26th January 2010

The Importance Of Recordkeeping

Keeping records for a business is usually a must what with draconian government agencies like the US Internal Revenue Service constantly breathing down our collective necks. However, record keeping becomes a necessity for other reasons as well.

Recently, I had a tenant contact me to tell me that her ex-husband had temporarily stopped paying her child support due to an injury and please could she pay the rent late including late fees. I agreed.

Two months down the road, I expected an amount including current month’s rent and late fees for the last two months. Well I received an amount, but it was short. It was less than $100 short but still, no explanation followed. This seems to be happening a lot recently with certain tenants. They will send in an amount that is less than the amount they owe and wait to see what I do about it.

When I press them on the matter, they tend to make some lame excuse and pay the remainder with the rent in the following month. I tend to think that if I never questioned the amount they sent in, I probably would never see the full amount owed.

Well, let’s see what happens when, upon lease renewal, I raise the late fees. I’ve always thought, more so recently, that the tenants have rationalized (and budgeted for) the existing late fees. Late fees are not meant to break the bank, but they are designed to hurt enough that you shouldn’t want to pay them again next month.

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