The 15-day rent payment grace period in Maine

19 Replies

I told my tenants they would not be charged a 4% late fee until 15 days from the time payment is due. The 15-day grace period is state law which I will abide by. So now tenants do not pay me until the 13th or 14th of the month which is annoying. What would be a good way next time around to present a stricter payment policy while still abiding by the law? 

To not tell them about the law.  Obviously is they're versed in it then thats fine but I wouldn't just tell them that.

I don't know if this is what you are looking for at all, but when I was a tenant in Boston, our landlord gave us a 5% discount if we paid by the 3rd of the month. We ALWAYS paid by the 3rd! 

If you are going to charge the 4% late fee in Maine it has to be in writing so pretty tough to keep the details a secret. Hand them a 7 day notice on the 8th and see if that motivates them at all.

Wow! Tammy and Ryan those are great ideas! Using both together would quickly “train” your tenants to pay on time. I’ll be incorporating these ideas!into my business too!

Give them a pay or quit notice on the second of the month and begin the eviction process. They will likely pay immediately to avoid an eviction. They next time they pay late do the same thing again and this time when they do pay tell them if they are late again you will carry through and evict them.

There is no reason a tenant should ever pay late unless their landlord has trained them to do so. You have trained your tennats very well.

If you are not prepared to evict there is no reason any tenant would be motivated to pay on time.

Originally posted by @Thomas S. :

Give them a pay or quit notice on the second of the month and begin the eviction process. They will likely pay immediately to avoid an eviction. They next time they pay late do the same thing again and this time when they do pay tell them if they are late again you will carry through and evict them.

There is no reason a tenant should ever pay late unless their landlord has trained them to do so. You have trained your tennats very well.

If you are not prepared to evict there is no reason any tenant would be motivated to pay on time.

 Do you ever have a solution other than evicting people?

Originally posted by @Eric Pierpont :

I told my tenants they would not be charged a 4% late fee until 15 days from the time payment is due. The 15-day grace period is state law which I will abide by. So now tenants do not pay me until the 13th or 14th of the month which is annoying. What would be a good way next time around to present a stricter payment policy while still abiding by the law? 

Good for your tenants. Why not just abide by the law. It's there to protect both of you.  

Increase your rents by some amount, and then tell them their rent amount due is less that amount if they pay no later than 3:00pm on the 4th (or whatever) of each month. So rent is $1000, or $900 by the 4th. Like an early pay bonus. Do it with any new leases or as they renew.

Originally posted by @Michael Plante :

What is the big deal of two weeks

 I think two weeks could easily turn into three weeks and a 7-day notice. I would rather incentivize the payment process versus rent paid whenever and handing out notices.

In Maine you can’t give the 7 day notice unti 7 24 hour periods have expired which means you give it to them on the 8th. No exceptions even if the pay part of it but not the full amount the eviction process starts. All rent is due on the first period. If they move in the middle of the month, they pay for a full month and the second month gets prorated so that it is due on the first in full. It is true that the late fee can’t be applied until the 15th but you can give them a discount if paid on time. 

Since we have many units we always reserve a court date for each date the court is doing evictions and if it doesn’t go that far we cancel the date. In this way if you follow the dates and procedures to the letter, you can evict in about 60 days or less. If you wait to get a court date until they fail to pay by the deadline you could miss the next court date because it is full and your tenant could get an extra month. 

If you plain your no nonsense policy on the day they sign the lease, they won’t be surprised when then see the eviction process start.

I understand that a discount to pay early might be an illegal attempt to circumvent the late fee law, but I wonder if some of these other incentives to pay on time might be okay to include in leases?

Provided the preceding 12 months (or 11/12) were all paid no later than a certain date (i.e. 3rd):

* Offer a low max rent escalator (1-2%) for lease renewals

* Offer inexpensive but high perceived value items (i.e. big screen TV) for lease renewals

* Provide a Winter Fuel Credit in December if tenants pay for heating fuel  

* Offer a choice of unit upgrades that you may have been planning to do anyway (repaint, new appliance, ceiling fans, etc.)

Mike

Originally posted by @Thomas S. :

Give them a pay or quit notice on the second of the month and begin the eviction process. They will likely pay immediately to avoid an eviction. They next time they pay late do the same thing again and this time when they do pay tell them if they are late again you will carry through and evict them.

There is no reason a tenant should ever pay late unless their landlord has trained them to do so. You have trained your tennats very well.

If you are not prepared to evict there is no reason any tenant would be motivated to pay on time.

Not sure why you were called out for this. This is the correct response. Lease says payment due the 1st, then payment is due the first. I would service a notice or quit on the 2nd. Not that you actually want to evict them. Of course you don't. But if they know you are not going to stand for them violating the terms of the lease THEY signed, they will quickly get in line.

My friend decides what she wants to receive for rent. She then adds $50 to that, which is what she charges for rent. She tells the tenants that their rent is due on the 1st of the month, but if they pay early (I think she has told them 1 week), she gives a $50 discount for the month. She is constantly waving her early rent checks in my face. I currently only have 2 units, and haven't had any vacancies for about 3 years, but I will absolutely be using this method with new leases.