A timeline of what to do if students don’t pay their rent

Arthur Online

By Arthur Online

29 October 2019

Students will face challenges throughout their time at university, including a reality check when it comes to budgeting…

There are steps to take as a property manager to encourage timely payment of rent and to avoid any future late rent payments. The issue of students not paying rent can be unpredictable, and to a certain extent, unavoidable. On the most part, students cannot undergo credit checks when they apply to start a tenancy in your property, therefore knowing how to deal with late payments is critical as a property manager. Once you encounter a student who is not paying rent it can be a huge inconvenience to your cash flow, therefore knowing the correct procedure to take is fundamental to reclaim your owed rent money. 


After seven days of late rent:

Continue to contact the tenant, if you receive a response, make sure you take a log of the convocation. Furthermore, begin collating a log of all previous communication, including:

  • Contracts
  • Phone calls
  • Text / WhatsApp messages
  • Email
  • Letters
  • Any other form of communication.

You should also get access to any rent payments that they had made before the student stopped paying their rent.


After fourteen days of late rent:

You are entitled to initiate contact with the guarantor. Nearly all student tenancy agreement have guarantors as students tend to not to have steady regular income. As a guarantor, they are legally bounded to pay any outstanding charges that are not paid by a tenant. By gently reminding the guarantor about the outstanding rent payments, it will be in the guarantor’s best interest for the student to pay up, or they will be left with the burden of the outstanding charge.

If there is no response from the guarantor, repeat the process of collating all previous communication and any payments.


After twenty-one days of late rent:

Final letters should be sent to both parties, informing them that you will be forced into taking legal action if the outstanding rent payments are not reconciled before a set date. Under the Housing Act 1988, you can take action to claim possession of your property. Serve your section 8 notice, in which you will take them to court if the rent hasn’t been settled within 2 weeks. In order to do this, you should:

  • Complete a notice seeking possession of a property let on an assured tenancy with the dates of breach of contract included.
  • Serve them notice between 2 weeks to 2 months.

However, this process should be last resort. If you can resolve the rent with the tenant / guarantor who has been replying, then it may be worth keeping them on the tenancy, depending on whether you think it will happen again in the future.


After thirty days of late rent:

Time to take legal action to take back your property. Ensure all your documents have been recovered and you have enough evidence. Once they reach over the 30-day period to pay off the rent, they would’ve now missed two months rent therefore they are in two months rent arrears to you. It may be wise to start thinking about marketing the unit. Once the student is evicted, it key to make sure the tenancy isn’t left empty!


You can get yourself covered!

There are steps to take to prepare against this inconvenience. Landlord insurance covers building and content insurance and can be extended to protecting oneself against rent loss. It is then the responsibility of the company to collect the outstanding rent. It also stretches as far as covering legal costs in the process of evicting the student.



Arthur Online

By Arthur Online

29 October 2019


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