Times are tough. When you find yourself struggling to scrape together enough money to pay rent, what are your options? Will you face eviction if you can’t pay all of your rent on time? While rules vary from state to state, learn what commonly happens and what landlords can and can’t do when you can pay only partial rent.
How Laws Affect Partial Rent
Laws designed to protect renters like you differ by state and even by city. Therefore, where you live might be kinder to renters or kinder to landlords. Oregon is considered a more renter-friendly state, while Texas is regarded as a more landlord-friendly state. Let’s look at how these two states treat the issue of paying partial rent.
According to Law Server, under Oregon law, a landlord can accept a partial rent payment. If an Oregon landlord tries to evict you for nonpayment of rent, you may stand a better chance of avoiding eviction if you’ve made a partial payment. In some cases, the landlord loses the right to evict you for nonpayment of rent if they’ve accepted a partial payment.
However, as reported by Oregon Law Help, landlords in OR do not have to accept partial payments as long they issue:
- A 72-hour notice to pay rent or move out once monthly rent is at least seven days overdue.
- A 144-hour notice to pay monthly rent or move out after your rent is at least four days overdue.
- A 72-hour notice to pay week-to-week rent or move out after your rent is at least four days overdue.
A landlord in Oregon is not required to accept a partial rent payment during one of these notice periods.
On the other hand, according to Texas Eviction, a landlord in the lone star state can evict a renter if they pay only partial rent. However, advocates for landlords advise them not to accept partial rent at all because it might weaken their eviction case. Instead, it’s suggested that Texas landlords accept only full rent payments from tenants. If a Texas landlord has issued a 14-day notice to either pay rent in full or face eviction, they do not have to accept a partial payment during those 14 days.
The bottom line is that if you’re a renter in Texas, it might be more challenging to make a partial rent payment and remain where you live than it is in Oregon.
(Keep in mind that many states and cities changed rules about partial payment of rent during the coronavirus pandemic so tenants could avoid eviction.)
How to Ask a Landlord About Partial Rent Payments
Ignoring the fact that you can’t make a full rent payment won’t make the problem go away. It’s best to be honest with your landlord about your situation and try to work out a solution.
“A landlord who considers you a good tenant won’t want to lose you, since it’s often difficult and expensive to evict you, then find and move in good tenants. This means you can probably get the landlord to accept a portion of the rent now — maybe even a small portion — and the rest later,” according to legal website Nolo.com.
If you find yourself unable to make a full rent payment, Nolo.com suggests that you:
- Offer to make a partial payment in writing.
- Explain your situation and emphasize (if you can) that the problem is only temporary.
- Assure your landlord, in writing, that you can pay the full rent by a specific date. Be sure to honor that deadline.
- Commit, if you can, to making full rent payments in the future.
- Agree to pay late fees if such fees are mandated in your lease.
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