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Most tenants have the misconception that if rent is due on the first of the month they can pay it as late as the sixth or seventh day of the month without financial penalty. The rent due date will always be noted in your lease, and it’s your responsibility to know the terms under which you can make a late rent payment if the lease allows you to do so.
Before we jump into the consequences of paying rent late, it is beneficial to talk about the rent grace period. A rent grace period is a period of time during which a tenant can pay their rent after the original due date without being subject to rent late fees. Although some states require landlords and property managers to extend this offer to tenants, not all states do. The standard grace period is two to four days from the date rent is due.
The rental agreement outlines when rent is due and the methods by which the tenant can make rent payments. Rent is typically due on the first day of each month. This date may fluctuate if the first falls on a weekend or on a bank holiday–in that case, the payment may be due on the following workday.
Some landlords make rent due a month from the date the tenant moved in. Others may even ask for rent on a weekly or bimonthly basis. When it comes to renting payments, the landlord calls the shots. But there’s nothing wrong with negotiating the due date if necessary, especially if it will help you pay the rent on time.
How you pay the rent may also impact your rent payment schedule. It used to be common practice to send a check for rent payments to the landlord by mail. With this payment method, tenants have to be mindful of when their landlord will receive your payment in the mail.
Other payment methods include credit cards, money orders, and automatic debit. With automatic debit, rent is automatically debited from your bank account into the landlord’s account each month.
Landlords usually don’t like to accept cash payments since carrying such a large amount of money is not safe. But if you must pay in cash, make sure you get a written receipt that documents your name, the payment date and time, and the amount paid.
You might face some hefty consequences if you fail to pay rent on time. You’ll probably receive a reminder call or two or email from your landlord at first that reminds you that rent is due. If you still haven’t paid, the landlord will likely implement the late fee documented in your rental agreement.
The next thing you can expect is an eviction notice. The notice will instruct you to pay the rent within a certain number of days or face eviction proceedings.
Landlords or property managers can report you to credit bureaus for not paying rent or consistently paying late. If this happens, your credit score will suffer. Your credit score is your lifeline to getting approved for other rental opportunities and loans. Lower credit scores also translate to higher interest rates on the loans you do qualify for.
You have options if you’re unable to pay your rent on time. Consider setting up your account to have your rent payment automatically deducted on or before the day rent is due so you don’t have to remember the date.
If your payday falls after the date rent is due or you’re experiencing financial challenges, talk with the landlord about possibly changing the due date or making other payment arrangements that will help you make on-time payments.
Don’t hesitate to reach out to your landlord if you’re having difficulty paying your rent on time. It may be challenging, but it’s necessary to do what you must to preserve your credit score so that your financial future doesn’t suffer.