Nasty tenant who won't pay late fees


#1

We have a tenant who owns two trailers. She rents out the one and lives in the other. We inherited her when we bought the park. She does not pay on time so we send her a pay or vacate certified letter every month. She has always paid on the very last day + late fees. Now she has decided she will only pay rent due and not pay her late fees; she is still waiting to the last moment before eviction to pay.

I wish we had a simple way to not accept payment but we live in a town that has a judge who will not enforce late fees. I asked a lawyer what we could do and our only option is to serve her with a 90 day vacate notice for legitimate business purposes.

Would you guys live with this Nasty Tenant and accept her late payments without late fees or spend the 12k or so to get her out and her trailers hauled to the dump and then be left with two empty lots?


#2

I would charge late fees, and apply payments received to late fees first and then lot rent.

So if she owes $300 + a $40 late fee in February, and only pays $300, she still owes $40 in unpaid rent in March, and I would invoice her for $300 March rent plus $40 unpaid February rent. If she pays $300 late again, i would apply it to late fees, and now she owed $80 in unpaid rent. Tighten up the wording of your lease if you need to in order to implement this.

I’m not an attorney, and I would ask your attorney about this. Is the judge preventing you from evicting for nonpayment of late fees (common) or is the judge saying you legally can’t charge late fees ever? (uncommon)


#3

I would evict based on consistent/multiple late payment.
I have better things to do with my time then chase arrogant tenants.


#4

Another alternative: Depending on the terms of the lease and when it expires, why not simply raise the rent to include late fees? or even more if necessary?


#5

I agree with Greg. I also believe where we’re at in WI, any rent paid has to first be applied to the rent payment. I think you just accept the fact you’ll have a little battle ahead of you and dig in. Or…have you talked to her and asked why she does it? She must have a reason and who knows, maybe just by having an open conversation you can remedy the entire issue.


#6

It’s a game she is playing. I don’t play games.

Not sure if it’s even possible but the first course of action is to attempt a conversation, could there be a legitimate concern she has? This sounds like she is upset about something and is taking out on you. I would attempt to see her side but in no means am I saying be soft.

  1. Refer to the lease. When is it up for renewal? Again going by the wording in the lease inform the tenant the lease will not be renewed. Not sure how your state works but in mine I need not give a reason other than I choose not to renew the lease. Say it to yourself over and over so it becomes a broken record. (Make sure to have all your ducks in a row to file the eviction)

  2. File the eviction as soon as the law allows.

  3. DO NOT reconsider any excuse. She will never pay on time and even if she did as every month comes due you will have that nagging thought “Is this the month…”

  4. In the mean time I would file the notice to quit (my version of your pay or vacate) each time and start the eviction each time. (again in my state I only have to file a notice to quit once every 6 months if its the same “violation” so on her second non payment I can proceed straight to eviction and not have to wait the time between the notice to quit and the eviction that saves a lot of time.

Keep us posted.