Being a landlord means having a multitude of legal forms on hand at all times, even if you don’t ever get to use them, however, chances are, you will need a late rent notice at one point or another. While a late rent notice sounds like a fairly simple legal form to write out, it still requires a specific wording for it to be legally binding.
A few caveats here, first, rules and laws concerning collection of late rent vary wildly across the United States. Not only can laws change from state to state but they can even vary within a state as local laws can sometimes have influence. If you haven’t already, familiarize yourself with the laws in your jurisdiction so you know what your rights are and what the rights of your tenant are.
As for writing a proper late rent notice, you can use a template downloaded from the Internet, but it is important to note that any template that you might use may not be completely accurate for your area. If you do decide to use a template, make sure it was written specifically for your state.
First off, there is no point in writing a late rent notice if you can’t be completely sure it is seen. Therefore, the letter must either be hand delivered, not set inside a screen door, actually, physically handed to your tenant, or it can be mailed via certified mail so that your tenant has to sign for it. That way, you have provable evidence that your late rent notice was received.
Next, make sure you use proper names throughout. If your tenant has a nickname or if you go by a nickname, don’t use it as this is supposed to be a formal, legal letter. In the first paragraph, make sure you spell out exactly what the letter is for, how much rent they owe, how overdue it is and if you have attempted to collect or contact them previously. Make sure that any claims you make are backed up by the lease that both of you signed. In the next paragraph, you can outline collection procedures and if there are late fees that are mounting daily or not. You need to give the total balance due at that point and tell your tenant how and where they can pay you to clear any balance owed.
Finally, make sure you clearly spell out the consequences of not paying the total balance by a certain date. If you know the laws in your area for how they pertain to eviction, you can include that information, as well. Most jurisdictions allow evictions to happen much more quickly if there is a late rent or no rent situation, as opposed to other forms of eviction that require a one to three month notice.
No landlord ever hopes to have to write a late rent notice as most landlords genuinely like their tenants and wish them nothing but the best, but if you need to write one, this guide should help.