How To Manage Late Rent Payments – A Step-By-Step Guide

If your Edinburgh tenant is constantly late with rent payments or has stopped paying altogether, what’s the best course of action for a landlord to take? 

While it might be tempting to cut off their electricity or change the locks while they’re out at work, such extreme measures won’t solve the problem – and they are also illegal!  

Leave it to the letting experts 

For Clan Gordon landlords, the issue is taken out of their hands by our professional property management team. Managing rent payments is all part of our complete property management service so we’ll liaise directly with your tenant and come up with a solution.  

This could be anything from setting up a repayment plan for any missed rent instalments to initiating eviction proceedings. We’ll keep you in the loop every step of the way and confirm with you before taking any action.  

We also don’t have any ongoing arrears with tenants which we believe is unique amongst similar sized agencies. 

But what if you don’t have the benefit of Clan Gordon’s property management service?  

Start talking to your tenant 

The most important thing to do is open a dialogue with your tenant to find out why the rent hasn’t been paid. They could have lost their job, been unwell or simply switched to a different bank and forgotten to update their direct debit instructions. 

Talking to your tenant before issuing demands is the best way to find a resolution. It shows your tenant that you’re willing to talk and explore the problem rather than sending a threatening letter or email. 

Agree a solution with your tenant to resolve non-payment of rent 

Once you know what the problem is, you can work with your tenant to agree the best way forward. If rent payments are always late because they get paid a few days after their rent is due, it could be as simple as moving the date. 

If your tenant has fallen behind with payments due to redundancy or sickness, you could reduce the amount due for a few months to allow them to get back on their feet and arrange for them to repay the shortfall over a longer period.  

Working with your tenant to find a solution means they will be grateful for your understanding and will be more likely to try to repay the money they owe in a reasonable timeframe. A heavy-handed landlord who makes threats is less likely to get a positive response. 

Make it easy for tenants to pay rent 

If your tenant usually makes payments by bank transfer, suggest setting up a standing order so they can’t forget to make payments on time.  You could even offer a small rent reduction in return for paying this way to ensure the money is never late. 

This could be especially valuable if you are making mortgage payments on the property and need the rent to be in your account on a certain date. 

Protect yourself against non-payment of rent 

There are also ways to protect yourself against non-payment of rent. You can ask your tenant to provide a guarantor who agrees to make the payments if they fail to. Another option is to add cover to your landlord insurance for loss of income.  

This means you’ll be covered for whatever reason you don’t receive rent payments, such as your tenants not paying or your property becoming temporarily uninhabitable due to an escape of water. 

If you are making mortgage payments on the property, this is invaluable to protect your income. 

What is the last resort if a tenant fails to pay rent? 

If you are unable to reach an amicable agreement with your tenant and decide to ask them to leave, you must follow the Scottish Government’s guidelines. Tenants can be issued with a notice to leave with 28 days’ notice if they are in rent arrears for three  consecutive  months.  Full details can be found on the Scottish Government website 

If you are looking for a letting agent who can provide expert tenant management services, including overseeing timely rent payments for you, talk to Edinburgh’s leading letting agent Clan Gordon. Schedule a call with one of our experienced advisers today.  

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