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Everything You Need to Know About Paying Rent

When you start a rental you should get familiar with your landlord's preference for rent payments, any late fees and rules about rent increases or decreases that might affect you.

Your first and foremost responsibility as a tenant is to pay the rent on time every month. Usually when you sign a lease you'll pay the first month and the security deposit, and after that you'll be expected to get the rent to your landlord by the first of every month.

Ways to pay rent

About half of renters in the U.S. pay rent with a check, and the other half pay with some kind of online tool. If your landlord accepts online rent payments then they're using a software platform for landlords like RentCafe, Clickpay, Yapstone, Appfolio, Realpage, Yardi, and Entrata. They'll send you a link as soon as your lease is signed.

If your landlord, on the other hand, prefers to get a paper check then you can use Flip to pay rent online.

Rent increases or decreases

Your rent amount could go down over the course of your lease for a number of different reasons but it can't ever go up until the lease renews. If your landlord isn't keeping up their end of the bargain then you might decide to withhold rent or make repairs yourself and pay less rent. You might also end up paying less rent if you can convince your landlord to lower your rent because of either a major change in the quality of your rental or your own improvements to the rental. This is called a rent abatement.

You can always expect your rent to increase when your lease comes up for renewal. Unless there is a clause in your lease explicitly stating this to be the case, it's never okay for a landlord to raise the rent during a lease term.

Late fees on rent

Make sure you're aware of your landlord's fees for paying the rent late. In some states the amount of fees they can charge is capped by state law, but in most states you need to rely on what it says in your lease agreement.

Next steps

Paying rent can be stressful and there's nothing worse than getting slammed with an unnecessary fee because it didn't show up on time. Figure out the best way to setup automated, online rent payments to save yourself hassle and have one less thing to worry about.

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