Three in five renters get behind on rent at least once a year. Yes, you might always tender rent bills when due, but you may have encountered a financial roadblock that prevented you from paying your rent on time. It might result from budget overload, insufficient income, or late salary payments. Your pay date might even skip your mind, or you got too busy. Nonetheless, these reasons do not matter if you handle the situation correctly. Sorting it wrong might lead to extra charges and a significant drop in your credit score.
When Is Rent Considered Late?
Your landlord will consider your rent late if you do not pay by the due date following the agreement you signed. To know exactly when you’re overdue, check the details of your lease agreement. The process varies and depends on the leasing company you applied with.
Generally, failure to pay your bills on the date stated on your lease is regarded as late. Most landlords give you up to five days extra to catch up, and your state might have rules meant to protect you in this situation. Check the internet for your state’s renter rights.
What Happens When You Don’t Pay?
If you fall back on your rent and can’t catch up within the extra days, your landlord will seek your presence or make a phone call to inform you of your missed payment. If you both agreed to a late fee during the lease, expect them to start processing it.
If it goes on longer than necessary, you might get a notice informing you of pending eviction should you fail to tender your bills within a few days. After which, the landlord will start preparing for your lease termination. Make sure to inform yourself of state laws that might protect you in this circumstance.
When Do Credit Bureaus File Rent as Late?
Late payment for credit bureaus is quite different from your landlord’s. The period of time before your rent is considered late exceeds the one on your rental agreement. Generally, you have a grace period of 30 days before your payment failure is reflected on your credit history.
What Happens To Credit Scores After Late Payments
Like cash advances, late rent payments are reflected on your credit history and negatively affect your credibility. You will experience a significant drop in your credit score if you fail to pay your bill 30 days after the due date. This setback might remain on your report for more than seven years; however, your score tends to get back on track after a while. You can also learn how to get your score above 800.
Remember that the longer you delay your rent payment, the more damage it causes to your credit score. Make plans to catch up and get things straightened.
Steps To Take When Late For Rent
1- Make the Issue a Priority
Many people tend to blow off the issue and expect the worst. Your inability to pay might drown your feelings, but ignoring it is not a wise step. Pulling yourself together and facing the issue immediately will yield a better result. You will have time to plan and clear your head to analyze your steps. Landlords prefer that you reach out to them and explain your situation as soon as possible. Don’t let them reach out first.
2- Go Through Your Lease Agreement
Your lease might contain a clause regarding late payments you were never aware of. For example, an agreed extra day could be included, during which you can tender your payments without incurring additional fees. It will also remind you of the termination proceedings should you fail to pay and other processes applicable to your community.
3- Contact Your Apartment Manager
The faster you speak of your circumstance to your landlord, the easier sorting it out will be. If you always make payments on time, they will be willing to hear you out and reason with you. They will also have time to adjust your payment schedule or draft a plan you are comfortable with. Moreso, they will be there to explain any ambiguity in your rental agreement.
4- Send Your Request in Writing
Whatever request you have decided to put forward, having it written is advisable. Agreements made verbally are easily forgotten or misremembered. Prepare a letter addressed to your lessor and include all your requests in detail.
You can ask for extra days or offer to pay in parts. Think of a date you are comfortable with and offer to tender the reminder on that day. Explain the reasons for your late payments to the landlord and promise to avoid a recurrence. If late fees are agreed upon in your lease, acknowledge its addition to your bills if you default.
5- Let Your Actions Match Your Promises
If your landlord allows you to make payments at a later date, try as much as possible to keep your promise and follow up as agreed. Be sure you can pay within the period you requested because having to return for an extension might not bode well. It will also reduce your landlord’s trust in you, making it harder to reach another agreement.
Avoid shady business, like paying a check that will bounce. It will make things worse and lead to extra charges while you struggle to pay the actual amount.
Having a hard time clearing rent and other bills happens to a lot of people. What’s important is taking the right actions to get things sorted and put the whole issue behind you. Make sure to do right by your landlord, whose only source of income might be your rent.