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How to Get Your Tenants to Pay Rent on Time

Dealing with late rent payments can be frustrating and costly for landlords, especially when it’s a recurring problem. Late rent payments can even lead to more significant hassles, like going through the eviction process. That’s the last thing you want to deal with as a landlord! If you’re getting late rent payments from your tenants, check out our property management team’s tips below for encouraging tenants to pay rent on time each month.


How to Ensure Tenants Pay Rent On Time

Ensuring timely rent payments is crucial for the success of any rental business. After all, when tenants don’t pay rent on time, you’re wasting time tracking them down, potentially missing out on profits and putting off other important business tasks. That’s why it’s crucial to develop ways for tenants to pay rent on time. Here are some tips for landlords and Baltimore property managers to collect rent on time and in full each month.

  1. Offer Discounts for Early Payments
  2. Encourage Them to Use Auto-Pay
  3. Give Incentives for Long-Term Renters
  4. Help Tenants Build Their Credit
  5. Avoid Accepting Cash Payments
  6. Charge Extra If They Don’t Pay Rent On Time
  7. Be Strict With Your Rent Collection Policy
  8. Follow-Up With Late Paying Tenants
  9. Collect the Whole Payment at Once
  10. Choose Your Tenants Wisely

Offer Discounts for Early Payments

If financially able, most people will happily pay their rent early if it allows them to receive a discounted monthly rate. Even $10-$20 off will be enough to win many tenants over and get them to pay you early, so decide on the right discount amount for your situation and let your tenants know!

Encourage Them to Use Auto-Pay

Setting up auto-pay for your tenants is an easy way to ensure you get paid on time. What’s not so easy is getting your renters to agree to an auto-pay system.


While they might be hesitant, you can try to sway them by offering to lower their monthly rent if they agree to enroll in your auto-pay program. Then, you’ll get paid on time every month because their rent will automatically draft out of their account, making your job much easier!

Give Incentives for Long-Term Renters

High tenant turnover rates can cost you a lot of time and money. So, keeping your best tenants around as long as possible is essential. One good way to do that is to lower their rent.

But don’t just lower it out of nowhere – let tenants know when they first sign their lease that you will lower their monthly rent by a specified amount if they pay it on time for the full duration of their lease period (you can choose a shorter time frame if you’d like).

Help Tenants Build Their Credit

Just about everyone can appreciate an opportunity to build their credit. So, why not use that knowledge to help ensure you get paid on time every month?

Reporting a tenant’s payments to the credit bureaus is a good way to help them build credit and motivate them to pay their rent on or before the due date.

Let your tenants know that paying their rent on time will help them improve their credit score, and you’ll likely notice more tenants making an effort to avoid being late.

Avoid Accepting Cash Payments

Collecting cash from tenants can seem like an attractive option because you can spend it right away.

However, it isn’t a good idea – at all. In fact, doing so can even cause otherwise avoidable issues for you. Here’s why:

  • Accepting a cash payment means there is no paper trail for you to keep track of the transaction.
  • Cash can be lost easily.
  • When tenants pay with cash, they may leave less money than required in the rent payment envelope and dispute the amount with you later.

Require your tenants to choose a different payment method so you can avoid the hassle of disputes and late rent collection.

Charge Extra if They Don’t Pay Rent On Time

If there are no consequences for your tenants when they pay their rent late, do you think they’ll put in extra effort to pay on time? Probably not.


So, determine a late rent fee to impose when a tenant is late. While deciding on an amount, keep in mind that landlords in Maryland cannot charge more than 5% of the rent due.

Once you’ve figured out how much to charge, you can begin collecting the late fees as soon as the rent is late or wait a few days – it’s up to you.

You’ll need to clearly explain your late fees outlined in the tenant’s rental agreement to enforce it. Otherwise, you cannot legally charge them for paying rent late.

Be Strict With Your Rent Collection Policy

Tenants will be much less likely to follow your rules if you don’t enforce them. So, when a tenant signs their lease, go over exactly what is expected from them, including:

  • The amount due every month (be exact)
  • The acceptable payment methods
  • The exact due date for paying rent
  • The consequences of paying late, bouncing a check, etc.

Once you’ve explained everything in detail, the tenant will understand how and when to pay rent every month, which will help you avoid dealing with any excuses for late payments from them in the future.

That said, even the best tenants may need to pay late occasionally.

Use your best judgment – if someone has paid on time consistently in the past and takes good care of your property, you may consider waiving their late fee or giving them some extra time to pay their rent. If you choose to do this, let the tenant know that it is only a one-time deal so they don’t take advantage of your generosity in the future.

Follow-Up With Late Tenants

When a tenant is late paying their rent, follow up with them quickly and work toward a resolution. When you do this, remember that a healthy tenant/landlord relationship should be approached professionally – not emotionally – so you need to stay calm throughout the process. After all, the tenant might have just forgotten to pay.

To follow up, simply call your tenant and try to figure out why the rent payment is late and when they will be able to pay you.

Come to a verbal agreement with your tenant about when they will provide payment, and make sure you collect it on that date. It is also recommended to send a confirmation e-mail to the tenant and request a reply, leaving a paper trail documenting your agreement.

Collect the Whole Payment at Once

When more than one person lives in your property, they might find it easier to pay you separately. Don’t allow this, or you could end up dealing with a huge hassle every month.

Think about it. If three students inhabit your property, you’ll have to collect three separate checks, all of which could be late. When this happens, you’ll have to deal with three separate follow-ups and three late payments. To avoid this situation, require your tenants to pay you in one single check (or transaction). That way, if the rent is late, you can deal with one point of contact and get paid faster.


Choose Your Tenants Wisely

Be proactive about getting prompt rent payments by choosing tenants who are likely to pay rent on time every month. You can do this by sticking to a good tenant screening process that includes:

Need Help Finding Qualified Tenants? 

If you need help screening tenants or would like someone else to collect rent for you, consider hiring professional property management. A comprehensive rental management team can do it all for you, whether it’s marketing, tenant screening, maintenance, or collecting rent payments. That way, you don’t have to worry about tracking down each tenant that’s late with their rent. 

Bay Property Management Group is a full-service management team working throughout Baltimore, Philadelphia, Northern Virginia, and Washington, DC. Our dedicated group of property managers works hard for your properties so you don’t have to!

Interested in learning more about how our property management team can help make your job as a landlord easier? We’d love to chat – contact us today!