Has anyone else seen an increase in late payments?


#1

I own three mobile home parks in Southern Missouri and N W Arkansas. I typically have a few stragglers for paying rent each month. I give them until the 5th then a $40 late fee kicks in, then another $40 after the 15th.

After labor day weekend this year I have seen a huge increase in the amount of renters who can not pay their rent on time. I have evicted several and replaced them with tenants that have met my criteria for financial status. This month I have had literally 1/2 half of the tenants either pay late or have not paid their rent yet, including the new renters.

Everyone tells me this is an effect of the economy right now i.e. gas prices, interest rates, etc. Has anyone else experienced this???


#2

I have not seen a material change in late payments in my park (in the Oklahoma City area). Mine is an ‘all-ages’ park - so I have truck drivers, waitresses, prision guards, retirees, and those on diability. Mine is a farily diverse tenant base, but we’ll see what transpires in the coming months with late fees. It’ll also be interesting to see if this coming ‘tax season’ is as strong as in previous years.

My 2 cents worth,

-Jefferson-


#3

Jefferson,

Thanks for the 2 Cents worth!!! I have a fairly diverse job base for the tenants also. That is what worries me a little. I have several reator friends in California, Arkansas, Missouri and Wisconsin. All of them are saying the same thing, House Sales are Crap right now. Some of them have had to quit real estate and are working at other jobs. I would think this would actually help the rental business, but what I am seeing is strange. Just like turning a switch, after Labor Day, so many late rents, even with new tenants and previously before Labor Day no issues.

If anyone sees a change in their area let me know, I guess I am curious if this is an isolated event in my region or if it is bigger than that.

Thanks,

Keith


#4

One more thought - and I don’t mean to sound like I’m sticking my head in the sand on what may be a big pending problem that just hasn’t hit me yet, but I belive that the sub-prime housing problem is actually causing rent rolls to improve. I have a friend who owns several 200-300 unit apartment buildings. He indicates his rent rolls are firming and that that is generally the case nation-wide for rental properties as people have to move into rental units after losing their homes.

We’ll see…


#5

Yes, but I was attributing it to the time of year. I’ve gone from less than 10% late payors to 33% late payors in the last two months. That’s out of 43 notes.

Could be gas prices.

Anne


#6

late pays per month out of 57 rentals…this month I had 19 and 4 are STILL not collected (1 we will evict) and we are at the tenth of the month. This has been a poor month for collections.

Gas prices, the economy, time of year…I’ve got no clue why. The one thing I never do is forgive late fees.

Like most here I would rather be paid in a timely manner than collect late fees.

the challenge here in FL is keeping rentals full…we have averaged 90% occupancy the past three years…since august we have been 78%…Until Oct i had 12 empties…now I have 6 soon to be 7.

A friend of mine from NC called me about this same exact problem he was having. What worked for me was spending real money on advertising in different papers than usual.

Greg


#7

Very bad month for me relative to previous months. Last month I had one late payer (which is typical for me) while this month I have 6. Don’t know what it means but the eviction notices go out next week.

And yet my phone is ringing off the hook about a home I am just about ready to sell. Weird.

Rolf


#8

Guys,

This is strange! I seem to be getting a good number of inquires for new rentals when I have one come available. I have 17 rentals in two small parks and 30 in another. On the smaller park I have had 66% late and 4 that have not paid at all. I am slamming these guys with late fees, but it seems to not have much effect. My new lease states late fees of 5 dollars a day after the 5th of the month. I am hoping this will motivate the renters to pay on time. I think the real issue could be deeper than that though. I would really like to know if you guys continue to have the same issue. With Christmas and New Years coming up… well I will just have to wait and see. I am having my managers proactively contact the tenants about a week before the rent is due just as a reminder.

Cheers,

Keith


#9

This good news (if you can call it that) is that you’re not alone! I’ve done more evictions in the last 60 days or so than I’ve done since we’ve been doing this…

Only thing I can contribute it to is gas prices and overall increases in cost of living combined with the media blitz on the subprime meltdown. It was about the time when every time you turned on the TV, Radio, or opened a newspaper and you were being shoved with the sky is falling mentality. It was about this same time that a lot of our tenants tossed their arms in the air and said no one else can afford to pay so I can’t either… A few moved in with relatives or combined households to reduce cost and I’ve not got a clue where the rest went.

