What can I do about a tenant that never pays rent on time?


What can I do about a tenant that never pays rent on time? Can I charge my tenant a late fee when he pays rent late? Does my tenant have to pay me a late fee when he pays late rent? Watch as Attorneys Rob Solomon and Tom Olsen answer these questions and more!


Attorney Tom Olsen: Here's another text, and it says, "Rob, my tenant never pays rent on time. Why should I have to put up with this?" What do you suggest for that landlord?

Attorney Rob Solomon: Well, you shouldn't have to put up with it, and it's actually a bad idea to collect partial payments of rent under Florida law. In a residential tenancy, if you collect a partial payment of rent, you're waiving your right to the remainder of the rent. So landlords tell me all the time, "I didn't know that." And the thing is, in a lot of cases, the tenant comes ahead and pays anyhow. But as a matter of law, you have actually waived your right to the remainder of that rent. So people tell me, landlords tell me, "Oh, I've been doing this for months and months, and they give me some long accounting sheet wherein they owe the land, the tenant owe us, thousands of dollars. That's poor management. You're just being taken for a ride after a while. You need to not do that in the first place, and if you're going to do it, then you'll just be on a very short leash. And that you start collecting full payments, and if not, you're looking at an eviction for failure to pay rent.

Attorney Tom Olsen: All right, I want to be perfectly clear. If I've got a tenant, and my tenant comes to me first, and says, "Tom, my rent is $1,500 a month. Here's $1,000." If I take that $1,000 from my tenant, you're saying, two weeks later, I cannot evict him for the balance of the $500 that's due.

Attorney Rob Solomon: As a matter of law, that's true. Now, there are things you can do to ameliorate that. You could have your tenant sign some kind of document that says you're not waiving. But these, what we call anti-waiver clauses in lease, have not been litigated yet. So my feeling about them is, there's some risks still attendant to even that. I think it's a bad policy. It might be the marketplace operating, that's all you're going to get, and it's okay maybe to do it once or twice, but as a general proposition, always accepting late rent in small portions is bad management.

Attorney Tom Olsen: All right. Hey, Rob, I want to remind the listeners again, that you have a landlord workshop coming up on June 2nd at 9:45 in the morning at our office. If you want to come to Rob's landlord workshop, you call or text Chrissy anytime. 407-808-8398. Again, if you want to come to Rob's landlord workshop on Tuesday, June 2nd, you call or text Chrissy anytime. 407-808-8398. And I want to remind you, go to our website, LawTube.com. Like YouTube, but LawTube.com. From there, you can see, hey, our homepage video is Chrissy dancing; you'll want to see that. You'll find that at LawTube.com. Check it out, Kirk; you're going to like it. And from there, you can sign up to get our videos. We will email you videos from this radio show. We'd love for you to sign up. We've got about almost 2,800 subscribers now to our video emails. So be one of them. We'd love to send them out to you. Find it all at LawTube.com.