A late rent notice (or a notice to pay rent) is a written letter from the landlord informing the tenant that rent is past due and requesting the tenant pay the overdue rent immediately.
This notice is more informal than an eviction notice and can be a courteous first step to collecting rent before beginning the eviction process.
What Is a Late Rent Notice?
A late rent notice is a document a landlord sends to a tenant whenever that tenant has failed to pay rent. Late rent notices should include the amount due and any late fees owed.
Additionally, landlords can list all other expenses the tenant may owe (such as parking or storage fees) and a warning about legal action to follow unless the tenant pays the rent by the stated deadline.
If a tenant has only been late once, landlords often send this notice as a courteous and formal reminder that rent is due. When a tenant continues to be delinquent or is late on multiple occasions, the landlord may send a notice to pay rent or quit or an eviction notice to end the lease agreement.
Grace Periods for Late Rent by State
Some state housing laws provide a grace period for a tenant to pay their late rent. Refer to the table below and check your state’s laws before filing a formal eviction.
That said, a landlord can always give a grace period or a longer grace period even when not statutorily required.
|State||Late Rent Grace Period||Citation|
|Arkansas||5 days||AR Code Ann. § 18-17-701|
|Connecticut||9 days||CT Gen. Stat. Ann. § 47a-15a|
|District of Columbia||5 days||DC Code Ann. § 42–3505.31|
|Maine||15 days||14 Maine Rev. Stat. § 6028|
|Massachusetts||30 days||MA Gen. Law ch. 186 § 15B(1)(c)|
|New Jersey||5 business days||NJ Rev. Stat. § 2A:42-6.1|
|New York||5 days||NY Real Prop. Laws § 238-A|
|North Carolina||5 days||NC Gen. Stat.§§ 42-46|
|Oregon||4 days||OR Rev. Stat. § 90.260|
|Rhode Island||15 days||RI Gen. Laws § 34-18-35|
|Tennessee||5 days||TN Code Ann. § 66-28-201(d)|
|Texas||2 days||TX Prop. Code Ann. § 92.019|
|Virginia||5 days||VA Code Ann. § 55.1-1204|
|Washington||5 days||WA Rev. Code Ann. § 59.18.170|
Why Should I Use a Late Rent Notice?
A simple letter reminding the tenant to pay past due rent may be all the landlord needs to receive payment.
Perhaps the tenant forgot to send a check that month and doesn’t need to be threatened with an eviction notice. A notice in the form of a letter is fast and easy, and it can maintain a good relationship between the parties.
Without this notice, the landlord may suffer the following preventable consequences:
|1. Lost money|
|to pay attorneys to start the eviction process|
|to pay for court fees to file an eviction lawsuit|
|2. Lost time|
|to pursue a delinquent tenant|
|to research how to remove a tenant|
|3. Mental anguish|
|of having someone live in your property for free|
|of continually asking for money owed|
When Should I Send a Late Rent Notice?
A landlord should send a late rent notice as soon as the rent payment is past due (and outside of the grace period), giving the tenant a chance to cure the breach and pay.
To begin eviction proceedings, the landlord must typically provide the tenant 3 to 5 days to pay late rent or leave (confirm with your state and local housing laws).
Most state housing laws agree that tenants should pay their rent on time.
Of note, six states empower landlords and tenants to decide on the notice requirements and refer landlords back to the original lease or rental agreement.
How Should I Send a Late Rent Notice?
The lease agreement may describe how landlords should send late rent notices. You can typically:
- Deliver it in person
- Send it via certified or registered mail
- Send it via overnight courier service
Whenever you need to send a late rent notice, consult your lease agreement and state laws for the legal and most appropriate delivery method to your tenant.
How to Write a Late Rent Notice
Here’s a list of step-by-step instructions for writing a late rent notice to your tenant:
Step 1 – Write the Tenant’s Name and Address
Provide the tenant’s full name. If there’s more than one tenant, include the names of all tenants who entered into the lease agreement. Record the tenant’s street address, which should be the same as the rental property address.
Step 2 – Enter the Date of the Notice
Write the date you send the late rent notice.
Step 3 – Fill In Late Rent Details
Write the month for which the tenant hasn’t paid rent. Include the rent amount that’s overdue and any late fees in addition to the normal rent payment.
Step 4 – Identify Payment Details and Method
Indicate how the tenant can pay the rent, whether via in-person delivery (acceptable day(s) of the week and hours), by mail, or through another method. Provide the payment methods acceptable to the landlord.
Step 5 – Write Your Name and Address
As the landlord, you can provide your full name and your current street address.
Late Rent Notice Template
Below, you can view our late rent notice template. Download it as a PDF or Word file:
Frequently Asked Questions
There will probably be a grace period of 3-5 days, but the amount of time you should wait will depend on the specific laws of your state and the terms of your lease agreement with the tenant.
Get tenants to pay on time with the following tips:
- Carefully screen and choose tenants with a rental application
- Provide clear rent payment instructions in your lease agreement
- Include a late fee clause in your rental agreement
- Make rent payments easy for tenants by offering online options
When a tenant is late on rent, the landlord acquires certain legal rights. The landlord can, if they wish, issue an eviction notice, which allows the landlord to remove the tenant from the property.
The landlord might also be able to recover other expenses, such as damages and costs. The tenant will also suffer the loss of finding a new place to live and quickly gathering up all of his possessions, possibly from the side of the street.