Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Taking my eye off the ball

It has been a long time since I have had a tenant fail to pay the rent on time - years in fact. Unfortunately, I got a bit complacent and didn't scrutinise the the monthly bank statements carefully enough - I just looked at the balance of the account that the rent is paid in to and noted that it was increasing a bit each month.

Bad call. One tenant missed his payments in both February and March before I noticed. To a certain extent, I only had myself to blame for not keeping a closer watch on the payments. Given that the standard deposit in Hong Kong is only two month's rent, any further default would effectively leave me an unsecured creditor. In any event, a couple of calls from the agent produced a promise to pay the arrears immediately. He was also a few days late with the April payment, but has now caught up.

I have asked him to use auto-pay which significantly reduces late payments and defaults but he has declined. Last time a tenant defaulted, I decided I should make auto-pay a term of each new lease - unfortunately I did not follow through with that.

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