Accept partial rent or only full payments?

11 Replies

I wrote about this topic the other day in my blog and would love to hear people weigh in.

I understand some locations do not allow you to accept partial rent and still continue the eviction process. However, if you CAN accept partial payments and still continue the eviction process, would you? Or would you rather set it up so that you only accept full payments?

Here's my pros/cons:

IMO, full payments only. Accepting partial payments sets a precedent. If an eviction has already been filed, a partial payment may stop the process or delay it. Maybe some attorneys can chime in. I wonder if accepting a partial payment would make them a debtor and allow for legal protection?????

In some places, such as Baltimore County, you can accept partial payments and the eviction process continues.

I'm simply asking about one's preference. I already know the law part. :-)

I only accept full payments for the following reasons

You may have trouble evicting as you stated I also saw one person who shorted their rent $10 do you want to evict over $10 do you think a judge will allow it.

I use and it auto adds Late fees so by setting it up for full payment they cannot pay without including late fees.

I also had a tenant accidently submit a $0.00 payment and didn't realize until they were several days late, after that was when I decided to go Full payment only. ( yes I believed her I also removed late fees)

if i could accept partials and still continue the eviction process, then why not take them?? there is no downside, paying partial for them helps them in no way shape or form. they get evicted anyway. 

We do full payments only. I agree with John, it sets a precedent. If you take a partial payment from a good tenant one time to give them a break, then you'd have to take it from a bad tenant you're trying to get rid of. It's never happened to me yet, but I would rather tell a judge that we have never accepted partial payments as a company policy. 

Originally posted by @Doug Hinkle :

If you take a partial payment from a good tenant one time to give them a break, then you'd have to take it from a bad tenant you're trying to get rid of.

Says who? Just because you did something for one person, doesn't mean you have to do it for the next. That's like saying, if you have two identical units, you must charge the same price for each one.

Legally speaking, it only "sets a precedent" on the current tenant, but if you're already evicting this is a moot point.

If you file for eviction and subsequently accept one dime of rent, you immediately cause your eviction to be dismissed in CALIFORNIA.

Personally, my lease also states, No Partial Payments will be accepted.

However, where you are in good terms with the tenant AND know it's a transient problem which you can trust  the tenant to resolve quickly,  You are not required to enforce the provision.

Interesting topic...

In Michigan, a partial payment won't stop the eviction process, so I see no reason to not take it if the tenant you are evicting is offering it up.  Yes, sure, it is more accounting on my part, but if it cuts down on the amount that I have to try and collect from them after the eviction, great!

I am also very sure that it wouldn't bode well to explain to the judge that the tenant offered me some of the money owed and I refused it.

I think it depends on the jurisdiction where you are operating.   Here at home, the legislation is quite clear that a (first) Notice to Vacate remains in effect until all arrears have been paid.  A (subsequent) Notice to Vacate or an eviction continues (at the landlords discretion) even if all outstanding arrears are paid.

We operate in another jurisdiction where accepting a partial payment would stall, or reset, the eviction process.

In Michigan you can accept partial payment for non-payment of rent evictions  As our attorney says, better to get something then nothing.  If the tenant still owes you rent at the hearing, the judge will make the call on whether or not "enough" rent has been paid to let them stay.  (This also applies after the judgment and before the writ (if one is needed).  The tenant could pay nearly all or most of the rent and a judge might not allow the writ to be executed.) The courts will always let the tenant pay the rent to stay when the case is about non-payment of rent. In short, I can't really think of any reason not to accept a partial rent payment under a non-payment eviction--just get cash if you think they'll bounce a check.

If you're talking about any other kind of eviction that isn't related to non-payment of rent, you shouldn't accept rent because the judge is likely to deem that in conflict with your notice to quit.  Most judges look at a notice to mean you want the tenant out today--if possible--but they have 30 days to get out.  If you want to give someone a 30 day notice for something other than rent, get the rent first and then give them the 30 day notice.  If the tenant owes you rent and you evict for another reason, you can still get a judgment for the amount of rent owed.  (If the tenant moves and you don't get the rent--good riddance--right?  You've likely solved a bigger problem than rent.)

For both types of evictions, you can ask that rent be prorated for each day they remain in the property and get a judgment for all the rent owed.