What Happens if a Tenant Can No Longer Meet Their Rental Obligation
One of the worst situations for a landlord is when their tenant is unable or unwilling to pay their rent. This forces the landlord to have to make decisions that are both time consuming and can cost quite a bit of money.
There a number of reasons why tenants may find themselves in a situation where they can no longer pay rent. It could be that they lose a job or are forced to take a decrease in pay. They might find themselves facing a life-changing event, like divorce or bankruptcy. Whatever the reason may be, they are no longer able to pay rent on time or at all.
Depending on the situation, a landlord may be able to work something out with the tenant. For example, if the tenant’s situation only affects one month’s rent, a landlord may be willing to work out an arrangement that allows a tenant to stay. However, if it appears that the inability to pay rent is going to last longer than just one month, the landlord should be prepared to move forward with the eviction process.
When the tenant doesn’t pay rent, it can be easy for a landlord to react by denying the tenant access to their home. It’s important to keep in mind that, while these type of actions may seem justified by the landlord, the tenant actually still has some rights according to law. This means that the landlord must follow specific steps in order to evict a tenant who won’t pay rent.
The first step is having an eviction notice delivered to the tenant. A landlord must serve a written 5-Day Notice to the tenant to pay the required rent or vacate the unit. This notice should include the amount owed as well as an outline of next steps. Usually, these next steps include allowing the tenant to remain in the property if rent is paid by a certain date or that a lawsuit will be filed if the tenant fails to comply.
Serving the Notice
An eviction notice can be served by the landlord to the tenant or to a subtenant who is of sufficient age. If the tenant is not at home, the landlord can post the eviction notice to the door of the property or send it by certified mail. It’s important that the time and date of the serving of the notice is documented.
Defenses to Eviction
There are a number of defenses that a tenant may claim during the eviction process including the following:
- Partial rent payment was made
- Breach of landlord’s obligations
- Retaliatory eviction
- Discriminatory eviction
- Payment of rent
If any of these situations has occurred, the tenant may have a case against the landlord.
To ensure that you are following the eviction process correctly and effectively, we invite you to contact RPM Evolve for information and direction. We have handled this situation before and can definitely point you in the right direction.