Renters' Rights & Late PaymentsCredit: M Connors (

Protected by Copyscape Originality Checker

Renters generally sign a lease agreement, or contract, before occupying a rental property. The contract typically contains the move-in and move-out dates. Other information found in a lease agreement is the date by which rent is due, generally on a monthly basis. Landlords have the right to set their own guidelines associated with rent payments. While some landlords make provision for a grace period, often of about three days, others do not. However, Fair Housing Tenant Law protects renters' rights regarding late rent payments.

Renters' Rights and Evictions

Although your landlord can legally demand your rent payment on the due date, he can lose that right if he has a history of accepting late payments. If he pursues legal action against you for late rent, the judge could determine that he created a pattern of accepting late rent payments and that it would be unfair to evict you for it, according to The Washington Post.

Read your contract thoroughly. Lease contracts often have an anti-waiver clause to protect the landlord's rights regarding late payments. The waiver typically states that failure to enforce a term does not waive the right enforce such term. If your lease agreement has an anti-waiver clause and you go to court for late rent, you will have the burden of proving that your landlord has a history of accepting late payments.

Your landlord can enforce a previously waived term if he informs you in writing of his intention to enforce strict compliance regarding future late payments.

Late Rent and Notice to Vacate

Renters' rights protect you if pay your rent late and your landlord asks you to vacate the property. According to Fair Housing Tenant Law, your landlord must first have a written notice to vacate delivered to you, as stated on The City of Houston's website . The notice should include the specific date by which you must vacate the rental property. Renters generally have up to 30 days to vacate after the notice is delivered.

If you receive a written notice to vacate, renters' rights protect you in such a situation. You have the right to appear before a judge if you choose not to vacate the property by the date on the notice. If the judge determines that you need to vacate, he will also inform you of the date by which you need to move out.

Renters' Rights and Unlawful Evictions

Your landlord cannot use violence or physical force to evict you. If a judge determines that you need to vacate the property and you fail to observe the court order, your landlord cannot throw out your things on the street or change the locks. Only your sheriff's office can enforce the court order.

Overall, renters' rights do not promote lack of responsibility or accountability. However, if you pay your rent late due to unforeseen circumstances, your renter's rights prevent you from ending up on the street. Learning about your rights and exercising them will give you time to find adequate shelter before vacating the rental property.

Copyright © 2011 Ana Jackson. All Rights Reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part constitutes plagiarism, is illegal and strictly prohibited.


Readers who read this article also enjoyed: