Just because a tenant has submitted a rent payment doesn’t necessarily mean the payment counts as received yet. Tenants need to be aware of their due dates, often the first day of each month, and be careful not to become in violation of them. At best, late rent payments can result in a worse relationship between landlord and tenant. At worst, late payments will result in eviction. While tenants generally need to be informed of a looming eviction in writing several days in advance, it’s best to avoid the risk altogether.
Depending on the method, some rent payments may take longer to receive than others. An online payment, for instance, is likely to be considered received immediately versus a check or money order. Particularly when mailing a check, time must be allowed for it to arrive to the landlord’s office and be processed. Landlords need to clearly communicate with tenants regarding due dates and any possible exceptions or grace periods as well as any penalties for late payments.
Rent agreements and exceptions
Arguably the most basic thing a landlord and a tenant should agree on is the rent. How much is base rent? Can there be overages? When is the rent due? When is rent considered received? Are grace periods allowed? Any questions like this should have simple, explicit answers, and all penalties must be fairly enforced. It’s possible for landlords and tenants to communicate about this and other issues using free landlord software, which can make it easy to clear up any confusion.
Rent is legally due on the date specified in the lease agreement. The only exception to this is if the rent due date falls on a weekend or holiday. In these cases, rent may be due on the next business day. While this practice is enforced by law in some states, it is not a guarantee.
Some tenants believe they have a legal grace period of five to seven days to pay rent after the due date, but this is not the case. Consequences for late payments can begin immediately after the normal rent due date, and landlords are generally not required to grant any sort of grace period. Some may choose to do so at their own discretion, however.
Possible payment methods
Some renters, perhaps understandably, believe they should be able to choose their own payment methods, but this is typically decided by the landlord. There are a few common payment methods, with mailing a check to the landlord’s office being the most common. Being early with rent payment is the best way to avoid complications, and renters should never expect to be able to pay with cash, even if the landlord has an on premises office. Landlords who accept credit cards are also fairly uncommon, though it’s not unheard of to allow automatic debit payment, so long as the tenant can prove they’re able to keep up with the rent.
When to stop worrying
If you’re able to pay in person at your landlord’s office, you know the rent is legally considered received when you’re given a receipt for it, the same as with any other purchase. When sending a check in the mail, it’s important to remember that the check’s post mark date is irrelevant when it comes to whether the rent is on time or not. A check mailed the same day as the due date is likely to be late, and a check mailed shortly in advance but returned due to insufficient funds will also be considered late. Online payments are generally considered received when the payment confirmation email is sent.