It’s happened to lots of renters: you’ve always paid your rent on time, but one month you’ve come up short. Emergencies, job issues and even just a simple miscalculation in your budget can all be to blame, but the important thing is how you handle it. So what do you do when your rent due date is looming and you just don’t have the cash to cover it?

Don’t ignore the problem.
Though your first reaction may be to bury your head in the sand and wait until it all blows over, that’s actually one of the worst reactions to have. Dealing with the issue sooner, rather than later, gives you more ability to handle the problem in a proactive way. Your apartment manager will also appreciate as much notice as you can give them.

Check your lease.
Your lease can help you determine if there is a grace period (a period of time where it’s okay to pay the rent late) and if any late fees will be applied. It can also shed some light on the possibility of eviction notices for lack of payment, as well as what your community’s process is for dealing with a late payment.

Speak to your apartment manager right away.
The more notice you can give your apartment manager of your situation, the better. If you’re a good resident who normally pays the rent on time, they may be able to work out an arrangement with you if they have enough notice. Additionally, they can advise you on any questions you may have about late payment as outlined in your lease.

Put it in writing.
Having something in writing is always a good idea, as conversations can often be forgotten or remembered incorrectly. Put together a letter as soon as possible for your apartment manager that details the following:

  • A request for extra time to pay your rent in full.
  • An offer (if you can) to make a partial payment on the rent that you owe.
  • Assurance that you will pay the remainder of the rent by a certain day. Be sure it’s a date you can keep.
  • Assurance that late payment won’t happen again and you will pay your rent on time in the future.
  • Acknowledgement of application of late fees (if any).

Keep up your end of the bargain.
If you’ve made assurances to your apartment manager that you will be paying your rent in full by a certain date in the month, be sure you keep to that date. Having to ask for more time will not instill trust in you with your landlord or apartment manager. Also, ensure your funds will clear. Nothing looks worse than submitting a check you know will bounce, as it incurs extra fees and frustration for your apartment owners.

Difficulty in paying rent happens to most people during their lifetime, but it’s how you handle it that really counts. Check out some of our money-saving tips in our Apartment Budgeting guide and 7 Legit Apartment Money Saving Tricks. Have you ever been late with the rent? What did you do?

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