I AIN'T PAY'N!! Ahhh the joys of landlording

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Originally posted by @Ryan Dossey :

That doesn't mean his rental is.... Just his profile. ;) 

Mine says Indiana but I own rentals in Mo. No biggie. :)

 Yes, that is true enough.

But my general point, which I realize I have made before and may be being a bit of a broken record about, is that state laws vary and a whole lot of advice on BP is not good, simply because it assumes that the law in the advisee 's state is the same as in the adviser's state.

And Randy is quite right that many landlords appear to believe that their lease language is magic, and always controls, when that is not true at all.

Originally posted by @Richard C. :
Originally posted by @Ryan D.:

That doesn't mean his rental is.... Just his profile. ;) 

Mine says Indiana but I own rentals in Mo. No biggie. :)

 Yes, that is true enough.

But my general point, which I realize I have made before and may be being a bit of a broken record about, is that state laws vary and a whole lot of advice on BP is not good, simply because it assumes that the law in the advisee 's state is the same as in the adviser's state.

And Randy is quite right that many landlords appear to believe that their lease language is magic, and always controls, when that is not true at all.

 You are right. Which is why it's always wise to consult your state code. As with anything on the internet take it with a grain of salt. If there is a potential for legal issues/ramifications contact a local attorney. 

Waive it once,...to show you're reasonable, don't in the future. Now everyone knows how things work....and has no excuse. Pay on time or pay a late fee.

You often have to explain that despite the absence of a late fee the rent is late.  I had this conversation with tenants a few times.   Yes I got it by the 5th and by law I cannot charge you a late fee before then but that does not make it on time.  I started an in my account by the first discount, still seeing if it works. 

Originally posted by @Marcia Maynard :

You need a clause like this in your rental agreement....

"PAYMENTS.  All payments made by Tenant to Landlord after the tenancy commences, no matter how designated by Tenant, will be applied as follows: first, to any outstanding amounts due for damages/repairs, utilities etc.; second, to any outstanding service charges or fees from prior months; third, to any rent outstanding from prior months; fourth, to any service charges or fees due in the current month; and lastly to the current month’s rent."

You have an uncooperative tenant, with attitude, who is proving to be a rule breaker. You need to address this by being swift, firm, fair, and polite. Exercise a little flexibility if the situation warrants. You may be able to turn this around, maybe not. Review the terms of the rental agreement and see if the terms and consequences are clear. If not, edit it. Good luck!

Love this comment!

Document and enforce the late fee. Then apply any rent payments to late fees first. Here is a video that may help too:

Rent was due on Saturday the 1st and she paid on Monday the 3rd?  IMO you should find something else to focus on. For goodness sake don't make"courtesy" calls to remind the tenants when rent is due. 

How experienced in your PM? They should be guiding you on this. I know no PM that would charger a late fee for rent due on the first and received on the 3rd. What does your lease say about late fees?  On which day is it assessed?  Don't assume you can charge a tenant late fees without explicit definitions of how and when these charges apply. 

Oh, FFS:

California Civil Code, Section 11:

"Whenever any act of a secular nature, other than a work of necessity or mercy, is appointed by law or contract to be performed upon a particular day, which day falls upon a holiday, it may be performed upon the next business day, with the same effect as if it had been performed upon the day appointed."

California Code of Civil Procedure, Section 12a:

"12a. (a) If the last day for the performance of any act provided or required by law to be performed within a specified period of time is a holiday, then that period is hereby extended to and including the next day that is not a holiday. For purposes of this section, "holiday" means all day on Saturdays, all holidays specified in Section 135 and, to the extent provided in Section 12b, all days that by terms of Section 12b are required to be considered as holidays. (b) This section applies to Sections 659, 659a, and 921, and to all other provisions of law providing or requiring an act to be performed on a particular day or within a specified period of time, whether expressed in this or any other code or statute, ordinance, rule, or regulation."

Unless this rental is out of state, no late fee is due. People need to stop giving the OP advice to take the late fee out of the rent and count the rent as late. It is p1ss-poor advice.