The media has slacked off on the subprime and things are quickly turning around and our units are refilling fairly rapidly even given the time of year! We have infilled some really good tenants in the last week that are downsizing from more costly units in to lower cost housing. Reason for moving “can’t afford it” has been a common entry on the applications I’ve received lately… One thing I’ve seen proven here is that when the market sucks (we had huge layoffs a few years ago) the lower income people are the first to bail but the holes they leave are the first to fill as downsizing folks start to trickle down. That said I truly believe there will never be a time that low income housing is not a necessity in our country.

Best wishes,

Ryan Needler


#10

Greg,

I agree with you- I do not forgive late fees, although I will work with a payor to get them back on their feet by lowering the payment, or even changing the due date (e.g., from the 1st to the 15th).

It seems unfair to me to forgive late fees for habitual late payors when my other folks are making an effort to pay on time.

-Anne


#11

Post Edited (04-14-11 22:03)


#12

We have a unique flexible rental agreement with our tenants. The rent is automatically deducted from their checking, savings or credit-card two or three days after they are paid or they can authorize it to be deducted from their paycheck. If they are paid weekly they pay weekly, biweekly then they pay biweekly, etc


#13

Wow, hope that this is not a spreading phenomenon. Our park in central indiana has not seen an increase in late payers. Not that there aren’t any but no more than usual. As for automatically deducting their rent from their checking account, great idea but about a third of my tenants pay with money orders.


#14

I’m glad to hear that I am not alone. I have seen my slow pays and no pays drastically go up. In Maine, my tenants are getting hit with a triple whammy: high gas prices, very slow economy, and high heating fuel prices (oil $3.15-3.50 gal and propane $3.40 - $4.50 gal. ouch). The fuel suppliers are really nailing people for small deliveries. Unfortunately, most people can’t afford anything but small deliveries.

I understand the subprime mess, tightening up of credit, and slow real estate market. What I don’t understand is the number of rental units available. I am seeing the largest supply in 8 years. My only thought is that a lot of people are moving in with friends or moving back home with Mom and Dad, to get through the winter. I had always been told that when the real estate market slows down, the rental market picks up. Not so right now.

I would love to hear what you are doing to motivate people to want to rent your units or lots. Are you dropping the rent price? Including heat with the rent? Lightening up your tenant underwriting? Including items like electric fireplaces or big screen TVs, etc…?

Chris


#15

Hi Chris,

I am still continuing to see large amounts of late payments. I actually collected the last one for this month today, on the 27th of this month. I think the chances of this tenant paying on time for Dec. is about 0%! I have placed adds in two local papers for the second week in a row. In early Sept. I placed my first add in the paper ever! I got 42 calls for inquires and filled the one home I had available. I now have three homes available and have the add in the paper for two full weeks and I have had only 4 calls total. So far all the people calling in have said the rent is too high. Yes I alwasy thought that when housing drops rentals go up. I am not see this right now.

I am thinking of reducing the rent slightly and doing short term leases i.e. 3-6 months, then after that period is up slowly bringing them back to where I wanted them.

Keith


#16

I’ll let everyone know how my December collections come in, but November was normal. I also brought in two homes for sale in November. One sold in a week (1999 Oakwood 3/2, 16x70 - $1,500 down, $500/month), the other (2001 Oakwood 3/2, 16x80) has not sold yet, but I do have a former resident of the park who wants to move back in to the park and says he’ll put down $2,000 and pay $600/month for the house and buy it from me at Christmas if I’ve not sold it to someone else. I’m also hoping to find 3+ more houses to bring in to start preparing for tax season.

So December promises to be an exciting month for me on all fronts. We’ll see what happens…

-jl-


#17

OK, my December rents are all in - pretty much as normal. We might have had one more late payment than usual (out of 50); does not seem like much to worry about.

I’ve had a decent level of inquiries about my high-end Lonnie Deal for sale. Considering this is still the slow season, I’m generally satisfied with the way my park is performing and the level of interest we are seeing in home purchases.