Paying on-time is not a favor
We experienced an anomaly this month. We had three different tenants who experienced difficulties paying on time, and they all had different circumstances.
The first tenant actually did get his payment in on time. Truthfully, he was early. But the difficulty stemmed from the fact that his personal bank account had been closed down due to fraudulent activity, and the rent payment was returned due to insufficient funds. That being said, he figured that out before the first of the month and used a different account to make his payment — on time mind you.
He called me to let me know what had happened just as soon as he found out, which was on the first of the month. Bless his heart — he was upset, embarrassed and just plain frustrated with the situation. He apologized multiple times. You could hear the weariness in his voice. But I assured him that everything was good on our end and that because he had been so diligent, we would not charge him any fees.
You see, he’s a good guy who does the four jobs of a tenant. He takes care of the house, pays on time, is comfortable to work with and is a good neighbor. And since he had been proactive and stayed in good communication with us, we were willing to waive the fees.
Now, the next two tenant situations did not go as smoothly.
The first guy just didn’t pay on time. He did schedule a payment in our online system, but it was for a date well after his due date. We didn’t even find that out until after we sent him a letter of demand stating he needed to pay or move.
I was taken aback by the reply I got.
You see, he had been late the previous month. We made arrangements with him because he had contacted us and let us know he had some sort of issue with his pay period not lining up as it had in previous months. He was communicating well, and so we were willing to work with him.
This month, he just assumed he could do it again without talking to us. And in the reply to the letter of demand, he stated that mindset and then went on to say that after years of on-time payments, we should understand.
The reason I was surprised by his response was this particular tenant was acting like paying on time was doing us a favor. More on that in a second.
The last tenant was going through a tough time. They had some sickness that had kept them from working. They called well after their payment was due to talk. They informed us of the situation and asked if they could pay most of their payment now and the rest of it later. I asked them how much they could pay, and they said they could get us all but $200 now and the rest on the first.
Now, we don’t typically do that. I don’t like taking partial payments. But because they had an extenuating circumstance, we decided to allow it this time. We wrote an agreement, and everyone signed it.
Later that day, I got a text message from the tenant asking why they had received a late fee. They were upset about it and said they couldn’t believe I would do something like that since they had paid on time for the past year — once again acting like paying on time was going above and beyond the requirements or like they were doing us a favor. I promptly called, recited their lease terms and conditions and even noted that they had not let me know until after the due date that they had something going on.
But here’s the thing: I did not add the late fee. The fee was already there when we talked. But at the end of the day, the person who had the late applied was the tenant since it was in place from the start of the lease and automatic once they didn’t pay on time.
Now back to the on-time payments thing.
Both of these tenants acted like they were doing something special by paying on-time. But y’all, paying on time is not a favor. It’s their job!
Paying on-time is the tenant’s second most important job, only falling behind taking care of the property. And just like with anything else, if you aren’t doing your job, you get asked to leave.
Two of these tenants forgot that fact in the midst of their chaos. But they remember now. And you need to make sure your tenants understand that paying on-time is not a favor, it’s their job.
Joe and Ashley English buy houses and mobile homes in Northwest Georgia. For more information or to ask a question, go to www.cashflowwithjoe.com or call Joe at 678-986-6813.