Originally posted by @Richard C. :
Originally posted by @Ryan D.:

That doesn't mean his rental is.... Just his profile. ;) 

Mine says Indiana but I own rentals in Mo. No biggie. :)

 Yes, that is true enough.

But my general point, which I realize I have made before and may be being a bit of a broken record about, is that state laws vary and a whole lot of advice on BP is not good, simply because it assumes that the law in the advisee 's state is the same as in the adviser's state.

And Randy is quite right that many landlords appear to believe that their lease language is magic, and always controls, when that is not true at all.

No better evidence of this than on BP.  Everyday we see examples here of lease clauses that are totally unlawful in every state.  Clauses that supposedly prohibit home child care that can't per federal law.  LLs attempting to charge pet deposits or pet rent to tenants with service or support animals. LLs charging late fees without regard to the max. amount in their state code or the rules for applying them.  Landlords entering with no notice in non-emergency situations.

The internet is a two-way street.  The tenant can get just as informed as the landlord. But the landlord is the real estate professional and will be the one that is penalized for failing to know the law.  Pay attention everyone and don't let it happen to you. :)

Originally posted by K.marie P.:
Originally posted by @Richard C.:
Originally posted by @Ryan D.:

That doesn't mean his rental is.... Just his profile. ;) 

Mine says Indiana but I own rentals in Mo. No biggie. :)

 Yes, that is true enough.

But my general point, which I realize I have made before and may be being a bit of a broken record about, is that state laws vary and a whole lot of advice on BP is not good, simply because it assumes that the law in the advisee 's state is the same as in the adviser's state.

And Randy is quite right that many landlords appear to believe that their lease language is magic, and always controls, when that is not true at all.

No better evidence of this than on BP.  Everyday we see examples here of lease clauses that are totally unlawful in every state.  Clauses that supposedly prohibit home child care that can't per federal law.  LLs attempting to charge pet deposits or pet rent to tenants with service or support animals. LLs charging late fees without regard to the max. amount in their state code or the rules for applying them.  Landlords entering with no notice in non-emergency situations.

The internet is a two-way street.  The tenant can get just as informed as the landlord. But the landlord is the real estate professional and will be the one that is penalized for failing to know the law.  Pay attention everyone and don't let it happen to you. :)

 Amen.

Originally posted by @Colleen F. :

You often have to explain that despite the absence of a late fee the rent is late.  I had this conversation with tenants a few times.   Yes I got it by the 5th and by law I cannot charge you a late fee before then but that does not make it on time.  I started an in my account by the first discount, still seeing if it works. 

Has this worked to get your tenants to pay before the 5th?  The reason I ask is that I have a borrower from selling a property with seller financing that always pays the last day of the 10 day "grace" period allowed by law.  I can't charge a late fee until day 11.  I see no point is making the borrower aware of it because 1) I'd be complaining with no recourse and 2) for sure they already looked up the law.  

Lawful "grace" periods are misleading.  They are called grace as if forgiveness is optional.  It's not. It's lawfully defined.  

You have to determine what you're goals are.

Mine is to get paid my rent in full at the beginning of the month, have a tenant that doesn't damage my property and keeps my expenses minimal, and avoid vacancies by keeping the tenant happy enough to renew at a higher rate each year.

What will you accomplish by enforcing a late fee on the 3rd when the 1st falls on the weekend?

I have used an early pay discount in the past with great success.  Tenants loved it and I always, always, always had the rent in my account by the last day of the month prior.  For November and December, the tenants were going out of town for the holidays and I had rent in my account on the 24th of November for December's rent and the 23rd of December for January's rent.

I offered a $25 discount on a rent of $1950 and a $10 discount on a rent of $1250.  

K.marie P.    I cannot charge a late fee until the 5 days after due in RI and its due on the 1st.   I tell the tenants I consider it late and if I am asked to report on payment history I will report it exactly as it occurred and let the next landlord decide.  Were they on time with the rent well it was due on the 1st and they paid always on the 5th or 4th or whatever. 

