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When Is My Rent Due Legally?

George Simons | October 19, 2022

Summary: Some people think that rent is always due on the first day of each month, but that's not necessarily true. Legally, rent is due on whatever day is specficied by the landlord in the rental contract. Below is SoloSuit's guide on paying rent, when a landlord can legally evict, and how the eviction process works.

Knowing when your rent is due legally can save you a lot of trouble with your landlord and also help you plan your finances even better. Most people believe that rent is due on the first day of the month, but that's not necessarily true. This article discusses everything you need to know about the legal due date for rent payments in most states across the country, what to do if you're late with your payment, your rights as a tenant, and more.

Let's jump right in.

When is my rent due legally?

Legally, your rent is due on the date stated in the rental agreement. This could be any date, which is why it's always advisable to read and understand the terms of agreement beforehand. The first day of the month is not the default date for such an agreement—some landlords may require their tenants to pay rent weekly or biweekly. Some may even require their tenants to pay rent in advance.

While the due date for rent payment is usually stated in the rental agreements, most states regulate how and when landlords should impose late fees. For example, in Washington state, a landlord may not impose late fees until five days have passed since the rent's due date. In Texas, landlords can not impose late fees for rent until whn the rent is more than four days late.

Can my landlord suddenly evict me for late payment?

No. Your landlord can't abruptly evict you for late payment or any other reason without following the legal process. Prior to an eviction, almost every US state requires landlords to provide tenants with notice that they are planning to move forward with an eviction. Landlords are also required to wait a number of days before officially evicting a tenant. The formal notice sent by the landlord to the tenant typically sets forth the landlord's intended course of action if the tenant continues to fail to pay their rent on time.

Different states have their own unique requirements regarding eviction notices. For example, in Washington state, an eviction notice must meet the following requirements:

  • The notice must be written down, signed, and dated by the property owner or landlord.
  • The eviction notice must also explain the reasons for the eviction.

Your landlord cannot evict you without a legal reason. Some of the most common reasons for eviction include failure to pay rent, violation of the lease or rental agreement, non-renewal of the lease at the end of the rental period, or any other legally-accepted reason.

How should an eviction notice be served?

The exact process of serving an eviction notice varies from one state to another. However, most states have similar requirements.

In most states, landlords can personally serve the eviction notice to their tenants. Alternatively, they may hire a process server or a professional service to deliver the notice to the tenant. This usually happens if the landlord can't seem to locate the tenant.

Some landlords also serve this notice via certified mail with a return receipt. After that, the eviction notice is posted at conspicuous areas of the property, such as the garage, front door, patio, etc.

What should I do if served with an eviction notice?

Being served with an eviction notice can be stressful, especially if you're struggling financially. A landlord may serve you with a summary eviction notice or a formal eviction notice in most states. These two eviction notices differ in multiple ways, but the most important thing you need to know about them is the time difference.

Summary eviction notices usually give you up to 10 days to respond, while formal notices have a 30-day grace period. Given that time is a critical factor regardless of the type of notice you receive, it's always important to respond promptly.

Most landlords will want to avoid the legal tussle of evicting their tenants. Unless the situation cannot be remedied, you can always try to negotiate with your landlord whenever there's a chance to do so.

In your Answer, you can either agree to pay any delinquent rent that's due within a specified time frame. Alternatively, you may decide to vacate the property within the timeframe provided in the notice.

You may be able to fight an eviction using tenant defenses. This option comes into play if you believe that the eviction notice is wrongful. Some examples of tenant defenses to use in the event of a wrongful eviction notice include:

  • Breach of lease agreement: You might be able to fight the eviction if your landlord breached the lease agreement. For example, if they failed to maintain the property, you could use this as a defense. However, you'll need to prove that you notified the landlord about the problem and that they failed to act.
  • Eviction based on discrimination: Your landlord cannot discriminate against you. So if you can prove that the eviction is driven by discrimination, whether based on your race, color, nationality, religion, sexual orientation, disability, or any other qualifying reason, you could use this as a defense.
  • Notices served improperly: Most states require landlords to notify their tenants about their intention to file an eviction. Your landlord cannot randomly file an eviction notice against you, and if that's the case, then you can cite this as your defense. For best results, read your state's eviction laws and determine whether your landlord followed the law when serving you with the notice of eviction.

The Bottom Line

It's important that you file an Answer to your eviction notice. Ignoring your landlord doesn't mean that the eviction process will magically end. On the contrary, it gives the landlord a legal advantage. As a result, the judge will most likely rule in their favor.

If possible, try to negotiate with your landlord and agree on how the outstanding rent will be paid. Most landlords are usually willing to negotiate with their tenants to avoid the complex legal processes involved, from filing an eviction notice to the actual eviction.

If you're struggling with debt, SoloSuit can help

You may have fallen behind on your rent because you're struggling with other debts like credit cards, student loans, medical bills, etc. If you find yourself overwhelmed with debt, SoloSuit can help.

You might have debt collectors calling you non-stop about a debt you owe. Try sending them a Debt Validation Letter. This is a formal request for a debt validation, and if the debt collectors don't have the proper documentation to prove that the debt is yours and the amount is correct, they might just give up altogether.

On the other hand, you might have already been sued for a debt you owe. The most important thing to do is respond to the lawsuit with a written Answer. When you respond to the lawsuit, you avoid losing the case by default. Check out this video to learn more about how to be debt collectors in court:

What is SoloSuit?

SoloSuit makes it easy to fight debt collectors.

You can use SoloSuit to respond to a debt lawsuit, to send letters to collectors, and even to settle a debt.

SoloSuit's Answer service is a step-by-step web-app that asks you all the necessary questions to complete your Answer. Upon completion, we'll have an attorney review your document and we'll file it for you.

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