What to Do (and Not Do) When a Tenant Delays Payment

A man is providing awareness about the dos and don'ts regarding tenants' delayed payments.

Managing a rental property can be stressful for many reasons, including if a tenant delays payment on their rent. This can be a hard situation to navigate and requires good communication, as well as some patience, especially if legal steps need to be taken. At GIL, we understand how difficult and confusing this situation can be and we’re here to help with some guidelines on how to handle late rent payments and keep your investments safe.

What Not to Do When a Tenant Delays Payment

Let’s start by going through what you shouldn’t do if a tenant delays payment on their rent. Below are some actions and behaviours you should avoid while dealing with delayed payments:

Avoid Confrontation

Violence and aggression rarely solve anything and may worsen the situation. Refrain from hostile or aggressive communication that may escalate the situation or worse, result in legal actions being taken against you.

Illegal Actions

Make sure you understand your limitations as a landlord and abstain from unlawful tactics, such as changing locks or removing tenant belongings without proper legal procedures.

Retaliatory Measures

You may feel the need to get back at your tenants for delaying payment, but don’t! Avoid taking unlawful actions such as harassment or decreasing services or amenities. These can lead to legal consequences and can further complicate the situation.

Now that you know what not to do, let’s look at some steps you can take to fix the situation.

Steps to Take When a Tenant Delays Payment

As mentioned, it can be tricky when a tenant delays payment of their rent. Communication and mutual understanding are key to resolving this situation. Here are some steps you can take to resolve your dispute:


Maintain an open dialogue throughout all communication by initiating a respectful and empathetic conversation with your tenant. Clarify your expectations by reiterating the terms of the lease agreement regarding rent payments. Finally, explore solutions with your tenant. Collaborating with them to find feasible solutions, such as payment plans, or temporary adjustments may remove the need for further escalation and safeguard your relationship.

Taking Legal Action

If it must come to it, proceed with taking legal action, but know your rights. Familiarize yourself with landlord-tenant laws and regulations to know what you can and cannot do when it comes to delayed payments. Issue a formal notice to notify your tenant of the consequences of continued non-payment. Seek legal counselling by consulting with a legal professional for guidance on further legal actions if necessary.

Taking these steps can be daunting, especially if you’ve never had to take them in the past. GIL can help by providing expert advice on all landlord-tenant matters. Our knowledge, regarding the “Rights & Responsibilities” of both landlords and tenants in Alberta, ensures that we’re educated on all current legislation governing delayed or non-payments. Contact us today or request a free property management consultation and discover how we can help you keep your tenant relationships and investments safe.