Collecting rent from a tenant who has already moved out is challenging for landlords. One statistic found that approximately 15 percent or 8.4 million Americans were behind on their rent payments.
Managing a property is already hard work, but it can become more difficult when you're dealing with rent collection.
Here's how to collect unpaid rent after a tenant moves out in the Salt Lake City area.
Review the Lease Agreement
All landlords should review the signed lease agreement before attempting to collect late rental payments. Most leases have a section highlighting the specific terms and conditions related to late rent payments and nonpayment.
Some leases do allow landlords to collect the unpaid rent from the security deposit. Make sure that the laws in your jurisdiction specifically list this as a method to use the security deposit.
Utah's landlord-tenant laws should clarify if there is any confusion. And if the lease doesn't say that collecting rent from the security deposit is allowed, you're still able to pursue other legal means to recoup it.
How to Collect Unpaid Rent After a Tenant Moves Out: Send a Letter
One method for how to collect unpaid rent after a tenant moves out is to send a certified letter. This letter is sometimes referred to as an "unpaid rent notice."
The letter should include the exact amount of rent owed along with the original date it was due. Make sure you also include a clear deadline for when you expect payment from the tenant.
Be very clear in your letter and specify that you plan to take legal action if you don't receive the rental payments by the listed deadline. Before you send the letter, make sure you keep a copy for your records. Send the letter via certified mail so there's proof the tenant received it, or you can hand-deliver it if you choose.
File with Small Claims Court
Managing a property is challenging, and you may need to deal with small claims court to receive past-due rental payments. Start by filing a complaint with the court and include all of the details of the case including dates and how much money is owed.
After you file the complaint, you'll need to serve the tenant. The small claims court should provide you with instructions, which typically include either hand-delivering the complaint or sending it via certified mail.
Once the complaint is received by the tenant, they have a chance to file a response. If they don't, then they will automatically be in default and a judgment could be entered.
However, if the tenant files a response, the case then goes for a hearing. Both sides will have a chance to provide evidence that supports their case in front of a judge.
Recoup Your Money
Now that you know how to collect unpaid rent after a tenant moves out, remember these tips to help you get what's due. Whether you need to take it from the security deposit or file in small claims court, it's important to know your rights.
If you need help with collecting rent from tenants, contact Utah Property Solutions today.