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Can You Get A Deadbeat Tenant to Pay On Time?

A common complaint of new landlords is “can you get a deadbeat tenant to pay on time?” Basically, this is the same question as “can you get a leopard to change it’s spots?”

Deadbeat Tenant Excuses

Here is a typical scenario. Two months in, “Brent” already has a history of paying your rent late. Brent, of course, has all kinds of excuses; “I don’t have your email address.” “The bank messed up.” “I had an unforeseen expense. ” blah blah blah… When those excuses get tired, Brent switches his technique to excuses that pull on the heart strings. “My mother has cancer.” ” I’m going for tests for my heart condition.” This can go on for months and months while you’re the one footing Brent’s rent. Not cool.

That’s the point, it won’t end unless Brent leaves or is evicted. Your choice as the landlord is to end the tenancy as quickly as possible or endure the agony of chasing after him every month. Trust me, this can easily turn into a big festering wound of unpaid rent and stress.

Deadbeat Tenant Habits

My experience has proven, people who do not place a value on paying bills on time, don’t pay their rent on time either. They have created a pattern of not paying. They’re not going to change. So you have to change your tenant criteria and your screening techniques. Also remind yourself that if you want to contribute to the homeless shelters — give them a donation of money. Your property is a business not a charity. By keeping deadbeat tenants, you are donating your property to charity — and usually an unworthy charity.

I had a similar “Brent” experience with a deadbeat tenant in one of my properties. Despite the numerous communication techniques I used to stress the importance of paying on time; offering to switch the rent due date to his pay date, or any other number of solutions… he never got his act together to pay on time. Luckily, he’s long gone, and I learned my lesson. By the way, he had a history of bad credit. This should have been a big red flag, but I bought his cry story. And paid for it.

Credit History=Rent Payment History

The long and short is, don’t take tenants with a history of bad credit. Be thorough when vetting your tenants. Ask for recent (30 days) pay stubs, government issued ID, work and landlord references. Run social media checks on your future tenants and all their references and above all, make sure to run a credit report! A credit report provides a snapshot of your future tenant’s payment history.

Once you read the full credit report — understand that what you see, is what you get. There are those rare occurrences of people turning over a new leaf. But overall, firmly engrained patterns have been established over years and years of practice. Practice makes permanent.

If you don’t want to chase after your tenants for rent, make sure you only take tenants who have a history of paying their bills on time. Every month.

The best defense is offense. Start your search with advertising to attract good tenants, outline the criteria, and stick with it. For every tenant, every time.

Change Your Tenant Standards, Don’t Try to Change your Deadbeat Tenants

In answer to the question “Can you can’t get a deadbeat tenant to pay on time? It’s about as likely as getting a leopard to change its spots. Don’t work on the tenants, work on your procedures and criteria. By setting solid screening procedures, you can ensure you attract good tenants. Then you can ensure you only take good tenants who have made it their habit to pay their bills on time every month.

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