Getting started‎ > ‎

Late pay, partial pay

Can Landlord refuse late rent?  Can landlord refuse partial payment of rent?  What about amount of late charges?

Late and Partial payments create a lot of confusion because these issues are not explicitly addressed in the Ohio Landlord Tenant Law.  In working with tenants, information providers are faced with having to discover if there are facts which could be used in a defense against an eviction.  IF YES, then refer to legal aid for assistance in defending the eviction.  Often in these cases PROOF is a key factor.  In a 'your word against mine' tenants most often lose the argument.

What do you need to know?

  • Can the tenant prove (witnesses, documents) that she/he tried to pay the full amount of rent on time in July and it was rejected? 
  • Has the landlord brought an eviction action?
  • Does tenant have proof (receipts) for the acceptance of late payments in previous months?

What's a receipt?
A receipt is a document that shows that the landlord (owner, agent) received the rent.  A money order stub is not a receipt because it was not signed by the landord. 

 The Basics
1.  Rent is due on the day it is due on.  Either specified in the lease or established as a part of a verbal rental agreement.  THERE IS NO PAY TO STAY in rental housing law.
2.  There is no statutory "grace period".  Landlord can begin eviction for non payment immediately after the rent is late.
3.  Some rental agreements have a grace period during which rent is payable.  HUD and USDA leases in particular.
4.  Some rental agreements have a late charge provision which MAY create an expectation that late payments will be accepted if offered with the late fee.  There is no statutory limitation on late fees.  Court decisions on late fees are varied based on the circumstances.
5.  If a landlord has accepted late or partial payments in the past, tenant might be able to argue that they was an expectation that late or partial payments would be accepted based on the landlord's "pattern or practice".

What's going on?
  • Rent is late
  • Landlord refused timely offer of rent
  • Tenant left rent payment in a drop box-landlord claims never received.

Action Steps

1.  If landlord has filed eviction and
a.  Tenant has proof of: grace period, late charge, and/or acceptance of late or partial payments AND
b.  Tenant has proof that he/she
  • offered to pay on time and offer was refused or
  • offered to pay on time with the back rent due  or
  • offered to pay with late charge
Then it would be appropriate to refer to an attorney to see if the attorney believes there is a possible defense to the eviction.

2.  If landlord has not filed an eviction, assist tenant to negotiate a payment agreement (in writing) which would specify a plan for getting caught up (and staying current) with rent going forward.

NOTE: Some landlords will accept past due rent from a tenant, then bring an eviction for non payment of current rent.  If making an agreement, be sure that some portion of the payment is going to current month's rent.

Notes & Links