Past Due Rent Notice

Last Updated: May 19, 2022 by Robert Bailey

A late rent notice is a letter you send to a tenant to notify them that their rent is past due. This letter informs the tenant what they owe (including late fees), how to pay and what happens if the tenant fails to pay.

A late rent notice is not the same as a Notice to Quit for Nonpayment of Rent which is a formal notice a landlord uses to begin the eviction process.

When Not to Send a Late Rent Notice

In certain situations, you may not want to send a late rent notice. Here are a couple of reasons why you may not want to immediately send a late rent notice:

  1. A tenant has unfulfilled lease obligations (i.e., incomplete repairs).
  2. Responsible tenant’s first time late.
  3. You are aware of a unique or extraordinary circumstances of the tenant.

A quick call to your tenant may solve the issue especially if this is the first late payment or you are aware of a unique situation that has temporarily delayed their payment (i.e., tenant is out of town because of the death of a loved one).

If you are preparing to send a late rent notice, here is everything you need to know.

When to Send a Late Rent Notice

A late rent notice is an easy way to remind a tenant of their obligations without the immediate threat of eviction. A notice can help maintain good relationships and provide the landlord with documented communication.

Sending a late rent notice before beginning an eviction process can provide significant benefits to the landlord. These benefits include:

  1. Saved Time – Learning the eviction process and taking the necessary action to complete an eviction can be a time-consuming process. In addition, you will have to spend time trying to find a new tenant to fill their vacancy.
  2. Saved Money – The eviction process can be costly. Not only are you losing rent money, but now you have to spend money paying an attorney and court fees.
  3. Less Stress – Why deal with the stress of an eviction process when a simple letter might resolve the situation?

State Laws on Late Rent

Some states have a grace period allowing tenants to pay late without being evicted. Late fees cannot be collected during a grace period. Other states have limits on the type of late fee you can charge.  See the chart below for your state’s grace period and late fee requirements.

State Grace Period Late Fees
Alabama None No restrictions
Alaska None No limit, must be in the lease
Arizona None Reasonable, and in the lease
Arkansas 5 days No limit, must be in the lease
California None Reasonable, and in the lease
Colorado None No limit, must be in the lease
Connecticut 9 days Reasonable, and in the lease
Delaware None 5% of rent
Florida None No limit, must be in the lease
Georgia None No limit, must be in the lease
Hawaii None No limit, must be in the lease
Idaho None No limit, must be in the lease
Illinois None No restrictions
Indiana None No limit, must be in the lease
Iowa None Monthly Rent < $700 – $12 per day (max. $60 per month)
Monthly Rent > $700 – $20 per day (max. $100 per month)
Kansas None No restrictions
Kentucky None No limit, must be in the lease
Louisiana None No limit, must be in the lease
Maine 15 days 4% of past due amount
Maryland None 5% of past due amount
Massachusetts 30 days for late fees, None for evictions No limit, must be in the lease
Michigan None No limit, must be in the lease
Minnesota None 8% of rent amount
Mississippi None No limit, must be in the lease
Missouri None No restrictions
Montana None No restrictions
Nebraska None> No limit, must be in the lease
Nevada None 5% of rent amount
New Hampshire None No restrictions
New Jersey 5 days (protected classes only) No restrictions
New Mexico None 10% of rent amount
New York 5 days $50 or 5% of the rent amount, whichever is less
North Carolina 5 days $15 or 5% of the rent, whichever is greater
North Dakota None No limit, must be in the lease
Ohio None Reasonable, and in the lease
Oklahoma 5 days (14 days for public housing) Reasonable, and in the lease
Oregon 4 Days Reasonable, and in the lease
Pennsylvania None No restrictions
Rhode Island 15 days No restrictions
South Carolina None No restrictions
South Dakota None No restrictions
Tennessee 5 days 10% of past due amount
Texas 1 day 12% of rent amount
Utah None No restrictions
Vermont None No restrictions
Virginia 5 days 10% of past due amount
Washington None Reasonable, and in the lease
Washington D.C 5 days 5% of rent
West Virginia None Reasonable, and in the lease
Wisconsin None No limit, must be in the lease
Wyoming None No limit, must be in the lease

You should send a late rent notice as soon as a tenant is late on their rent and their grace period (if applicable in your state) has expired, this provides the following benefits:

  • Gives your tenant the greatest opportunity to get current on their rent.
  • Provides the landlord a record of timely communication in case further action, such as eviction, is required.

How to Write a Late Rent Notice

Your late rent notice should include the below information:

  1. Date the letter is being sent
  2. Landlord’s name and contact information
  3. Tenant’s name and contact information
  4. Rental property address, including the unit number
  5. Monthly rent amount
  6. Rent payment due date
  7. Specific month(s) of unpaid rent
  8. Amount of rent past due
  9. Any partial payments made by the tenant
  10. Late fee, if applicable
  11. Total amount due
  12. Acceptable forms of payment
  13. Acceptable methods of delivering payment
  14. Deadline for tenant’s response
  15. Consequences of nonpayment
  16. Landlord’s signature

How to Send a Late Rent Notice

Many lease agreements include information on how to send communication (i.e., late rent notices) between the landlord and tenant.

Ideally, you want to send a notice in a way that requires signature confirmation to document its receipt. This can be accomplished by certified mail. Even better, send it by restricted certified mail which requires the tenant to be the only person that can sign for the notice.

You should keep a copy of this notice filed with a notation of what means were used to deliver the notice and any other relevant information.

What if a Tenant Still Does Not Pay?

It is recommended that you should not accept partial payments. If a late rent notice is given to your tenant and rent is unpaid, you may be forced to take more formal action.

Notice to Pay or Quit

If rent remains unpaid, a landlord can provide the tenant with a Notice to Pay or Quit. This is a formal letter informing the tenant they must pay their rent or vacate the premises.

Eviction Process

If a tenant does not abide by the terms of the Notice to Pay or Quit it’s time to begin the eviction process. This can end up being a long and difficult process. If it looks like this is your only option, please see our detailed guide to help you navigate the Eviction Process.