What is Delinquent Rent?

Published by Thomas Herold in Economics, Laws & Regulations, Real Estate

'Delinquent Rent' is explained in detail and with examples in the Laws & Regulations edition of the Herold Financial Dictionary, which you can get from Amazon in Ebook or Paperback edition.

Delinquent Rent refers to rent that tenants pay their landlords late. This is called one of the two greatest frustrations for landlords in the renting process. The other one is handling tenants who vandalize a place. Making good on late or unpaid rent is a hassle for landlords that is almost always an expensive and time consuming process. There are various processes available to landlords for them to obtain their unpaid or late rents. These vary widely based on the state where the property lies, as each state has its own laws pertaining to rentals. The rental agreement also plays its part based on the provisions it contains.

Rental relationships were once arranged with mere handshakes, but that simpler time is now long gone forever. In today’s complicated and litigious world, such business arrangements become specified by the law and in contracts instead of on a trust basis. In today’s rental arrangements, the rental agreement governs the means of obtaining Delinquent Rent or unpaid balances. This is why it is so important to obtain a solid rent contract template before individuals become landlords and execute rental agreements for the first time.

Oral arrangements are never a good idea in these scenarios. This is because courts frown on enforcing them and they may even doubt their existence or validity. Well-defined lease contracts spell out each provision of the rental arrangements. This includes the amount of rent that has to be furnished and at what point said rent must be paid. Landlords who are unable to specify the precise date on which the rent must be paid will find they are often stymied in their subsequent late and unpaid rent collection endeavors.

It is similarly important for landlords to never agree to verbal alterations to a written out and executed contract. Verbal changes become hotly contested and debatable in law courts. They often will diminish the ability to collect on late rents which the written contract adequately specified. This is why instead the landlords must focus on writing in the maximum number of self help (for rental collection) avenues as the laws in a given state will permit.

In the majority of cases, the state laws provide for two different forms of dealing with unpaid and Delinquent Rent. The ones mentioned above are called self help remedies. These involve any methods a landlord may enforce without needing to make court appearances, file lawsuits, and involve judges. They can only include the relevant property code and state rental law provision allowances. Some of these so-called self help remedies include the ability to enforce liens on the personal property of the renter, to post a notice of eviction, and to physically engage in a lockout of the tenant by changing the locks on the property.

There are states that restrict the kinds of personal property that landlords may seize against Delinquent Rent or back rent. State contract law usually has provisions governing lockouts and eviction notices too. Landlords have to obey the contractual and state law requirements for both methods carefully. For example, shutting off electricity, water, and gas is typically not permitted by most states among the procedures for collecting late rent.

Eviction notices are often the most effective means of dealing with back rent. This is because the majority of tenants do not actually wish to be evicted forcefully by the sheriff from the property. The will generally respond to such a notice by paying any and all rent which they owe at this point.

When self help remedies do not resolve the situation, the small claims court is the place that handles the majority of landlord-tenant disputes. The landlord will have to pay filing fees in order to lodge a rent collection lawsuit. Tenants must be notified of the opening of such a rental dispute lawsuit. Every jurisdiction has its own regulations for the format of the notice which the landlord must provide to the tenant. Among these are in person notification, by fax, by mail, or other means of notification. Once a hearing is held before the judge, a judgment will typically be awarded for the rent that remains unpaid or delinquent.

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The term 'Delinquent Rent' is included in the Laws & Regulations edition of the Herold Financial Dictionary, which you can get from Amazon in Ebook or Paperback edition.