Partial Rent Payments: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Rent payments from tenants are necessary to keep properties functioning at their best and keep landlords earning their fair share of income for their work. However, rent collection can also be one of the biggest points of contention between landlords and tenants. Though the delivery of the previously agreed-upon rent amount each month should be simple, there are many ways in which rent payment and collection can become complicated. One of these ways is through partial rent payments, whether they’ve been agreed upon between landlord and tenant or not.

What Are Partial Payments?

Partial rent payments are exactly what they sound like: incomplete payments of the total rent amount stipulated in a lease agreement. 

Though you may assume that a partial payment means that the renter simply didn’t pay their total rent, partial payments can actually be a great way for renters to pay what they owe in increments, as opposed to a single lump sum each month. 

For example, a renter can ask their landlord for permission to pay a portion of their rent halfway through the month and the rest at the end of the month. As long as the entire cost of rent is paid by the end of the monthly rental period, the payment is not considered late. 

Landlords can accept partial rent payments in a variety of ways — including online rent collection platforms — if they set their preferences accordingly.

Are Partial Payments Ever Acceptable?

There are some obvious reasons why partial rent payments may not be ideal for some landlords. 

You may have organized your own financial schedule around collecting your tenants’ rent. So partial rent payments might adversely affect getting your own rent or mortgage paid or having the necessary funds to regularly maintain your properties. 

However, if your finances allow for them, partial payments can be a great way for some tenants to ensure that they can get the entirety of rent paid by the end of the month, even if it isn’t handed over all at once. 

You may agree to partial payments if a prospective tenant seems optimal in many other ways besides their income schedule or if a tenant you’ve already signed a lease with comes upon hard times financially and can no longer pay rent all at once.

When Should Partial Payments Be Avoided?

Though partial rent payments can be an excellent way to make things easier on your tenant without too much compromise on your part, it isn’t for everyone.

You should avoid partial payments if the tenant asking for them tends to be uncommunicative or has been late on rent payments many times in the past or if your are pursuing an eviction. Accepting a partial payment could ruin an eviction proceeding, even if the payment made is small.

If you want to support your tenant with a rent payment system that works better for them without allowing partial rent payments, there are a few ways you can do so. Accept rent payments with a credit card, move the due date according to their paydays, or offer a “cash for keys” agreement if they simply can’t afford rent anymore.

Ways to Prevent Partial Payments Entirely

Do you want to avoid partial rent payments and make it clear to your tenants that you only accept rent in a single sum? The best way to do this is to be communicative and specific about what types of payment platforms you will or will not accept.

Just Say No to Peer-to-Peer Payment Methods

Peer-to-peer online payment platforms like Venmo, Zelle, and Paypal make it difficult to customize what types of payments you can receive. Therefore, if you accept rent through a platform like this, you won’t be able to prevent partial payments and may get stuck in an abnormal rent collection situation that you were trying to avoid. 

That’s why landlords shouldn’t use platforms like these for rent payments.

Use a Secure Rent Payment Platform

The best way to avoid sticky payment situations from your tenants entirely is to only accept rent through a secure online payment platform like PayRent. Platforms like this are specially designed to meet the needs of landlords while providing a convenient and user-friendly experience for tenants. 

In addition, you can arrange your rent collection settings so that partial payments will be automatically blocked.

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PayRent is on a mission to build a rent collection app that fosters a positive and productive relationship between renters and landlords. We focus less on transactions and more on the people behind them.

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