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Everything You Need to Know About Paying Rent

Your biggest responsibility as a tenant is paying the rent each month. You'll need to understand your landlord’s payment preferences and any rules about rent increases and late fees.


When do I pay rent?

Your first and foremost responsibility as a tenant is to pay the rent on time every month. This is obvious stuff, but if you're a first-time renter you might have no idea where, when, and how often to pay rent.

The first thing to know is that you’ll be asked to pay the first month of rent and the security deposit when you sign a lease. After that, you'll be expected to get the rent to your landlord by the first of every month.

How do I pay rent?

About half of renters in the U.S. pay rent with a check. 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, or Entrata. They'll send you a link as soon as your lease is signed. Then, you’ll have a choice if you want to pay using ACH payments, a debit card, or a credit card.

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

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

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 for one of two reasons: there’s been a major change in the quality of your rental or you’ve made major improvements of your own to the rental. This is called a rent abatement.

If I pay my rent late, will I get charged a late fee?

In most cases, yes. Read your lease carefully to understand your landlord's specific guidelines around late fees for rent. In some states, the fee they can charge is capped by law. Other states mandate a grace period of several days before a fee can be charged. If you don’t live in one of these places, you need to rely on what it says in your lease agreement.

Is it safe to pay my rent with a peer-to-peer app like Venmo?

Generally, it’s best to avoid Venmo and other cash-sharing apps like PayPal and Cash App when paying rent. Some apps require you to pay an additional fee for buyer protection in the case of a scam or a lost payment, while others don't offer buyer protection at all.

Next steps:

There's nothing worse than getting slammed with an unnecessary fee because your rent payment didn't show up on time. Figure out the best way to set up automated rent payments online and give yourself one less thing to worry about.

The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice.


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