When and how do you manage an unpaid rent situation?

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Rudolphe ABEN

When and how do you manage an unpaid rent situation?

The prospect of receiving a late payment or no payment at all is one of the biggest concerns of any landlord considering renting out their property. Firstly, this type of legal dispute can be avoided by implementing a number of good practices. In addition, if you do not pay your rent and you are several months in arrears, your landlord has the right to take legal action to recover the money.

If you want to avoid eviction, pay your rent on time

Even before a lease is signed, a landlord can reduce the likelihood of rent being paid late or not at all by putting certain preventive measures in place. Specifically, a responsible tenant profile should be favored at all times. To this end, landlords should not rent to just anyone without first seeing proof of income and rental history. Don't hesitate to ask for these things from anyone who asks to rent from you. This way, you can ensure that they are able to meet their current lease and have a stable source of money for future payments.

It is also possible to take out insurance to protect against financial loss in the event that tenants fail to pay their rent. Until the situation returns to normal, companies can actually compensate you for the rent. For example, if the defaulting tenant continues to occupy the property without paying the bill, this can compensate for the loss of income suffered throughout the legal process.

Prompt action and communication with the tenant to find out the reasons for the late payment of rent would help to resolve the situation. Sometimes the problem can be resolved quickly and amicably. But if the tenant still does not cooperate, you may have to take legal action to recover the rent.

If my tenant does not pay the rent, how do I take legal action?

To take legal action, you need to file a petition with the local Justice of the Peace (the one in Luxembourg, Esch-sur-Alzette or Diekirch, depending on the location of the accommodation).

Upon receipt of the petition, the clerk will issue a written summons to each party. The tenant will be considered to be "in default" if he or she does not appear in court on the day indicated. The hearing on the motion to dismiss will be delayed if he or she does show up.

But it is important to remember that the Justice of the Peace can always issue urgent warrants if necessary. It is not out of the question for him to request an expert opinion or to institute a temporary rent.

Once the judgement has been rendered, the landlord can proceed with a wage garnishment to recover any arrears of payment, bearing in mind the possibility of seizing the tenant's property. A judge may order an eviction if he or she determines that the current circumstances do not allow the lease to continue.

Since this is a petition-based procedure, there is no need to hire a bailiff or lawyer, and the cost is therefore low. Landlords usually only need to budget for the cost of copies of supporting documents, the cost of transport and accommodation at the hearings, and sending notices to tenants by registered post.