Funniest excuse for not paying rent?

34 Replies

My example is kind of long. Tenant was a work-from-home attorney. Regularly late, and this time he was 15 days late. I sent him a 3-day Pay or Quit Notice and this was his response:

Dear Nathan:
Thank you for your recent correspondence. You have contacted me on several occasions to collect an outstanding debt you claim is owed. I am contacting you to formally request validation of the alleged debt concerning this account and to inform you that I hereby dispute the validity of this debt.
I am also requesting you provide documentation showing I am, and should be, the party responsible for paying for improvements made to the property I rent. As you recall, I spent $1,130.00 for the removal of the tree, stump, petrified wood, installation of more gravel and labor associated therewith. See attached Invoice.
Through this letter, I hereby request proof that I am indeed the party you are asking to pay this alleged debt, and for proof that there is a binding contractual obligation to pay this alleged debt. Please provide adequate validation of this alleged debt, including but not limited to documentation of:
  • Complete payment history, the requirement of which has been established via Spears v. Brennan, 745 N.E. 2d 862 (Ind. Ct. App. 2001);
  • The agreement bearing the signature of me, wherein I agreed to pay;
  • The letter of sale or assignment from the original creditor to your company. (Agreement with your client that grants you the authority to collect on this alleged debt.) Coppola v. Arrow Financial Services, 2002 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 26788 (D. Conn. 2002) - Information relating to the purchase of a bad debt is neither proprietary nor burdensome. Debtor must clearly phrase their request to obtain: the source of a debt and the amount a bad debt buyer paid for plaintiff’s debt; how amount sought was calculated; where in issue a list of reports to credit bureaus; and documents conferring authority on third party to collect debt.
  • Documentation of the creation of the debt with your collection agency.
Under FDCPA Section 809 (b), you are not allowed to pursue collection activity until the debt is validated. You should be made aware that reporting a collection account is indeed considered a collection activity. Boatley v. Diem Corp., 2004 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 5089 (D. Ariz. 2004.
Please be advised that I am enforcing my rights under the FDCPA and under Wyoming's Landlord/Tenant Act, and that this correspondence shall in no way reflect a waiver of any of the rights prescribed under either of those Acts which are not expressly asserted herein. Please cease your collection activity until I receive confirmation through the above information requested. Please also direct any future correspondence to me in writing.
Sincerely,
[name removed]

My response:

Dear [name removed],
I am not intimidated by your $5 words and legalese. You have always had copies of the lease agreement and other documentation that demonstrate my authority. You also have a copy of our written agreement to make certain improvements to the landscaping at your expense. 
You're welcome to test your theory and refuse to pay rent. I will proceed with a Forcible Entry and Detainer. Perhaps Judge [name removed] will be more impressed by your legal jargon tap-dance.

"I am not intimidated by your $5 words and legalese" --Brutal

The verbiage in the letter sounds more like a medical dispute than anything. I'm scratching my head. Isn't the 3 day notice indicating the termination of an existing contract, not a bill? It's not like you repaired damage caused by the tenant and are evicting based on balance.  Do you know if the tenant has any legal leg to stand on?

Not a funny excuse, but an unusual reason for not paying rent... the family breadwinner was picked up by ICE and detained, later deported, his three young children and their mother were left behind.

Two this month...Both paid with the respective late fee.

"Hit a deer & my car is in the shop" (but also in their driveway??). 

"My pay check got deposited into my daughters (aged 14) account by mistake & the Bank will not allow me to withdraw it". 

This years best...

"My new Tattoo got infected & had to pay Immediate Care for medical stuff & antibiotics"....found out later he has over $2000 in Tattoos & now lives with Mom. Hopefully the stuff he Vapes doesn't contain the hydrogen cyanide they are finding in the bootlegged mix.

Originally posted by @Chris Karley :

"I am not intimidated by your $5 words and legalese" --Brutal

The verbiage in the letter sounds more like a medical dispute than anything. I'm scratching my head. Isn't the 3 day notice indicating the termination of an existing contract, not a bill? It's not like you repaired damage caused by the tenant and are evicting based on balance.  Do you know if the tenant has any legal leg to stand on?

No, he didn't have a legal leg to stand on and his entire letter was simply an attempt to intimidate. I suspect he was a drug user. It played out with my response, he paid rent, and we moved on. He was late four more times in a one-year period but I stuck to my process and he always paid the penalties. We parted ways about five years ago.

Originally posted by @Marcia Maynard :
Not a funny excuse, but an unusual reason for not paying rent... the family breadwinner was picked up by ICE and detained, later deported, his three young children and their mother were left behind.

...and then what happened? Did you have to evict?

Originally posted by @Pat L. :

Two this month...Both paid with the respective late fee.

"Hit a deer & my car is in the shop" (but also in their driveway??). 

"My pay check got deposited into my daughters (aged 14) account by mistake & the Bank will not allow me to withdraw it". 

This years best...

"My new Tattoo got infected & had to pay Immediate Care for medical stuff & antibiotics"....found out later he has over $2000 in Tattoos & now lives with Mom. Hopefully the stuff he Vapes doesn't contain the hydrogen cyanide they are finding in the bootlegged mix.

I've heard these, or something similar. People make choices to spend their money on tattoos, cigarettes, drinking, a trip to Cancun, or $2,000 tires for their truck...and then expect us to extend them grace.

I don't reward stupidity; I make profit from it.

You're welcome to test your theory and refuse to pay rent. I will proceed with a Forcible Entry and Detainer. Perhaps Judge [name removed] will be more impressed by your legal jargon tap-dance.Epic.


I needed that laugh this morning. Seems like a copy and paste credit report dispute letter. 

