How to Get Rid of Tenant Who is Not Paying Rent

Being a landlord can be a rewarding experience, but it also comes with its fair share of challenges. One of the most common issues landlords face is dealing with tenants who do not pay rent on time or at all. While it can be frustrating, it’s essential to follow the proper legal procedures to protect your rights as a landlord. You should be aware of what notice you should give to your tenant to ensure compliance with US Fair Housing laws.

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This blog post will go through how to evict a tenant who is not paying rent in a way that is both morally and legally compliant with fair housing laws.

What is the best way to get rid of a tenant who does not pay their rent on time?

  1. Review Your Lease Agreement:

Before taking any action, carefully review your lease agreement. The lease should clearly outline the terms and conditions regarding rent amount, late payments, and the consequences of non-payment. Make sure you understand your rights and responsibilities as a landlord under the lease.

  1. Open Communication:

The first step in resolving the issue of unpaid rent is to communicate with your tenant. Reach out to them in a friendly and respectful manner to discuss the situation. Sometimes, tenants may be facing financial difficulties or personal problems that prevent them from paying rent on time. Try to understand their situation and work together to find a solution.

  1. Document Everything:

It is crucial to keep thorough records of all communication with your tenant regarding rent payments. This includes written correspondence, emails, and notes from in-person or phone conversations. Documenting your efforts to resolve the issue will be essential if you need to pursue legal action later.

  1. Send a Notice to Pay Rent or Quit:

If your tenant continues to neglect their rent payments despite your efforts to communicate and find a resolution, you may need to send them a “Notice to Pay Rent or Quit.” This notice is a legal document that informs the tenant that they must pay the overdue rent within a specified timeframe or vacate the premises.

The notice should include:

  • The tenant’s name and address
  • The amount of rent owed
  • The due date of the rent
  • A deadline for payment (usually 3-5 days)
  • A statement that explains the consequences of non-compliance (eviction)
  • Make sure to send this notice via certified mail or hand-deliver it to the tenant to ensure they receive it.
  1. Consult an Attorney:

An attorney with experience in landlord-tenant law should be consulted if the renter still doesn’t pay the rent or leaves the property after being given the notice. They can assist you in navigating the court system and making sure you are in compliance with all fair housing legislation.

  1. File an Eviction Lawsuit:

If necessary, you can file an eviction lawsuit, also known as an unlawful detainer action, in court. Your attorney will guide you through the process, which typically includes serving the tenant with a summons and complaint, attending a court hearing, and obtaining an eviction order from the judge.

  1. Respect Fair Housing Laws:

Throughout the eviction process, it’s essential to adhere to fair housing laws to avoid any potential discrimination claims. You cannot evict a tenant based on their race, color, religion, national origin, gender, familial status, disability, or any other protected characteristic under federal, state, or local fair housing laws.

  1. Follow Court Orders:

If the court grants you an eviction order, it’s crucial to follow it precisely. You must not engage in any self-help evictions, such as changing locks, removing belongings, or forcibly removing the tenant. Leave the eviction process to law enforcement, as they will enforce the court’s order.


Dealing with a tenant who is not paying rent can be challenging, but it’s essential to follow the legal and ethical procedures outlined above while respecting US fair housing compliance regulations.

Open communication and a willingness to work with your tenant can sometimes resolve the issue without resorting to eviction. However, if eviction becomes necessary, consult with an attorney to ensure that you navigate the process correctly and in compliance with the law. Remember, patience, documentation, and adherence to fair housing laws are key to successfully addressing this situation while protecting your rights as a landlord.

Explore our website to learn more about compliance with the Fair Housing laws and watch our free webinars on affordable housing.

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