Any person who is a landlord long enough will undoubtedly have to deal with a tenant whom they struggle collecting rent from. There are a number of reasons for this scenario. Perhaps the tenants lost their job; they had a recent death in the family; they have to move out of state; or they simply cannot pay the rent. Whatever the circumstance is, understanding the available options will alleviate possible mistakes and save you a lot of money and headaches. Here is what you should know when approaching a situation where tenants cannot pay the rent or are not cooperating with the terms of the residential lease agreement.

1-      Communication- Open communication with the tenants allows you to stay on top of the situation. If you know they cannot pay the rent until a certain date, it may be better to allow some time to pass before sending notices or turning it over to the attorneys. Communication includes listening to a tenant’s story so they feel like you are sympathizing with them. If a tenant knows you sympathize with their situation, they are more likely not to leave the premises a disaster. This happened recently with a tenant who lost their rent money. Although they were eventually evicted for non-payment; since we had communicated with them what we were doing, they mailed us back the keys and left the home in decent condition.

2-      Understand the landlord tenant act- This act explains what type of notices is needed, what time constraints need to pass in order to carry out an eviction. You can access this on the web here. http://www.azsos.gov/public_services/publications/residential_landlord_tenant_act/Residential.pdf

If you know how to carry this out, you can explain this to the tenant and go into the situation aware of how long it takes to evict a tenant if needed and what you can or cannot do.

3-      Negotiate- Too often, I see investors take the situation too personal. Having your home vacant for 2 months, plus attorney’s fees and fix up costs can cost thousands of dollars. Rather than spend all that money and wasted time; try offering the tenants a way out, such as a dollar amount to leave the property in good condition and to vacate the premises by a certain date. Although it may seem counterproductive, you could eliminate one month of vacancy time and save money that you would have spent fixing the home due to disgruntled tenants vandalizing it. Even though there are agreements in place, it’s always important to remember that there are gains to be made in negotiating no matter how wrong the tenants may be.