Sometimes, especially when we take over a property or replace a Manager, we find that the collection policy has not been followed, which almost always produces a major mess. Although it would be nice if we could just tell the Residents that “There’s a new sheriff in town” and you better start paying according to the terms of your lease as of TOMORROW, it’s not quite that simple.
When we do not hold our Residents to the terms and conditions of the lease, and we let it go on for a while (30 days or more is a good rule of thumb), most jurisdictions require us to give the Residents a thirty day written notice which tells the Residents that you intend to start enforcing the terms of the lease again.
Following this article, you will find a sample copy of a letter that must be delivered to each Resident at any community where the rent collection policies have not been enforced.
IMPORTANT: I am NOT an attorney! PLEASE have this reviewed by your attorney before you use it – I make NO WARRANTY that this language complies with the laws of your jurisdiction!
Again, the purpose of this letter is to re-state our rent collection policy so that it will stand up in court during an eviction procedure. If a property has not been strictly enforcing the rent collections provision of our lease, a letter such as this must be used to “reinstate” the policy contained in the lease. By sending each Resident a thirty (30) day advance notice of our intention to enforce this lease provision consistently and without exception, we will be able to avoid any surprises if and when we go to court with a delinquent Resident.
The letter should be copied on your community letterhead, and signed by the Manager. Type or print the delivery date on top of the letter, and then print a rent roll for your community and give it to the person delivering the letters. The letters should be delivered to each apartment, and slipped under the door. As each letter is delivered, place a checkmark next to their name on the rent roll. After all letters have been delivered, write the following on the bottom of the rent roll and have it signed and dated by the person who delivered the letters, and have their signature witnessed by one person:
“I hereby certify that on (Day, date and time period) I delivered a copy of the attached letter to each and every Resident listed on this Rent Roll.”
For time period, put the range of time during which the letters were delivered: “Thursday, January 24, 2012, between 3:00 PM and 5:15 PM”.
It is imperative that every apartment receive a copy of the letter no later than 30 days prior to the first day of the month in which you intend to reinstate the collection policy contained in your lease..
January 24, 2012
The successful operation of our community depends a great deal on our ability to secure professional services and quality materials, and pay for them in a timely manner. Just as you depend on your paycheck to meet your financial obligations, so do we depend on your timely rental payments, to ensure uninterrupted services to maintain and enhance your rental home. Given our commitment to providing our Residents with a comfortable and well-maintained apartment home, we are sending you this reminder letter regarding the timely payment of rent.
First of all, let me thank all of you who have consistently paid your rent in accordance with the terms of your lease. I hate to bother you with this letter, but not all of our Residents treat their rental payment obligation in the manner that most of you do.
The lease that every Resident signed specifically states that the monthly rent is due on or before the first day of the month. This means that the rent is late on the second! The lease further provides a “grace period” of five days before a late charge is assessed. The lease is a legally binding contract, and we have never waived this provision, although it may not have been enforced “to the letter” in the past.
This letter will serve as our thirty (30) day notice that, effective March 1, 2012, we will expect ALL Residents to abide strictly by the rental payment requirements stated in their lease. We will not be sending any late notices or reminders to any Resident whose rent has not been received by the 5th of the month. Anyone whose rent is not paid as of the morning of the 6th of the month will receive an Eviction Notice, and anyone whose rent is not received, along with the late charge, by the expiration of the Eviction Notice will be referred to our attorney for eviction. Any rents paid after the 5th of the month must be paid by Certified Check or Money Order; no personal checks will be accepted after the 5th.
Again, I apologize to each of you who has consistently paid your rent early or on time in the past; this letter is not directed to you, and I appreciate your sense of responsibility regarding your financial obligations. I must, however, notify each and every Resident to make certain that our continuing enforcement of this lease provision is known to all Residents. Thank you for your cooperation.
(Name of the Manager)