What You Can Do if a New Tenant Moves In Before Paying Rent

What You Can Do if a New Tenant Moves In Before Paying Rent

Excalibur Homes
Excalibur Homes

What You Can Do if a New Tenant Moves In Before Paying Rent

Most landlords will ask their new tenants for the first month of rent before they move in. However, it can be quite a conundrum when excitement over securing a new tenant quickly turns into concern upon realizing they’ve moved in without paying the first month’s rent.

Regardless of whether it was accidental for either party, it can feel awkward to knock on the door and ask for cash. So what should you do if a new tenant moves in before paying rent? The good news is that rectifying the situation is typically very simple.

Did You Specify the First Rental Payment in Your Lease Agreement?

Ensuring that your lease agreement explicitly details when and how they should make the first payment is the linchpin to avoiding any misunderstandings. You must state clearly in the lease that they will get the keys to the property only once you receive the initial deposit and first month’s rent.

This clause acts as your first line of defense, providing a legal basis to enforce payment; if this hasn’t been your practice, consider including it in future agreements.

If Yes, Issue a Formal or Written Notice

If you’ve already specified the initial rental payment in your lease agreement and your new tenant moves in before paying rent, your first step is to issue a formal notice. A well-crafted written notice underscores the seriousness of the situation and provides you with written documentation of your efforts to collect the rent.

The notice should reiterate the lease terms, highlight the missed payment, and give a clear deadline for the tenant to remedy the situation. Maintain a professional tone, emphasizing that your intention is to resolve the issue amicably.

If Not, Schedule a Meeting To Communicate Expectations

In the absence of a clearly defined clause regarding payment in the lease agreement, it’s possible your tenant wasn’t aware that they had to pay before moving in. Schedule a face-to-face meeting to address the oversight and communicate your expectations in a firm yet understanding manner before you jump the gun and issue a notice. Make your expectations clear, explain the situation, and invite them to discuss any potential obstacles they might face in making the payment.

What Do You Do if a Tenant Refuses To Pay That First Month’s Rent?

If, for some reason, you’ve taken the appropriate steps to rectify the situation, but they still refuse to pay that first month’s rent, it may be time to take action. At this point, if you haven’t issued a written notice, do so. Your next step is to try and contact the tenant to re-inform them of the issue and cover all of your bases. If a written notice and calm conversation don’t work, you’ll typically have to serve a pay or quit notice, which is the first step in the eviction process. In most cases, the situation won’t devolve into an eviction, but situations such as this can still be frustrating to deal with.

If you’re looking to take some of the weight of landlordship off your shoulders, let the experts at Excalibur Homes help. We offer an extensive range of property management services, covering everything from leasing to eviction and beyond.

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