Do you charge a late fee when tenant makes partial rent payment?

We have a 5 day grace period (NC law) and many times residents wait till the last day to pay. Other times they will pay later than that. We usually wait until the 10th day to charge the maximum amount allowable.

But when they only make a partial payment when rent IS due, do you still charge a “late” fee?


You may want to check what the law states about it because you might not be able to charge a late fee if you accept a partial payment. I don’t accept partial payments, even if the amount paid is only a few dollars less than what is owed. I accepted them in the past but got tired of chasing the tenant for the remaining amount.

I do but in my state my late fee is capped at 8% of rent which only translates to $26 unfortunately. I would think your issue is are you disincentivising them from paying you the partial payment if you are going to hit them with the late fee anyways. The answer is probably yes but I imagine some of your better tenants would still send a partial payment as a show of good faith either way. The ones that are on the fence about running off or staying will surely wait to pay.

Sounds like you can charge a smaller late fee if you wanted to people who show the good faith and pay partially. That might be the best option if your late fee is high enough in your park/state to begin with.

I have checked the NC laws a number of times, but can’t seem to find that specific issue. I would prefer not to accept partial payments, but the landlord takes them. But he expects them the tenant to communicate with us if something comes up, and to pay what they owe in a reasonable time frame. Many times they don’t follow through with their promises. I am no longer the park manager, but am still doing the office work/payments/court papers, etc. We put someone in there who won’t let anyone bully him. And tenants aren’t liking not being able to get away with stuff.

NC’s cap is 5% or $25., whichever is greater. There are a few who have a late fee greater than $25. The landlord said to charge a late fee anyway, but I have heard others say that you can’t do that if they make SOME kind of payment. But I can’t find it in the NC laws. Now I DID read that whatever is in the signed lease, will be adhered to by a judge. I’ve learned a lot just from going to court and listening to tenants complain and losing their cases. We’ve adjusted our leases when learning something we hadn’t known previously. : )

I suggest that you send a note to all tenants that says no partial payments will be accepted. I’d also tell them that there will be no additional time extended to the grace period. You’ll save yourself a lot of headaches.

Well, what we’re doing now is evicting those who aren’t paying up. They got used to doing what they wanted with the previous owners. The landlord feels that getting SOMEthing is better than nothing. We still evict, because they haven’t given us everything they owe. He wants to get as much as he can from them before evicting, because once they’re evicted he never sees another penny from them.

p.s. I WILL ask the landlord, though, to implement that!

Don’t accept partial payments and always charge the late fee. If you want to stop late payments you issue a pay or quit notice the day after rent is due, the 2nd of the month. Make it clear that any tenant that pays late more than twice will be evicted. The message gets across very quickly after only one eviction.
Tenants pay late because their landlord allow it. It is never a tenant problem always a management problem.
My tenants do not pay late.

Appreciate the feedback, thanks. I also passed along the suggestions to the landlord. We cannot charge a late fee until after the 5th. By law, rent is not considered late until AFTER the 5th day past their due date.

Correction: NC’s cap is 5% or $15. (not $25.). Many of our tenants to end up paying $25., though after being 5 days late. But that’s going to stop. Landlord agreed to do what you all are doing and not put up with late/non-payers.

Always, always charge late fees where legally allowed.

@Zepp - Yes, we’re doing that now for sure. Landlord is pleased that more people are following through with paying rents on time, and we’re filing evictions and getting better renters in there as well…

I never accept a partial payment. My tenants pay online and it is programmed for full payments only and late charges are added automatically. Tenants will do what you allow them to do. If you allow partial or late payments … that’s what you will get. I can’t pay my bills with less than what is due… so neither can my tenants. I expect to be paid in full and on time and rules to be followed. They can expect a clean, well managed park to live in.

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