Tenant wants to part of rent late without Late Fee

31 Replies

Hi everyone, was wondering what would you do in this situation renting to a tenant in one of your units. Rent is $755 & she has never paid rent late. (4 months of payments) 

This is the text message: 

Hey Jimmy, I hope you had a wonderful week.
I’m contacting you to let you know that I was able to (literally) scrape up 737. For this month’s rent & was wondering if I can send you over that tonight & have the $18 at a later date without having a late fee or vacate notice?

Title should be- “Tenant wants to pay part of the rent late without late fee”

Sorry, Im using mobile and they won’t let me edit the title name 

There are many landlords that take a hard line approach and will say, "I don't accept partial payments, and I don't waive late fees."
There are toher landlords who say, "You get one free pass on the late fee. If you use it now, its gone forever."
Both are equally valid approaches (as long as you apply them equally to all).
Personally, I would appreciate that they made the attempt to get it paid, and stress the fact that this is a one time pass. The downside risk is very low, a measly $18. The more important factor in my opinion, is that this has the potential to spiral. You may consider having a conversation with your tenant about a move out plan, if they are finding themselves unable to afford your unit.

3 problems: 

1) The fact that just 4 months in and she’s late 

2) the fact she has to “scrap up “ the rent . 

3) she knows the agreement and is asking you to change it to accommodate her . 

Best to set strong perimeters now with her - you will likely see a lot more of this to come. 

Up to you on the late fee but I would still follow through with the official notice.

Doesn't hurt her if she follows through and pays the 18 later.

Doesn't hurt you by delaying the start of eviction if she doesn't follow through.

Thank you @Wayne Brooks @Andrew B. @Marci Stein & @Max T. for your replies. From everything I texted her this: (if you can please look to let me know if i am being firm but fair with this response or if I’m totally wrong) 

The Response:

So 4 Things

  1. I need the $18 to be paid in less then 10 days from the date of the $737 being paid.
  2. I want you to know very clearly I will not accept this arrangement again & i will continue to serve the 5 day vacate notice if this were to happen again.
  3. Please understand I am Only doing this because I know you are a good person & I believe you have been a good resident in my eyes but I want you to know I do not mix personal with business.
  4. So please understand Rent is a priority & you need to continue to align your finances that way so that this won’t be an issue again.

@James Nix

If I were you I would still post the notice as soon as rent is late to protect yourself in the event she doesn’t pay up.

Yes that’s very clear and firm - good job .

Although, not sure you need number 4 since number 2 says the same . 

What’s your lease say in terms of days before late charge included?

18 days is very very long . Usually it’s 3 at most . 

So let me just update everyone. After I sent that message above in previous reply. I get a notification of the full rent payment from PayPal.

She sends this text message after: “Let’s just forget that I asked. Thanks! Have a great weekend”

This is weird but thank you everyone for your help 

Awesome!!!

It might have been just a "test" for you....see how she could far she could push the envelope.

I would have done the same...... one time only....1000% clear that its one time only.

My only critique would be to leave out the " I know you are a good person"..... you really don't......and leave the emotion out of it.......

@James Nix I'm glad she paid, but the fact that she struggled to get the money for rent, isn't a good sign unless she's prone to being overly dramatic.  It could be she got hit with an unexpected bill, but if that was the case, she should have talked to you ahead of time to use her 'one free late'.

Give her a Pass and explain that this cannot, under any circumstance, continue.  Take the $755 now because if you don't she may have nothing tomorrow.  At least she told you her situation and isn't avoiding you.

Talk with her, maybe she needs to leave.

@James Nix if I were you, I would say thank you for letting me know, I have made a note on your account to waive the fee this time, please pay the balance in 7 days.

I also have a clause in my lease that says partial rent must be paid with $25 fee.

@James Nix I worked in the mortgage industry for 12 years. The advice on this thread has been on point. I’ll just throw in my two cents with regard to where the big “add-ons” come from:

1. Low loan balance

2. Non-owner occupied

3. Cash out

@James Nix I’m a business owner and this is something that is priceless that I will teach you.

Whenever I have to a "no" answer to one of my employees for a request I try to put some imaginary character in the middle. (Considering the home is under LLC company).

“Hi I completely understand your situation, I talked to the home-owner/partner and he is very strict and won’t waive the fee, tried my best, sorry!”

That way you came up as the “good cup” and the “imaginary bad cup” took all the blame.

And trust me this works AMAZING. Haha

@James Nix very interesting. Do you think it was a test?

Did she ever explain why she couldn't come up with $18 orginally?

Seems to me not eating out one meal would cover $20, but I also understand everyone's financial situation is different.

When I rent out my house we look for people who's job pays them atleast 2x if not more, of the rent per month so people aren't renting a place ethey can't afford.

@James Nix , I lean on Fair Housing Laws for this.

Tenant - “I’ve never been late, can you please waive my late fee?”

Me - “Per Fair Housing Law, I CANNOT waive your late fee because I HAVE to treat everyone the same. If I were to waive your fee and not everyone else who’s paid late I would get in deep trouble.”

Would they find out? Probably not, but I really appreciate our tenants and they all deserve to be treated fairly. It’s also extra revenue, which helps our bottom line.

Take the rent and then file eviction (if partial payment doesn’t prevent that, depends on your location).

4 months in and already paying late and having to scrape by means she will be an eventual eviction anyways. 

Long term tenants that have proven themselves to me get more leniency from  me.

@James Nix As a property manager I highly suggest never accepting the rent without the late fee. Once you do, it will become acceptable as it has in this situation for 4 months in a row.

I can understand situations where the rent is accepted late with the late fee.

Many think it’s heartless, however our tenants know not to even call and ask. They signed the lease and we went over the rules several times. When you enforce the rules of the lease they might be upset at first but in the end there will be a level of respect.

Let me ask you this....Do you think your tenants would be ok with working a few extra hours and not getting paid for the hours? Of course not.

Stick to your guns!!

@James Nix In addition to my other post....

Keep in mind that you have to treat all tenants the same. If you allow one to do something over and over you need to be willing to allow the others. Tenants talk to each other!

We are also very strict on not accepting rent without the late fee and under no circumstance do we accept partial rent.