords often find that December is the month of the year that is the most difficult to collect rent on time or at all. Click To Tweet
Follow Your Procedures
If you have tenants who think it is ok to pay December rent late, remember to follow your procedures. Sent out the 7 day letter on time to start the eviction process. Then follow up and get a court date as soon as you are allowed. You may find that the court dates are backed up to late January. This is very common, so don’t be surprised.
Tenants must understand that it is not ok to pay their rent whenever they feel like it. Nothing drives this home faster than getting a 7 day letter or being served with a court date.Smart landlords take steps to get the rent paid on time and in full. Click To Tweet
Don’t be surprised to find out that no set outs are scheduled in December. Many courts are reluctant to set anyone out during the holidays. This means that if you get far enough along in the process to actually schedule a set out, it will take longer to get this tenant out because the Sheriff will be playing catch up into next year.
Get Your Tenants To Pay
Smart landlords take steps to get the rent paid on time and in full. Not every tenant will have the attitude that December rent doesn’t have to be paid. Most of your tenants will pay on time and won’t think it is ok to pay late just because it is December.
One thing you can do to get your tenants to pay December rent on time is to offer some sort of incentive. There is a landlord in my area who offers a ham or a turkey to every tenant who pays on time. This landlord tells his new tenants about this incentive when the lease is signed. Then, his office sends out an early Christmas card to every tenant with the incentive in it. Late paying December tenants are not a problem for him.
Don’t feel like messing with this? Offer your tenants $25 off their rent if they pay on time. Or you can offer them a gift card. The point is that many tenants can be encouraged to pay their rent on time for a small gift.
This also creates good will with your tenants. Happy tenants are much better tenants! In won’t cost that much to make your tenants feel good.
Collecting December rent may not be an issue for you. But, if it is, these small incentives really do work. Keep in mind that these types of gifts are great for your tenants who actually pay on time every single month. People love to get things “for free” and a gift card will excite most of them.
Stay tuned because In December, I will be talking about forms for your business.