Sample Late Rent Letter

Author: Todd Christiansen | Category: Rent Collection

When your tenant is late on rent, most landlords will use a late rent letter to give the tenant notice that they still owe rent.  Some states actually require this letter.  It can be in a simple format or it can be a more formal pay or quit notice.  I have used many different formats and techniques over the years and actually there is not really one size fits all when it comes to tenants.  Some are more responsive when I call them versus if I send them a letter.  Some only respond to an eviction notice!

But, for those of you that prefer to use a softer approach, here is an example late rent notice:

Suzie Smith
1234 Main Street North
Tallahassee, Florida 12243

Dear Suzie-

This letter is to inform you that we have not received your rent payment for December 2010, which was due by December 5 at 5:00  PM.  This was for the rental period December 1 to December 31.  If you have already mailed the rent, you may disregard this letter.

At this time, per your lease agreement, you have been assessed a $50 late fee charge.  The total amount due is $1250.

Please send the total amount immediately to the following address:

Most Excellent Landlord
5555 High Living Street
Saint Paul, Minnesota 55112

Alternatively, if you need to discuss payment arrangements or have any questions regarding this matter, you can contact me at 612-555-1212.  Failure to pay the total amount noted on the above late rent notice may result in further actions being taken, including, but not limited to eviction.

Sincerely,

Most Excellent Landlord

This late rent letter can be modified as you see fit.  One option is to remove or modify the last sentence to make the letter more or less harsh.  Personally, I would always opt for a more strict and forward approach than a light one.  If you want examples, read one of your credit card or utility bills for sample late payment language.

Excellent Landlord Book for Sample Letters & Forms

Make sure to keep a copy of this rent late notice for you records in case you need to evict.  If possible, send the letter certified mail with a return receipt.  This will require the tenant to sign for it, proving they received it.  Alternatively, I have seen landlords use Fedex to send this late rent notice, knowing that everyone will accept a package from Fedex.  You can also have your letter served by a process server or the sheriff, but that can be costly.  Depending upon the situation, it may be worth the extra money to have the letter done correctly so when (notice I didn’t say if!) you get to court, you can prove beyond a doubt that the tenant was notified.

If the tenant does not respond within a couple days or refuses to pay, your next option is to start the eviction process.  Do not make the mistake of most landlords and wait weeks or even months before starting the eviction.  At court, bring this letter with you to show the judge that you gave the tenant ample opportunity and notice to pay the late rent.

You have done everything you need to do to get this tenant to pay rent by sending this letter to tenant about late rent.  It was their choice to make a late rent payment.  Don’t lose your nerve or get bullied into waiting any longer to evict.

4 Responses to “Sample Late Rent Letter”

  1. “Some states actually require this letter”. Is Minnesota a state that does require this letter?

    I had a tenant that was on a month to month lease for 6 months and ever month she was late in paying rent. Now I am thinking I should collect those past due late fees from the deposit.

  2. MN does not require this letter.

  3. I enjoy reading your messages. We own a restaurant building in MN. The tenant has been habitually late for payment, and every time they will come up with some excuses. Like most lease agreements, our lease agreement has a clause for late fee if rent not received by the 5th of the month, but it does not specify when the late fee is due. I have waived the late fees during the last couple times they were late, but I emailed them that I do not waive my rights to charge the late fee if they do it again. They paid their rent late again this month, but refused to pay the late fee when I asked. They did not respond to my emails and voice messages. I told them that I would evict them if they do not pay the late fee by a set date, and that date has past. What do I need to do? Thank you.

  4. I think it is tough to evict them for the late fee (which is what, maybe $50?). You are getting your rent, albeit late. You will waste more money than that simple late fee in the eviction process, cleaning up the property and then hopefully no vacancy. I would just keep that late fee on their account and deduct if from their security deposit or if they are severely late again, you can add it to the amount owed in the eviction docs.