What Actions Can a Property Manager Take if a Tenant Doesn’t Pay Rent?

Few things are more frustrating to landlords than a tenant who is habitually late with the rent—or worse, stops paying altogether. Even the best of tenants can come upon hard times, which is why it’s best for landlords to contract with professional property management services in Mesa, AZ. The property manager will handle the monthly rent collections and will know immediately if a tenant is late. Professional property managers can then initiate legal actions if necessary to deal with the situation. property - manager

Contacting the Tenant

Occasionally, tenants honestly forget to pay the rent. Perhaps they recently had a death in the family or a loved one has become critically ill. Before taking any legal action, the property manager may contact the tenant to remind him or her that the rent is due. If the tenant is responsible, he or she will immediately make arrangements to pay it in full.

Submitting the Five-Day Notice

If the tenant does not make arrangements to pay or if the landlord prefers to take immediate action, then the property manager can fill out the necessary paperwork to serve the tenant with a five-day notice. Under Arizona law, in most cases, landlords are required to provide the delinquent tenant with five days to pay the arrears before an eviction lawsuit is filed. Occasionally, tenants are evicted for failure to comply with other requirements of the lease, such as those regarding pet ownership. In these cases, a tenant must be given a 10-day notice and the opportunity to restore compliance with the lease.

Filing an Eviction Lawsuit

If the tenant still fails to pay the rent by the end of the five days, then the landlord may decide to move forward with the eviction process. The property manager can file the eviction lawsuit on the sixth calendar day after submitting the five-day notice.

Appearing in Court

Arizona law does permit tenants certain defenses to eviction because of the non-payment of rent; however, a tenant’s inability to pay the rent is not a legally acceptable defense. At this point, the tenant still has the opportunity to pay all of the back rent, late fees, court costs, and attorney’s fees. If he or she does so before a judgment is entered, then the tenant can avoid eviction. Otherwise, the eviction will likely proceed.