Late rent payments are a reality of property management. Sometimes tenants are forgetful or short on cash, and sometimes they’re habitually paying rent late. Whatever the situation, you need to know your rights and responsibilities as a landlord so you can manage unpaid rent. So, what should you do when your tenant doesn’t pay the rent?
Verify your Records
First and foremost, you want to carefully review your own records before taking any action regarding overdue or unpaid rent. This might seem obvious, but you’d be surprised how often landlords or property managers accuse tenants of not paying rent only to find that payment had already been collected. According to the BC Tenancy Act, rent must be paid by midnight the day it is due, so you’ll want to confirm when and how much rent is to be paid. Refer to your lease agreement and ensure that the terms of rent are clearly indicated. This agreement must include the amount of rent, what’s included in the rent, and when the rent is due.
10 Day Notice to End Tenancy
As soon as you have confirmed that rent has not been paid by the due date agreed, you have the right as a landlord to give a 10 Day Notice to End Tenancy. Technically, this notice can be served to the tenant the day after rent is due. At this point, the tenant has 5 days to remit payment in full. If payment is received, the Notice is cancelled and tenancy continues as normal.
If the tenant does not respond to the Notice within 5 days or move out after 10 days, the landlord must apply to the Residential Tenancy Branch for dispute resolution. Please note, even if rent is not collected and the tenant has not responded to the Notice, the landlord must not remove the tenant’s personal property or limit access to the property. In fact, a landlord can only act to remove a tenant’s possession once written permission is provided by the court.
For landlords, there are many stages of the application to the Residential Tenancy Branch for dispute resolution.
- The landlord provides the branch all required paperwork for dispute resolution including a copy of the tenancy agreement (i.e. the lease agreement), a copy of the 10 Day Notice to End Tenancy, and proof that this Notice as served to the tenant.
- Next, the landlord serves the tenant a Notice of Direct Request from the branch.
- The landlord provides proof of service of this request to the branch.
- The landlord and tenant via telephone conference call meet with the Residential Tenancy Branch to present evidence.
- The branch reviews all evidence and then makes a final and binding decision that all parties must follow.
As you can see, the process for collecting unpaid rent or evicting tenants is quite extensive. It is especially important that you carefully vet all potential tenants in advance in order to avoid costly and time-consuming problems related to unpaid rent.