If a tenant fails to pay rent, the first step the landlord or property manager needs to take is to issue a past-due rent notice or late rent notice to recover late payments. In this article, we will provide more information about this formal notice, so you have all the information you need to recover overdue rent and late fees.

Looking for a late rent notice sample? Check out our free forms, or get in touch with us to try out our property management software for free!

What Is a Late Rent Notice?

A past-due rent notice, also known as a late rent notice, informs tenants that their rent payments are past due. It serves as a reminder of the tenant's need to pay rent in addition to any late fees specified in the lease.

Landlords would be wise to include a list of any extra fees the renter may be responsible for, such as parking or storage charges, as well as a warning that legal action may be taken if the rent is not paid by the due date.

This document is generally issued to tenants who have only once been late for rent as a polite and official reminder. A notice to pay rent or vacate or an eviction notice to terminate the lease may be sent if the tenant continues to be late with the rent or is repeatedly delayed.

In some cases, a tenant could refuse to pay rent if the landlord has broken the terms of the agreement or neglected to fix a significant problem with the property. Landlords are not permitted to impose any penalties or charge a late fee in such a situation.

What You'll Need to Include in a Late Rent Notice

what to include in a late rent notice

It's important to include certain details in your past-due rent notice. Instead of drawing one up from scratch, you can use our free forms and late rent notice template or use DoorLoop to create custom rental documents. Here's a summary of what you should include in your late rent notices:

  • Issue date
  • The name of the tenant, as it appears on the lease agreement
  • Rental property address and the unit number if this applies
  • Overdue amount
  • The late fee that applies as stipulated in the rental agreement
  • How the late rent payments can be made
  • The consequences of failing to make the rent payment
  • Landlord's or property manager's signature

Keep in mind that the late fee that applies will depend on the laws in effect in your state, so it's important to do your research.

When Should You Send a Late Rent Notice?

Different state and local rental rules apply to the timing and mode of delivery of a landlord's notice of late rent. Since email is typically not accepted as a delivery method, you might need to personally deliver the notice or send it via certified mail.

It's vital to check your local laws before sending a letter because some jurisdictions permit landlords to send a rent-due notice five days after the rent payment due date.

How to Send a Late Rent Notice (Hint: Look at the Lease Agreement)

A late rent notice can be delivered in a number of ways. The following methods are typically used to issue a request for late rent payments:

  • Registered or certified mail
  • Overnight courier delivery
  • In-person delivery

Keep in mind that the lease agreement will specify the method you will need to use to issue a late rent notice, so be sure to check the terms set in the contract before choosing a delivery method. Email is not considered an acceptable way to issue a late rent notice.

Why Use a Past Due Rent Notice?

In many cases, sending a late rent notice is all that is needed to get a tenant to pay what they owe. Sometimes a tenant may have forgotten to pay rent, so sending them a late rent notice will remind them to pay overdue rent.

Consequences of Not Sending a Past-due Rent Notice

If a landlord does not send a late rent notice, they could suffer the following consequences:

  • You will lose time - Researching how to evict a tenant and pursuing overdue rent will cost precious time.
  • Lost money - You will need to pay court fees and pay an attorney to begin eviction proceedings.
  • Stress - Pursuing a tenant, having them live on your rental property for free, and filing an eviction lawsuit can cause stress and frustration.

Next Steps

If a tenant fails to pay rent after they are issued a past-due rent notice, it might be time to send a pay or quit notice. In the event that the renter still refuses to make rent payments, the next step is following the eviction process. Let's take a closer look at these next steps.

Three-day Notice to Pay or Quit

In essence, a "three-day notice to pay or quit" or rent demand is a more formal late rent notice. According to the contract, the renter has three days to pay rent, failure of which would lead to the tenant being evicted from the rental home.

Some states demand that you give the renter a heads-up via a past-due rent notice before sending them a three or five-day pay-or-quit notice. In other states, landlords can simply provide a notice to pay or quit.

The Eviction Process

If a pay or quit notice has been issued and the tenant still refuses to pay their late rent, the landlord can proceed with the eviction process through the court. The first step in this process is filing an eviction notice.

Evicting a tenant means forcibly removing them due to a violation of the conditions of the lease or a failure to pay rent.

Keep in mind that you cannot evict a tenant unless they have failed to pay rent for more than 30 days. On average, it takes one to three months to evict a tenant in the US.

Eviction laws differ from state to state, so you will need to check which rules apply in your state for more information. Check out our eviction laws here.

What's the Best Way to Collect Rent Payments?

Simplifying the rent collection process is one way to lower the probability of missed rent payments.

Renters are less likely to be late with their payments if paying the rent is simple. You can use DoorLoop to set up payment notifications and receive rent payments with ease. DoorLoop even allows you to schedule reminders, so your tenants know before the due date that they will need to pay their rent.

Since all transactions are then automatically documented in our accounting software, the time required for you to keep track of income and costs each month is greatly reduced.

Final Thoughts

Late rent notices are the first step when a tenant fails to pay rent. It serves as a reminder of late rent and any applicable late fees. Keep in mind that certain state laws concerning a past-due rent notice and a pay or quit notice may apply, so it's important to check these regulations before issuing a late rent notice.

You will also need to check the lease agreement to ensure that you comply with the terms and conditions.

If you need to create a past-due rent or pay or quit notice, then you can use DoorLoop! You can generate rental documents in just minutes, thanks to a handy autofill feature! Alternatively, check out our late rent notice template on our list of free forms.

Frequently Asked Questions

Want to know more? We answer some of the most-asked questions about past-due rent notices in the section below.

1. Do I have to include the rental property address on a pay rent notice?

Yes. The following information must appear on the past-due rent notice:

  • Issue date
  • The name of the tenant, as it appears on the lease agreement
  • Rental property address and the unit number if this applies
  • The overdue amount
  • Late fee that applies, as stipulated in the rental agreement
  • How the late rent payments can be made
  • The consequences of failing to make the rent payment
  • Landlord's or property manager's signature

2. Should I accept partial rent payments?

Your renter can propose paying only a portion of the rent if they are not able to pay the whole amount owed. It's usually not advisable to accept partial rent payments, yet some landlords may allow them depending on the situation.

Accepting a partial rent payment can stop the eviction process because some jurisdictions don't permit landlords to remove a tenant if even one dollar has been received after delivering a late rent notice.

3. Where can I find a late rent notice template?

You can download our free forms here or use Doorloop to create your past-due rent notice.

4. How can I prevent late payments?

There are several strategies to ensure tenants know when their rent is due. Property management solutions like Doorloop let you arrange future rent payments and automatically notify renters a few days prior to the due date.

By setting up an automatic reminder, you can avoid having to personally contact your tenants and make sure they know when their next rent payment is due. When managing many rental properties, this will help to streamline the rent collection process to save time and effort.

It's also a good idea to screen potential tenants before signing a lease agreement. You should check their credit history and look out for past evictions to determine whether they can afford the rent.

We also recommend setting a reasonable rental price for your property and encouraging your tenants to set up automatic payments.

David is the co-founder & CMO of DoorLoop, a best-selling author, legal CLE speaker, and real estate investor. When he's not hanging with his three children, he's writing articles here!