The Grace Period: What are the rules when paying rent on a holiday or weekend?

I recently saw an expert from @legalrealestate answer a question from a Tenant.  Though I normally agree with the advice given on this site, and from these experts, this information was patently incorrect. The question was, "...if the rent is due on the 1st of the month and the lease allows for a (3) day grace period, can you pay after the grace period without penalty when the grace period falls on a Saturday, Sunday or Holiday?"

holiday wine and tree
Photo Credit: hey mr glen via Compfight cc

The answer is NO, and this has been backed up by the courts (at least in the counties where GWM manages property). The court's logic is this: The Tenant is given the grace period of 3 days without penalty (and Landlords, don't try to hold the Tenant to late fees if they pay within the first 3 days of the month – you will lose in court - gotta have a grace period), even though most leases say that “Rent is due on or before the 1st of the Month..” The courts almost exclusively force Landlords to have this grace period because often times the 1st of the month falls on a non business day (holiday or weekend). For this reason specifically, if the 1st is on a Saturday or Sunday, Tenants are allowed to pay the following business day without penalty…and of course, the grace period allows this to happen without penalty.

Now for those Tenants trying to get one over on their Landlords, they will try this move: The 1st of the month is on a Thursday, the grace period would extend to the weekend, and for good measure lets say Monday is a holiday (say Labor Day weekend)…the Tenant would literally pay on the  6th of the month! This is obviously a ridiculous interpretation of the law for the benefit of paying almost a week late, and the courts agree…but why?

The Landlord Tenant-Laws recognize that rent should only be collected on a business day and not on a weekend or non holiday.  The court will even allow this rent to be mailed in.  However, what the court won't do is treat the grace period as if it were the same as the 1st of the month (or the day the rent was due without penalty).  The court does not give the “grace period” the same weight and therefore does not accept the argument that the rent should be without penalty if paid outside the 1st of the month and listed grace period.  As a side note, at a minimum the grace period should be through the 3rd day of the month (although technically a Landlord can make the grace period as long as he or she wants).

In this rare of exception, common sense rules the day: rent is due on the first, and because that day can happen to fall on a holiday or weekend, the Landlord gives the Tenant and extra few days to pay.  Landlords, it's up to you how you want to handle this, but we don't like the precedent this sets when tenants start playing these kinds of games with our landlords.  The rules are the rules,  and tenants should expect to pay the penalty when they try to skirt them.  Tenants, please ask your property management company or landlord for clarification if you think you'll have an issue with late penalties and the grace period rule.

One thought on “The Grace Period: What are the rules when paying rent on a holiday or weekend?

  1. Pingback:

Comments are closed.