Is Rent at Your Property Really Due on the First of the Month?
Apartment leases typically require rent to be paid on the first day of the month. But what if the prospect signs such a lease, but then regularly pays on some other, later, date? Is the rent actually, legally, due on the first? If the manager seeks to evict for late payment, who prevails?
A basic principle of contract law — it’s called “contract modification by course of performance” — applies to lease contracts. Here it is: “If a landlord routinely, and without objection, permits rent payments to be made other than on the date required by the lease, this acceptance modifies the date-due requirement of the lease.”
Here are a couple of ways to avoid this result:
- Determine before it’s executed if the applicant will be able to pay on the date required by the lease; if not, change the payment date in writing, and have it initialed by the landlord’s agent and the applicant(s).
- Include a provision in the lease document such as this: “No amendment or variation to this lease shall take effect unless it is in writing, signed by authorized representatives of each of the parties.”