3 Good Reasons NOT To Make A Payment Plan In Landlord Tenant Court
By, Robyn Latman, Esq.
It happens all the time. In fact, it happens in most of the eviction cases that are filed in New Jersey. The parties settle their cases, and they enter into a payment plan for repayment of the past due rent. Recently, I wrote a blog post called 3 Good Reasons To Make A Payment Plan In Landlord Tenant Court. If you haven’t read it yet, you should check it out.
Today, I bring you three good reasons NOT to make a payment plan with your tenant. I know, I know, you filed the eviction case because you want the money. Or do you? Maybe what you really want is a tenant who pays the rent. Well, if you find yourself filing again and again on the same tenant, then it may be time to get a new tenant.
Good Reason Number One – Your Tenant is A Usual Suspect.
Usual suspect. Repeat offender. A regular. We have all sorts of funny names that we use to describe the tenant that finds himself in Landlord Tenant Court every few months. The tenant who just can’t seem to pay his rent, but somehow, he always manages to find the cash to pay for new sneakers, fancy phones and a shiny car. This tenant will show up in court expecting to make a payment plan with you. Or he just won’t bother to show up because he knows that, as long as he pays before he gets the Warrant of Removal, he will be able to stay.
To him, paying his rent on time just is not a priority. So what about your bills, your taxes, your mortgage. These are not his concern. He’ll get around to paying you back when he feels like it. Each time you make another payment arrangement with this tenant, you are agreeing to his terms. You are teaching him that his behavior is okay. I said in the last post that one good reason to make a payment plan is because some money now is better than no money. Except when it’s not.
Ask yourself whether this is a tenant who you want to keep. Is this a tenant who you can afford to keep? Would it be better to cut your losses and move on to a new tenant?
Good Reason Number Two – You Have A Waiting List of Qualified Tenants.
If your building is in a desirable neighborhood, has a good reputation or attracts a lot of tenants some other way, you may have a list of tenants waiting to move in. You might not have an actual list, written down and sitting in a drawer. But, when you have an empty unit, you get a lot of responses in a short time. There are tenants willing to move in, ready to move in, and who will pay the rent on time each month.
If you know that you can fill an empty unit in your building with little difficulty, or if you are in a position to wait for an ideal tenant, you may want to evict your usual suspects. Each bad tenant lost is a lesson learned. There is no shame in replacing the tenant who lives by his own rules with someone new who will live by yours.
Good Reason Number Three – Your Tenant Causes Other Problems.
Is your tenant a disturbance in the building? Does the tenant always have noisy, inconsiderate guests over to visit? Does your tenant have unauthorized occupants living there with him? Maybe he has pets that are not permitted. If this tenant just can’t seem to pay the rent, evicting him for non-payment may be the simplest way out of this bad situation.
Yes, you may have several reasons why you want to evict this one. The tenant may be in violation of the Lease and the law for any of a variety of reasons. But, generally, the quickest way to get the tenant out is by filing a non-payment case. If this tenant shows up to court with every last dollar of rent that he owes you, you may need to pursue another road to eviction. Or you might not.
Sometimes, when you get a tenant to court for non-payment of rent, rather than collecting the rent from this one, you and the tenant may agree that he will move out instead. Chances are that if you are unhappy with him, he may also be unhappy with you. Agreeing on a date for this tenant to vacate may be the solution that you both are looking for.
As a Landlord in New Jersey, you may have other reasons why you don’t make payment plans with certain tenants.
Please share them with us by writing a comment below.
Information gathered from this blog post is intended to be educational in nature only and does not replace the advice of an attorney about your specific matter. If you are a landlord of either residential or commercial space, and you are wondering whether you can enforce your lease agreement, collect unpaid rents or remove a tenant who is breaching its lease agreement or the law in some way, please contact this office for additional information. We look forward to speaking with you.