In my one triplex I had two tenants pay very late both in the same month they both ( separate apartments) used the same excuse . I guess they figured I’d buy it lol the excuse was

“ someone stole my identity and now the bank has a lockdown on my account “

To which I respond .

“ I don’t believe you and your now going to get a late fee because I know that no one would ever even want your identity because you have bad credit no money and no assets !

I non renewed an inherited tenant and gave them a notice 2 months in advance so they had plenty of time to find a new place.

When they had not moved at end of lease,  I fell for the excuse that she was working full time and was having difficulties setting up appointments to view new apartments.

I gave her a 10 day notice and asked why she hadn't deposited the next months rent- her response was how do you expect me to pay rent when I need a security deposit and first months tent for new apartment??

I sent her a letter giving her two payment options for past due rent and that didn't work.

Judgement filed for non payment and that still didn't work, so I then filed paperwork to garnish wages.

You can run but you can't hide.

when I was foreclosing on 100 plus buy and hold investors in the rental markets of the mid west .. I found myself pounding on doors to collect rent via my assignment of rents clause in my mortgage.

Now of course average renters don't understand of course and are leary of some guy with a funny Oregon accent pounding on their door and being in a neighborhood they knew I did not belong.

But the funniest one was ( I paid it to the man in the Green Truck) I said OK so some man shows up with no documents and a Green truck and you gave him your rent money..  Yes sir Mr. Jay that's what I did.. 

"the electric flickers off and on sometimes"

Ok why did you wait to tell me this until rent is due?

"I dont know"

Ended up have to evict, and after the eviction with 2 months non payed of rent they sent me a sited legal link on why I need to refund their deposit. Some people ,lol

Originally posted by @Nathan G. :

the requirement of which has been established via Spears v. Brennan, 745 N.E. 2d 862 (Ind. Ct. App. 2001)


(Agreement with your client that grants you the authority to collect on this alleged debt.) Coppola v. Arrow Financial Services, 2002 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 26788 (D. Conn. 2002) 

You should be made aware that reporting a collection account is indeed considered a collection activity. Boatley v. Diem Corp., 2004 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 5089 (D. Ariz. 2004.

Why is a lawyer citing a court of appeals case, or district cases in IN, AZ, and CT, when he lives in the Wyoming's 10th district?  WY is not bound by court cases decided in IN any more than WY is bound by laws issued by the IN legislature...They simply aren't in the same district.    I've helped someone dispute collection accounts before, and this letter is verbatim what you can find googling sample dispute letters to collection agencies.


Good job calling him on his BS.

Originally posted by @Ryan Potter :

"the electric flickers off and on sometimes"

Ok why did you wait to tell me this until rent is due?

"I dont know"

Ended up have to evict, and after the eviction with 2 months non payed of rent they sent me a sited legal link on why I need to refund their deposit. Some people ,lol

It's very common for tenants to be late on rent and then try to shift blame to the Landlord. I recently had a tenant that was late on rent. When I served the 3-day Notice, he complained about my lack of concern when his furnace caught on fire...two years prior! We were there shortly after the fire department and a new furnace was installed the next day. Tenant has submitted four work orders since that one and all were fixed within 48 hours. He has never said anything negative about anything and he has renewed his lease twice since the fire! But as soon as I call him out on paying late, suddenly I'm a slumlord.

"I have a full time job and have been too busy to pay rent".

"I thought rent is not due for another month, didn't I just pay last month"?

"I didn't pay because I was waiting for you to ask me so we can have this conversation to explore the possibility of rent to own".

"I tried numerous times to pay, and Zelle won't let me" (this is after he paid successfully via ZellePay several times prior).

"I was out of town and I know you were out of town, I'd figured this can wait till we are both in town".

My tenant last Feb got thrown in jail so that was his excuse for not paying rent. A month later his girlfriend went to jail for a week. Same excuse. So I evicted them. New tenant moves in and same thing happened a few months later! His wife called me and said he was in jail so they couldn’t pay rent until the 15th. That’s three different tenants in my one house over a five month period who got thrown in jail and couldn’t pay rent. I heart being a land lord :)

Originally posted by @John Morgan :

My tenant last Feb got thrown in jail so that was his excuse for not paying rent. A month later his girlfriend went to jail for a week. Same excuse. So I evicted them. New tenant moves in and same thing happened a few months later! His wife called me and said he was in jail so they couldn’t pay rent until the 15th. That’s three different tenants in my one house over a five month period who got thrown in jail and couldn’t pay rent. I heart being a land lord :)

That's rough! Have you upped your screening standards?

@Nathan G.

Tennant: “ your honor I’m not paying rent until the apartment is fixed there are a bunch of violations on the property and it’s not safe to live in”

Me: “your honor, the Tennant is not allowing me into the apartment to fix the damage she has made to the apartment. I have a list here from the building inspector and all of these violations we created and then reported by the Tennant; some examples: Holes in the wall, basement door blocked by debris, smoke and Corbin detectors removed, broken window, etc. Your honor, I’m not looking for back-due rent, all I want is my property back so that I could fix these issues and clear the violations, apparently it’s not safe for my Tennant to be living there.”

Judge: (Tennant’s name), how long do you need to vacate the premises?

Tennant: 6 months

Judge: you have two weeks, case dismissed.

@Nathan G.

Mid November he told me he was going to be late with November and December rent because he had to pay for his kids Xmas gifts on layaway. I told him the kids won’t enjoy the gifts as much living in your car. Dec 22 he moved out with a pending eviction hearing scheduled.

My account was hacked..

Something happened with my direct deposit from my job..

Transmission went bad..

I’ve heard all these numerous times