The pros and cons of accepting partial rent
In Baltimore COUNTY–as of writing this in December 2015–a landlord can accept partial rent from their tenant and still continue the eviction process until it is paid in full. Several months ago, Baltimore CITY changed their law so that if landlords accept partial rent, they can not continue the eviction process.
I personally find this new law in the City to be ridiculous. How does it make any sense to not be able to at least try to recoup some money before eviction?
When I have renters behind in the County, many times they pay partial payments up until the eviction day and are able to stop eviction. I like the insurance of being able to receive some money but still evict if they don’t pay 100%. However, now I’m torn. I’ve come to find that partial payments means more accounting on my part. It’s more work. It can get confusing especially if there are several partial payments made. So I looked into Baltimore County law regarding refusing partial payments. I could find nothing, so I spoke with a paralegal, who also stated, “there is no law saying that you can’t refuse partial payments.”
So what are the pros and cons?
Pros of accepting partial rent:
- Ability to receive money and still continue the eviction process (Baltimore County only)
- Many tenants like the flexibility to make partial payments as they receive paychecks because they lack money-saving skills.
Cons of accepting partial rent:
- More accounting, work, time spent for the landlord.
- Possibility for potential confusion, and therefore, dispute from the tenant.
- Possibly receiving no money and following through to eviction.
After having a couple of tenants who have fallen behind and can’t seem to catch back up, I’ve become fatigued with doing the extra accounting due to their multiple partial payments. It takes up my time. It can become confusing. I have a great spreadsheet that does the math for me, but it still requires extra work for me due to their lack of financial responsibility. So I’m considering moving to this no-partial-rent policy. 99% of the time, the tenant really wants to stay and finds a way to come through and make payment. Sometimes, they’ve even made no payments until the night before eviction, where they suddenly pay in full.
What are your thoughts on accepting or rejecting partial rent?