Is There a Grace Period for Late Rent?
Although some people believe that there is a grace period in the first five days of the month and that paying rent on fifth is the same as paying it on first, this is false since the law is clear that rent should be paid on the day the lease says. Unless the lease states a different thing, in most countries or states there is nothing as a grace period. This means that if you do not pay the money on time the landlord has every right to issue you with an eviction notice when the rent is due. But, some rental agreements and some leases do often provide for this.
Interestingly, there is no recognized day that the rent is due. More often than not it is should be on the first day but the landlord may require that it be paid on the day that is convenient to them or at intervals that might not be monthly intervals. Since late fees are not allowed by the law, threatening to do something that is illegal does not often help. For instance, if the rent should be on first, the landlord is not allowed by the law to give you a quit notice. In fact, the last day should come on fifth. But if that day falls on a weekend or a public holiday, it will be extended until the next banking day.
You may face eviction
If you are late with your rent, most states allow the landlord to send you a termination letter immediately or allow you a few more days to pay your rent or face eviction. Nevertheless, this often varies from state to state- sometimes it may be immediate and at other times it might be a few more days after you have defaulted. The law also varies on how the landlords may serve you with the late rent payment notice and how many days you must be given before you are served with the notice. In some states, for instance, a landlord may give a tenant nonpayment of rent notice. The notice must clearly state that you need to pay the rent within 3 days or move before you can be served with an eviction notice.
Late fees is usually a flat amount or a percentage of the rent that the landlord is allowed to charge you if you do not pay ton time. This kind of fees is built on many contracts to encourage tenants to always pay their rent on time. However, most laws have previously been amended to avoid late fees. In terms of laws, they are legally referred to as a liquidated damages provisions. This means the landlord is allowed to choose an arbitrary amount as the fees for breaching a particular contract especially the one concerning payment of rent. Normally, many landlords will try to justify the late fees by describing the time it takes to go to the bank or make phone calls and other times spent due to a single late payment.
How to face the issue
Tactfully, you have to make decisions on how you can face this issue. For instance, you can decide to have a lease agreement inclusive of the late fees although you haven’t waived your rights by not doing so. This is because in most cases late fees is null and void. When asked to pay it on demand, you may pay it under protest or even describe it as an advanced payment of rent. This implies that later on if you are faced with eviction for not being punctual, your prior late fees payment must be considered. In fact, this makes the 3-day notice invalid for demanding rent that is more than what was due. In such situations, you may win the case on technical grounds. More so, if you do not have the money that can cater for the current rent you may get eviction notice that asks for the rent inclusive of late fees.
What if your paycheck comes later?
If you receive your salary at a time when making payment to the landlord is difficult, you might suggest to the landlord to increase your security deposit by at least a month’s rent so that you will be paying a month’s rent in advance. Remember the interest lost on that money cannot be compared to the hassle that you save yourself from and the advantage that you get at that time when you need it. So are you allowed to pay rent later than the date? The answer is no.