There are times when your spending can get away from you, and it can make for a stressful time when all your bills start piling up. Many people find themselves in a bit of a bind when their landlords are expecting rent.
So what are you supposed to do if you don’t have the funds sitting in your account on collection day?
Should you try to ignore the problem and hope your landlord won’t notice you’re a day or two late? Should you send a check you know is going to bounce or “forget” to sign it because you know it’ll cause a delay? Probably not. There will likely be consequences, like late fees, if you’re caught.
Here are four things you should do when you know your rent is going to be late.
1. Tell your landlord your rent will be late
Barring extenuating circumstances, like your bank account getting hacked and drained or other unforeseen financial emergencies, you should know within a couple days of your rent due date whether or not you’ll have enough money. The moment you know that you won’t be able to pay rent on time, inform your landlord.
Any notice you can provide your landlord with will work in your favor because it demonstrates your willingness to be transparent and to take responsibility for the late payment. The worst thing you can do is try to sneak a late rent payment past your landlord because they will likely notice you’re late, and you will have shown them that they can’t trust you.
Explain your situation to them and do it honestly and concisely. They’ve probably heard every excuse in the book, so just take responsibility rather than giving them a sob story.
2. Discuss the possibility of partial or delayed payments with your landlord
Informing your landlord that your next rent payment will be late opens up the opportunity to negotiate a payment plan.
Some landlords are willing to accept partial payments. Usually, this means paying part of the total rent amount on the day it’s normally due and the rest when you get your next paycheck.
Other landlords are willing to accept a late rent payment if they’ve received a notice and you pay within one or two days of the due date.
Keep in mind that your landlord can still charge you a late fee for late rent. There’s likely a clause in your Residential Lease that explains the late rent procedure and states the amount of the fee. However, being candid with your landlord might increase the chance that they’ll waive the late fee altogether.
Just remember that if you come to alternative arrangements with your landlord, you should get it in writing just in case. It’ll help prevent the possibility of any disputes with your landlord later. You can use a Letter of Intent.
3. Consider re-evaluating your budget
It doesn’t hurt to take a look at your budgeting efforts, especially if you find you often find yourself unable to make rent on time. You might need to re-evaluate your wants, needs, and wishes and how they play into your monthly budget.
You don’t want to make a habit out of being behind on rent because your landlord has every right to serve you an Eviction Notice.
4. Ask for help with your finances if you need it
Most people will experience some kind of financial turmoil at least once in their lives. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Many people turn to payday loans when they’re in a financial jam, but these kinds of loans can often start a revolving cycle of taking out more loans to pay off the original loan.
Before resorting to payday loans, consider some of these alternatives:
- You can ask friends or family for a loan (which you can secure with a Promissory Note to put them at ease).
- If you have credit card debt, you can ask your credit card company about their hardship programs to see about lowering your monthly payment.
- You can apply for a Modest Needs grant which can get you up to $1000 to help make ends meet if you are currently employed.
- Organizations like 211.org can connect you with local charities to help you out with rent assistance.
Finding a Payment Solution
If you’re unlucky enough to have a drained bank account come rent time, don’t get discouraged. Consider using the tactics discussed in this post to help with your problem.
Don’t be sneaky with your landlord. They’re likely keeping track of which tenants haven’t paid on time and who’s making a habit out of it. Communicate openly and honestly with them about your situation, discuss alternative payment plans if possible, re-evaluate your budget, and ask for help if you need it.