Handling a tenant who has not paid rent can often lead to the unsavory task of processing an eviction. People always ask us what to do and who to call and how long the process takes, so we thought we’d tell you a little bit about what to expect if you have to evict a tenant.
Review the Lease Terms:First, pull out the lease and check it to make sure you know what it states for payment grace periods and late fees.
In Oregon, rent is due by the first of the month and considered late by the second.
Checklist & Notice:
Once you have established that the rent is late, make a checklist. Your first step will be to send a Nonpayment Notice to the tenant. You have the option of sending a 72 Hour Notice or a 144 Hour Notice. That notice essentially gives the tenant a specific amount of time to pay or leave the property. You can post or mail one of them. We always recommend mail because then you can be sure the tenant receives it. They can’t say it wasn’t posted properly or the wind blew it away. You have documented that they received the notification.
Once Notice is Documented:
After you mail the notice, make sure there is a way for your tenant to mail or give you the rent. Maybe they can drive over to the office and hand it to you or pay online or mail you a check. If there is no proper way for the tenant to pay you the late rent, the notice will be considered invalid. If the period of time goes by and you have not received rent, it’s time to move forward with the eviction. Keep in mind that when you mail the notice, you have to add four days to the 72 or 144 hours.
Still no Rent Payment?
When rent still does not arrive, you can hire an attorney to help you file the eviction. Work with an attorney who is experienced in landlord tenant law. You don’t want to hire a personal injury or a labor attorney. Get someone who knows the law and has done this before. If you don’t want to hire an attorney, visit the county courthouse. There will be someone who can guide you through what forms to fill out and how to get in landlord tenant court. It’s very important to fill out all your forms correctly. There can be no errors in your paperwork, or you’ll have to start over. There will be delays in the procedure and collecting rent will be even more difficult.
We always recommend keeping an open line of communication with the tenant. If you can come to some agreement that keeps you out of court, that will save you money and time. Maybe you can find out your tenant’s situation and agree to collect the late rent as well as a late fee. If getting rent paid is an ongoing problem, however, or the tenant does not respond to your attempts at communication, make the decision to evict and start the process right away.
Eviction & Going to Court:
Once you are in court, you want things to go smoothly. You will have to be prepared to talk to the judge about the situation. There might be arbitration so you can at least get your rent from the tenant and come up with a date for them to move out. The goal is to get the rent you are owed.
If you have any questions on eviction and late rent with property we are currently managing for you, or would like to engage our services, please contact us at Illume Property Management.