Rent’s due today and you’re short on cash. Is there anything you can do to get the rent paid on time?
Here are three possible solutions to get you out of your financial jam. Ask yourself the following trouble-shooting questions to find out if any of these options might help you avoid being late on rent:
Can You Make a Partial Rent Payment?
If you’re only a $100-$200 short on rent money and will have the rest when you get paid at the end of the week, call your landlord and see if he’ll accept a partial payment.
Note that landlords are not obligated to accept partial rent payments. In fact, many won’t. The reason is because in most states, a tenant who has paid any portion of the month’s rent cannot be evicted for non-payment. Even if you don’t come up with another dime toward this month’s rent, the landlord who accepts a partial payment could not begin eviction proceedings until 30 days from now, when rent becomes due again, and you owe more rent.
However, if you’ve been a very good, long-term tenant who has never missed a rent payment before, you might have success with a partial rent payment. A landlord who has over time learned to trust that you pay your rent, in full, on time, every month will be more likely to cut you a break because he’ll know that your shortage of money is a rarity, and that you’ve earned the benefit of his doubt.
If, however, you regularly have trouble paying your rent on time, don’t bother asking about a partial rent payment option. Your landlord will not likely allow it.
Does Your Landlord Take Credit Cards?
While the overuse of credit cards can get you into big financial trouble, a once-in-while rent payment with your credit card can get you out of a temporary money jam with little hassle.
Call your landlord to find out if he’ll take a credit card, or visit your apartment association’s website to see if you can pay your rent online. Note that if you use a “convenience check” sent to you by your credit card company rather than your credit card itself, additional transaction fees may apply and the payment might be considered a cash advance, which normally carries a higher interest rate than a regular credit card purchase.
If you must resort to paying your rent with your credit card, try your very best to pay off the purchase before your credit card account’s next billing cycle starts in order to prevent interest charges. Remember that your credit card company doesn’t lend you money for free; the longer it takes for you to repay to your account the money you charged on it, the more interest you’ll accrue and the more this month’s rent will end up costing you in the long run.
If, however, you can pay off your rent charge before your next billing cycle, using your credit card to pay rent when you temporarily don’t have cash in-hand may actually save you money. Since most landlords will charge you late fee if you’re even one day late on rent, using a credit card to make the rent payment on time will save you that fee.
Can You Work Off Your Rent?
If you live in a small apartment community where the landlord himself runs things, you might be able to finagle a work-for-rent deal, either for the short-term or long-term.
Independent landlords likely don’t have a salaried staff to do things like collect rent, clean apartments after tenants move out, or paint apartments before new tenants move in. Your landlord might view a rent discount in exchange for work he needs completed as a good deal, so ask.
You might find yourself shoveling snow, vacuuming hallways or fixing a leaky sink faucet, depending on your skills and the landlord’s needs. If you’re prepared to roll up your sleeves in exchange for a rent discount and your landlord agrees to it, it’ll be a win-win solution for both you and the landlord.
Can You Really Afford Your Apartment?
Last, if you’re regularly having trouble making your rent payment, it might be time to face the cold, hard truth that you have rented an apartment you can’t afford. You might have to consider cutting unnecessary purchases out of your monthly budget, inviting a roommate to live with you and help make rent payments, getting a second job to make up the difference, or, ultimately, moving out and finding a less expensive place to live.
Author Experience in Rental Property Management