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Why Landlords Must Collect the Rent During the Holidays

Updated on March 24, 2014
Tenants need to pay the rent, then enjoy the holidays
Tenants need to pay the rent, then enjoy the holidays | Source

Remind Tenants to Pay the Rent, then Enjoy the Holidays

The end of the year holiday season is the most financially stressful time for landlords. Tenants will choose to make monetary decisions, between traveling and buying gifts for family and friends, or paying the rent. If they need to travel, expect the potential of almost two months of lost rent between November and January. As a landlord or property manager, you must be proactive.

Bill collectors and organizations all look for money at the end of each year. They expect their outstanding accounts to be paid in full. Overdue credit card bills, child support, lay-a-ways, student loans, charities, and medical bills – they all want cash. As a landlord or property manager, you should make some calls to your tenants. Send a letter reminding them that rent is a bill, too. Ask them to pay all rent due by the end of the year. If the rent is not paid on time, your mortgage will be late, and the bank will give you a call.

You don’t want to be seen as a Scrooge during the holidays. You may even believe that asking for the rent during this season is ill timed and inconsiderate. Still, your tenants signed a lease to pay their rent every month. Understand that when a tenant doesn’t pay the rent during the holidays, they are using that money for their own celebratory pleasures or other debt obligations. Will your vendors, the utility companies, and the bank or mortgage companies allow you to do the same?

The holidays should not be a free pass for tenants. It sounds harsh, but housing courts are stilll open during this time. If you make a habit of firmly collecting the rent during the holidays, the tenants will get in the habit of paying the rent during the holiday season.

A landlord or property manager must always think about rent collections
A landlord or property manager must always think about rent collections | Source

Here is an example of what can happen over the holidays with a tenant’s misplaced priorities:

  • The November Rent is $1,300, but the tenant paid $750 because of Thanksgiving
  • The December Rent is $1,300, but the tenant paid $0 because of Christmas
  • The January Rent is $1,300, but the tenant paid $500 because of New Year's Eve

The tenant has paid less than the full rent for three months, and owes $2,650 by the end of January the next year. That’s if you’re lucky. People get fired before Christmas. Employees get laid off after Christmas. Rent can become a casualty. For your own protection, an eviction notice should be sent if the rent is late the first seven days. Remind your tenants of their housing obligation.

Fortunately during the end of the year, employees get pay raises or promotions. They get Christmas bonuses. There are plenty of people who will want to rent your apartment, and able to pay the rent on time. Take rental applications in case you have to evict your tenant during the last three months of the year.

Remember, the same amount of time it takes to evict a tenant is the same amount of time the tenant has to pay in full. Start the eviction as soon as the law allows in your state. The earlier you send the tenant an eviction notice, the more time the tenant has to get his act together before going to court.

Manage your property like a business twelve months of the year. Positive cash flow is a landlord’s main concern. Rental income is why multi-family housing is purchased. Without it, a property cannot be properly maintained.

Your tenant’s are supposed to pay the rent on the first day of the month. It’s late on the second day. If you are consistent, over time, your tenants will expect you to take legal action to evict every time they are late. Your tenants will then place paying the rent as their first priority over the holidays as well as the rest of the year. And, will see to it that the rent is paid before any other bill.


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    • Carolyn2008 profile image

      Carolyn Gibson 4 years ago from Boston

      Good policy. Decide how you will address those without computer access. Also, tenants may be difficult to contact during the holidays. For example, if you have 20 tenants, and you also hold a full-time job, it may be difficult catching up with your tenants each and every month over the holiday months. I would suggest sending delinquent tenants an eviction notice on a specific date every month whether you are able to talk with them or not. An eviction notice cannot be avoided or ignored.

    • profile image

      Landlord:) 4 years ago

      What I do is a day before 1st I contact all my tenants via text message asking what time is convenient tomorrow (which is on the 1st). I don't explain the reason as it's obvious. I do it every month. I don't get too close with my tenants either, I'm friendly, but your tenants are your business partners not family or real friends if they don't pay they need to go.

      Make sure when you looking for renters and talking to potential tenants to ask them if they ever were late with the rent and make sure they know that for you 1st means 1st not 2nd, this way they know before moving in what's the requirement to keep you happy.

      If they ever are late or cannot make it on time, ask them the reason, ask them if they think that will be happening every month, ask them when exactly they will have the money and execute it exactly the day they said the money will come. If they didn't give you the money as promised you need to hand them in eviction notice to make sure they know you are serious but as well being respectful explaining you cannot keep them and the eviction notice is to protect you and give them needed time to move out. No yelling and screaming needed. And next time make sure you give the place to tenants that are sure they will pay on time and can deliver as promised.

      You are a landlord and they are your tenants, not friends, not kids, not girlfriend/boyfriend. Be professional if you want to be treated professional.

    • Carolyn2008 profile image

      Carolyn Gibson 4 years ago from Boston

      Thank you for your comment.

    • word55 profile image

      Word 4 years ago from Chicago

      I like it, I like that, I like the way you put it! You go girl!