 If they pay electronically and it is received on or before the 1st they get a small discount. I specifically say received.  The discount works for everyone to some extent. It certainly gets payment sooner then when I just relied on the late fee but there is still a learning curve. The funny thing is I had some people who always paid early and they still pay early.  Some learn right away and some need a few reinforcements. 

Originally posted by @Colleen F. :

@K. marie P.    I cannot charge a late fee until the 5 days after due in RI and its due on the 1st.   I tell the tenants I consider it late and if I am asked to report on payment history I will report it exactly as it occurred and let the next landlord decide.  Were they on time with the rent well it was due on the 1st and they paid always on the 5th or 4th or whatever. 

 If they pay electronically and it is received on or before the 1st they get a small discount. I specifically say received.  The discount works for everyone to some extent. It certainly gets payment sooner then when I just relied on the late fee but there is still a learning curve. The funny thing is I had some people who always paid early and they still pay early.  Some learn right away and some need a few reinforcements. 

Seems like it would come down to a competitive market.  Landlords I know, including me, would consider within 5 days acceptable if the penalty-free time frame is lawfully set at 5 days.  If you get multiple applicants that always paid on or before the 1st, then you know you've got a good unit in a good market. I can't imagine trying to train people to pay on time if there is no penalty, so I wouldn't bother.  I'm intrigued by the discount incentive to pay on or before the 1st though.  

Thank you for the overwhelming support and feedback.

We do have a renters addendum in effect, (signed by the tenant and the manager and notarized) which specifically states, EMPHATICALLY, that the rent is due on the 1st and can be paid anytime prior to the 1st. 

What we don't have in the renters addendum is what happens when the 1st falls on the weekend, especially on a Sunday. My property manager, softened once we read the California's renters right and landlords responsibilities manual, that I got as a gift from my RE agent years back.

We are leaning more towards taking this as a learning lesson and redefining our  expectations of the tenant through the renters addendum and addressing this issue when the lease expires.

Yes, the Rental is in Southern California

comments???

Kudos to K. marie P.  nice video, but its advice is horrifically illegal in my state and I suspect in others. You should at least consider a disclaimer. 

Lastly, and my rant is over, if you are engaged in this business and have not personally read your state's statutes relevant to the business you engage in, you are doing everyone, including yourself, a disservice.   

what worries me more right off the bat is your PM seems very inexperienced, to have to look into this situation of the tenant laws of your state. I know for a fact some states allow a grace period of 5 days.

In your situation if it was me I would let it go, it's only two days and she does have a point of it being on the weekend. This is something that could easily cause bad blood in the relationship and for me, that is just not worth it. 

yes, be careful as to which state your property is in.  I don't bother collecting late fees anymore and just go with 14 day notices if I believe it makes sense.

Reason?  Simple, lousy Massachusetts law says I must wait 30 days before a late fee can be charged.....silly stupid indeed.

Originally posted by @Rich N. :

yes, be careful as to which state your property is in.  I don't bother collecting late fees anymore and just go with 14 day notices if I believe it makes sense.

Reason?  Simple, lousy Massachusetts law says I must wait 30 days before a late fee can be charged.....silly stupid indeed.

It's not that bad here.  MA laws are tough.  If you really want to train a late paying tenant try going right to the quit or pay on day 3 or 5 or whatever is allowed by your lease and/or state law.  No phone calls or reminders, no late fee talk.  Most tenants are used to doing whatever is accepted by their landlord.  Accepting late fees sets that precedent.  Proper notice to quit or pay gets attention most of the time.  At the very least it will usually get the tenant to call in advance of the 1st the next time they can't pay on time, as opposed to avoiding you until they have the rent.  

Well looks like you and especially your PM need to brush up on the state laws.

I don't know CA law but those that do or looked it up seem to make it clear that there is a legally defined grace period and that falling over the weekend would extend whatever that is as well.

BP is wonderful for general advice and to get tips and ideas, that can then be checked to see if they are legal in your state.  Anyone that doesn't know you state laws can not give you anything other than things to think about.

