Property Management Blog

How to Collect Unpaid Rent in Bellingham, Washington

David Long - Tuesday, November 07, 2017


If a tenant is paying rent late, you need to have a process in place to collect what is owed. Today, we’re going over a few basic steps that will help you collect unpaid rent consistently and successfully.

Due Dates and Late Rent Notice

Make sure you are tracking your due dates. When rent is due and you don’t receive the payment on time, contact the tenants and any cosigners soon after the day that rent was due. If you don’t receive the payment and you don’t hear from your tenants or their cosigners, you need to post a Three Day Pay or Vacate notice. You can post this notice on the door, and send a copy in the mail. This notice gives the tenants three days to catch up with rent or vacate the property. It’s the first step in the eviction process, and usually this will get a response from your tenants.

Landlord Rights: Filing an Eviction Notice

If you still don’t receive a payment, your next step is to contact an eviction attorney to move forward with the legal process of removing your nonpaying tenants. Do this right away. The shortest possible timeframe to complete an eviction in Washington is 23 days. We also recommend you send the delinquent account to collections. Once the eviction is complete, tenants still may not pay what they owe. Using a collection agency will increase your chances of getting the money that is owed to you.

Late Fee for Rent

Finally, always enforce your late fees. Charge the late fee even if the tenant pays after missing the initial due date. Not enforcing these fees only encourages tenants to pay late again in the future.

These are a few ways to collect unpaid rent. For more information on late rent, the eviction process, or anything related to property management, please contact us at Access Real Estate Services. We have been serving Bellingham and the surrounding areas since 2010.