Whether you are self managing your rental property or hiring a professional property manager to take care of it for you, you should always have a strict policy when it comes to collecting the rent on time. The rent is typically due on the first of the month and it can technically be considered late on the second of the month if it has not been received. However, most property managers and owners will give a grace period, usually until around the fifth day of the month. Therefore, a tenant’s rent is considered late on the sixth if it has not been paid.


The most important thing you can do when collecting late rent is to follow California law the first time a tenant is late. When you do not have rent by the sixth day of the month, serve a Three Day Notice to pay rent or quit the property. We have picked up many properties over the years where the property owner did not do this during the first month, then didn’t do it in the second month or even the third month. By the time they contact us for help, they are out two, three even more months of rent. We are always quick to restore the property and evict the tenants, but losing that rental income is not good for the property owner, and the expenditures for the eviction can be astronomical.


When the tenant gets a Three Day Notice, they understand the legal ramifications facing them and most tenants are quick to pay their rent. This is important because you want to maintain a good business relationship with your tenants whenever you can.


In some cases, you have people who do not pay their rent even after the notice is served, and you have to start the eviction process immediately to minimize your own costs as well as potential damages to the property. In the past, we have had situations where we take over the property because the owners did not do the proper screenings when looking for tenants. When people we call “professional tenants” move into your house, they know how to stretch the process out and it can be six or nine months before they are finally evicted.


It is important to know and follow California law, and also to know when it’s time to bring in a professional. We work with attorneys all the time, and can recommend a good one if you need legal help. Typically, we do not do a lot of evictions because our screening process is so effective. We may have done two or three over the many years we have been in business. When done correctly, a thorough screening process is very effective.


Hopefully, you will never have to worry about evicting a tenant or chasing down late rent. If you do find yourself in that situation, or if you want to avoid it altogether, please contact us at Windsor Pacific Property Management.