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How to handle partial payments from a tenant

June 12, 2011

We had the situation a few months ago on Property #1 where our tenants could not come up with the full amount of the rent.  Of course there was a story. One of the 3 roommates in the house moved out unexpectedly(we have students in this house). They were splitting the rent three ways, but now had to split it 2 ways. They could come up with most of the rent so we had to make a decision. The books will tell you not to accept any of the rent unless it is the full amount. I think the idea is acceptance of partial rent starts the clock over on the eviction process.

My stance is you need to look at the relationship to date. These tenants have been paying with no issues for over 20 months already. They kept the place clean and were overall good tenants. Their story made sense and they wanted to work something out. This was easy – we accepted the partial payment, but made it very clear when the remainder of the rent was due and the implications of falling further behind. Our tenants made it through this rough patch. Now looking back on it we just remember the bad hair day they had back in March.

My standard lease is silent on this issue of partial payments. I was considering adding something, but then I thought leaving it silent may leave me  with more options. How I handle this will be dependent on my attitude toward the tenant – do they have the means to catch up, do they take care of the property, are they confrontational, are they high maintenance, have the neighbors been complaining about them, etc. It may even come down to what time of year it is and whether or not I might want a vacancy in the next month or so.

In conclusion, I would play it by ear. You need to look at all the facts and circumstances and then decide how to handle partial payments.

Attached is the receipt and conditions and terms in which we accepted a partial payment.

Receipt for partial rent payment

From → Landlord

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