What To Do When Your Rent Is Late

Rent due reminder on calendarMaybe your car broke down and your hard-earned savings went straight to the mechanic. Perhaps you didn’t get the hours you needed at work, and your paycheck was already lacking to begin with. Whatever the reason, sometimes life happens and you end up being late on rent. If you’re a few days behind on rent, read on to find out what to expect. More importantly, learn how you may be able to get your landlord to (hopefully) cut you a little slack.

Don’t hide

When it comes to issues with rent, honesty is the best policy. It can be tempting to sweep the issue under the rug in hopes you can scrounge up the money before your landlord notices it’s late. Don’t do that – your landlord may see it as a red flag and end up thinking you’re a troublesome tenant. Instead, get in front of the problem. Give your landlord a heads-up before they have to waste their time tracking you down.

Give your landlord a heads-up

So what should you do? Send your landlord an email or give them a phone call as soon as you know your rent is going to be late. If something unfortunate happened that’s causing money to be tight, explain your difficulties. If money is tight due to irresponsibility or personal error… maybe gloss over those specifics. Instead, explain that you are short on cash temporarily, but emphasize that this will not become a regular occurrence.

Identify a date you can pay

Give your landlord a promise you can keep. Figure out when you will be able to pay the rent in full and ask your landlord if you can have the extra time you need. Offer to pay half or a portion of the rent in the meantime. Once you give your landlord a date to expect payment, keep your word! If you miss rent a second time, you will certainly be on your landlord’s radar for all the wrong reasons.

Deal with the consequences

Understand the potential consequences. Depending on where you live, your rent may accrue late fees. This is legal in some states but not in others. Check your specific lease agreement to see your landlord’s policy, and learn more about state-by-state rent laws. It’s crucial you understand what sorts of fees you may be charged, and how quickly.

Look into month-to-month lease options

Hopefully, once you’ve ‘fessed up to your landlord and come to an agreement about payment, you can send your rent a bit late and move on without issue. However, sometimes a renter signs a year-long lease and their circumstances change, leading to repeated problems paying rent. Trust us, you do not want to get locked into a stressful situation like this.

A short lease gives you the freedom to reevaluate your financial situation regularly. If you suspect that you may not be able to commit to a typical year-long lease, check out the month-to-month lease apartments on ApartmentSearch.com. Then, follow ApartmentSearch on Facebook and Twitter for more great apartment tips and how-tos, hand-picked for the savviest renters!