When you’re a landlord, being paid on time every month is the dream. If you’ve spent some time carefully vetting your applicants you will likely end up with renters who do pay you on time. Still, it’s important to understand the law in your state regarding rent payments.

Partial Payment

Your lease agreement should note the address or location where rent is to be paid. Rent is typically due on the first business day of the month, and the entire rental amount is due on that day. Arizona law specifically addresses the issue of partial payments, since accepting even a partial payment of rent in some states allows the tenant to remain in possession of the rental unit. Here is how the law is written in Arizona on the subject of partial payments:

A landlord is not required to accept a partial payment of rent or other charges. A landlord accepting a partial payment of rent or other charges retains the right to proceed against a tenant only if the tenant agrees in a contemporaneous writing to the terms and conditions of the partial payment with regard to continuation of the tenancy. The written agreement shall contain a date on which the balance of the rent is due.

This means several things:

First, if the tenant provides a partial payment of rent the landlord can refuse the payment. Refusal of the payment is akin to not being paid at all, and the obvious next steps of filing for eviction can be employed by the landlord. Second, if the landlord is willing to accept a partial payment then a written agreement outlining the terms and conditions of the partial payment, including when the balance of the rent is due, is of paramount importance. Without this written side agreement about the partial payment the landlord loses his ability to proceed against the tenant with an eviction strategy.

Late Payments

Rent is typically late if not paid in full by the fifth day of the month. A good lease agreement will clearly state the amount of the late fee if the rent is not paid on time. While the late fee amount should approximate the reasonable costs to the landlord of receiving a late rent payment, it also acts as a deterrent to paying late in the first place.