How To Handle Late Rent With Legal Holiday

8 Replies

Hi all,

I live in TN, and I have a situation where I'm trying to determine if a late fee can be charged to my tenant or not today (July 6th) since the 5 day grace period is over. 

Rent was due July 1st (Monday) and the 4th of July is considered a legal holiday, so do my tenants have until July 6th (Saturday) to pay for rent without a late fee being applied, or, since the 5th day was July 5th (Friday), can I legally still charge them a late fee today (July 6th - Saturday)?

So basically, when do I apply the late fee if Tennessee law states I must give a 5 day grace period but must exclude Sundays and Legal Holidays? Note I was not able to easily find on the website where they clearly state this, but 2 references mentioned similar laws (see below).

Reference 1

Reference 2


Does your lease say 5 days or 5 business days?  It shouldn't matter if it is a holiday or not, most people count it as 5 days.  Tenants know in advance when rent is due and if they think there will be a problem, it is up to them to come up with a solution or let you know.  Having said that, the first site says Sundays and holidays don't count, so in your case today (July 6) would count as the 5th day for being late.  to be safe, use that.

i agree the tenant knew that rent was due and its there responsibility to get the rent to you on time. if you want to give them a break thats up to you. if the tenant has been on time every other month then usually im flexible on a day, especially if they have contacted me to let me know whats going on. if this is the kind of tenant who is always coming up with an excuse or story then i would just charge them according to the lease. 

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The rent is late when it's late. Weekends and holidays do not matter. They need to make sure rent is paid on time and they need to account for weekends and holidays


Here are my thoughts, there is "being right", there is "doing the right thing", and then there is the in between; let me explain.  

If there is no express provision within your lease agreement and no express law stating not to count holidays, then clearly you are "right" to charge a late fee. 

Then there is the "doing the right thing" where they are long term tenants, never have been late, are going to be tenants for years, and have apologized for their tardiness profusely; then maybe the right thing is to let it slide this one time.  Its tougher to decide what to do when the tenant is new but again apologetic to you for their tardiness, yet you see them as potentially as a long term tenant. 

So the question then to ask yourself is are you willing to be unforgiving about a "late fee" of $25, $30, or $50?  Does you being right mean you need or are squeezing every dollar out of the tenant so that they are out in a few months when the lease ends? (What are you repair/clean up costs, holding costs for a new tenant, advertising etc.. going to be once they move out? Because lets face it there is always a cost when the tenant moves out.)

So here is what I would suggest if the tenant is relatively good and might be a long term tenant, I give them the 

"As you are aware, your lease provides that rent is due on __ and is late on ___.  This done in conformance with State and local statutes (Not sure if you have these).  I did not receive rent within the required time frame therefore your payment on ___  was late and you have been assessed a late fee.  However, so that we will continue to have a strong landlord and tenant  relationship, I am going to waive the late fee for this occurrence only.  This is not to be interrupted as any sort of mortification or change in the terms of our lease agreement; rent will continue to be due on _____ and considered late on ______ and it will be assessed moving forward.  Should you have any questions, please let know. "

Obviously, if this is just another occurrence and they are playing games them hit them with it - I would. 

No matter what type of tenant they are, I would send something to the tenant regarding your assessment of the late fee or waiver so they are clear that you are the Sheriff in town and wont take to such shenanigans.    

Good luck 


I rent in TN.

Per landlord tenant act, if the 1st (last day to pay on time) is on a Saturday, they have through the 3rd to pay without it being late.

Likewise if the 5th falls on a Saturday, you cant apply late fee until tuesday, the 8th.

Since the 5th was a Friday, I believe it's late fee time on the 6th even though it is saturday.

They had a full 5 grace days so its officially late now.

@Robert Smith

Rent is due by the 5th for me. But if holidays or weekends fall around it, I’m fine bumping it up a day or two. No big deal. My tenants appreciate it and an extra day or two never killed me. They’ve all turned out to be great tenants so I don’t sweat an extra day or two. I rarely charge them my $50 late fee.

It might vary by state but in NJ after 5 days, it's late. Doesn't matter if it was weekends, holidays, Mom got sick, dog ate my rent check, etc.

Now, dealing with senior citizens who rely on social security to pay the rent, those folks have 5 BUSINESS days to pay. 

After looking more into this, and talking with a friend of mine, it appears as long as the 5th day does not fall "on" a holiday or Sunday, a late fee can be charged in this case. So since the 5th fell on a Friday, and since Friday was not a legal holiday, it was okay to charge a late fee on Saturday. 

I'm currently using an automatic system for this, so it automatically applied the late charge, but I needed to verify the laws on the matter since I do not think it accounts for Sundays or federal holidays.

Thanks for the help!