Late fees if rent isn't in on the first is great, unless it is illegal.  Applying payments to fees then unpaid bills then rent is a great idea, unless it is illegal.  Charging a double security deposit is a great idea, unless it is illegal.  Pet rent?  Awesome idea, unless it is illegal (and not just talking about for legit service animals).  Offering a rent discount if they pay on or before the first instead of a late fee is a great idea, unless it is illegal.

Seeing the pattern here?

I am a little more hyper aware of this since pretty much everything is illegal in my state.  :)

Finally on a practical level... Seriously you are putting this much worry and effort to possibly get a late fee from someone that paid on the 3rd when the 1st was on a Sat (Even if it was legal to do so)?  Bring them to small claims court over it???  Dude it must be awesome to have that much free time!  What is your fee?  There is not a chance in holy hell a "reasonable" fee would be enough to waste the time.  If it is say several hundreds of dollars expect to get your *** thrown out of court with nothing after the judge rips you a new one for being predatory.

While I agree you have to enforce your (legal) lease, however sometimes you can't see the forest for the trees.  Is it really worth it in the bigger picture to harp on something like this.  In my business I have used the discounted rent method for some places (out of state stuff since that is defined as a disguised late fee here, and thus illegal) and have had this 1st of the month on the weekend thing come up.  Down there most of the tenants make direct cash deposits into an account at a local bank.  So difficult on a Sat and impossible on a Sun or holiday.  Have had people get in touch with me about it and I just say that even though the lease specifically says the 1st that as long as it is in by the end of the 1st business day of the month (which I will point out is Monday, just in case...) then it is still on time.  In that state I believe I would be totally in the right to enforce the "full" rent payment, but I'm not a dick and it builds good will for something that is a pretty easy situation to have come up.  If I don't have a better reason to move towards evicting than they are 2 days late when the 1st is on a Sat it is not at all worth my time and psychic energy to worry about it.  

Originally posted by @Davon Lowery :

Thank you for the overwhelming support and feedback.

We do have a renters addendum in effect, (signed by the tenant and the manager and notarized) which specifically states, EMPHATICALLY, that the rent is due on the 1st and can be paid anytime prior to the 1st. 

What we don't have in the renters addendum is what happens when the 1st falls on the weekend, especially on a Sunday. My property manager, softened once we read the California's renters right and landlords responsibilities manual, that I got as a gift from my RE agent years back.

We are leaning more towards taking this as a learning lesson and redefining our  expectations of the tenant through the renters addendum and addressing this issue when the lease expires.

Yes, the Rental is in Southern California

comments???

Goodness, how did  you get a PM that needs to read a handbook?  What are you paying them for?  BTW the laws have changed from "years back".  At least read the updated guidelines from 2012 from the CA Dept. of Consumer Affairs:

http://www.dca.ca.gov/publications/landlordbook/catenant.pdf

Originally posted by K.marie P.:
Originally posted by @Rich Ng:

yes, be careful as to which state your property is in.  I don't bother collecting late fees anymore and just go with 14 day notices if I believe it makes sense.

Reason?  Simple, lousy Massachusetts law says I must wait 30 days before a late fee can be charged.....silly stupid indeed.

It's not that bad here.  MA laws are tough.  If you really want to train a late paying tenant try going right to the quit or pay on day 3 or 5 or whatever is allowed by your lease and/or state law.  No phone calls or reminders, no late fee talk.  Most tenants are used to doing whatever is accepted by their landlord.  Accepting late fees sets that precedent.  Proper notice to quit or pay gets attention most of the time.  At the very least it will usually get the tenant to call in advance of the 1st the next time they can't pay on time, as opposed to avoiding you until they have the rent.  

Just an FYI note he said he just gives the 14 day notice, because that is what you have to give a non paying tenant here...

Thankfully I have not had to deal with serving a notice here since the last decade but I do BELIEVE you can serve them on the 2nd, though when I have done it I have usually given them until the 4th or 5th.

I figure what is another 2-3 days on a 3-6 month process, and if they just pay it saves me the hassle of making sure I serve the notice properly...

Hi! I am the property manager that all of you are talking about. 

Thanks for the ridicule :) 

P.S. I offer my sincerest thanks to those of you who use Bigger Pockets to educate, empower and overall help others who may be new to REI.