50 Tenant Excuses: I can’t pay my rent because..

50 Tenant Excuses: I can’t pay my rent because..

Every month, we hear amazing reasons why our tenants think we should accept them not paying rent. I’ve considered posting the top 10 excuses and telling tenants not to voice theirs unless they can top those. My problem became… limiting the list to only 10. Which would you choose?

  1. I had a flat tire so I can’t pay my rent / can’t get to your office.
  2. The government hasn’t mailed my check yet and I don’t know when I’ll get it.
  3. I just got out of jail so I didn’t work last week.
  4. I lost my job.
  5. My daughter had a baby.
  6. My power bill is too high – can you lower my rent?
  7. We just bought a new car.
  8. They messed up my check at work.
  9. The banks are closed by the time I get off work so I can’t get your cash.
  10. How much do you need today?
  11. My (insert yet another family member) died and I have to go out of state to the funeral so I won’t have time to come by.
  12. The check shouldn’t have bounced. The money was in my account when I gave it to you.
  13. I’m not even really that late.
  14. My (fill in the family member) took the money out of my purse.
  15. I had to use the money to fill up my gas tank or I couldn’t get to work.
  16. I came by last night but you were closed.
  17. I mailed it.
  18. The church was going to give me the money to catch up but they haven’t given it to me yet.
  19. If I pay you, I can’t pay my other bills.
  20. My sister’s husband beat her up so I had to give her the money.
  21. I will catch up when I get my tax refund (big excuse November through April)
  22. It was my (fill in the family member’s name) birthday and I gave them a party.
  23. I don’t like to drive in the rain.
  24. I didn’t know it was due again already.
  25. How many more days ’til it’s really late?
  26. I had to use that money for my medicines.
  27. My kids just started back to school. (big in the fall)
  28. I have to buy Christmas presents. (December)
  29. I spent too much on Christmas. (January)
  30. The 1st was on Sunday.
  31. I can’t drive in the snow.
  32. I don’t get off work in time.
  33. I took my daughter to the mall.
  34. My unemployment hasn’t started yet.
  35. If I pay you, I won’t have anything left until payday.
  36. I was sick.
  37. You made us replace the window we broke so I don’t have any money left.
  38. We took our kids to the beach for vacation.
  39. My son lost his job so I had to pay his rent.
  40. I was in a coma. (yes, someone actually said this to us)
  41. My ex hasn’t sent my child support.
  42. I don’t know when I’ll have time to bring it by.
  43. This is all I have. I’ll bring more next week..
  44. I gave the money order to my friend and they told me they brought it by.
  45. I don’t have time to go by an ATM.
  46. You can’t evict me for 30 days anyway.
  47. The bank messed up my account and now I have to wait until they put the money back in.
  48. I mailed your money but I must have mailed it to the wrong place.
  49. We’ll be able to pay 2 month’s rent next month.
  50. We’re going to move. Can we have until the 20th to get out?

What can you add to the list?

This post has 128 Comments | Would you like to leave a comment?


  1. I have been in the rental Business for 20 years . Look at the long hall it will pay off in the end.yes you have to put up with headaches but keep a good attitude And that will go a long way.l have heard 35 of the 50 excuses but I kept on trucking and that I’m at the end of my landlord Journey I have been owner Financing Properties at a good Interest Rate and that’s my retirement.so I would like to encourage anyone who would like to get in the rental business to go for it it’s a wild journey but it’s will pay off.one peace of advance don listen to all the excuses because the wii take all they can out you and then you will have to evict them any anyway. Go for it. God Bless.

  2. My mom and girlfriend took all your stuff can I get my deposit back.

  3. 50 landlord excuses: I charge so much for rent because…
    1. That Lamborghini is very expensive.
    2. I am heartless and I really don’t care if you work full time and can’t afford it.
    3. There is no law telling me that I can’t.
    4. I enjoy sitting back and relaxing while my slaves go to work and give me 50% of their income.

  4. Thanks, Kay.

    By the way, if you have a bad tenant who is on a month-to-month lease, evict!

  5. Add in: i could not reach you so you are a absentee landlord so i fixed things and you owe me money. I hired someone to do what i was to do and i paid them so you owe me.I have bought a new refrigerator and stove that did not work with your money. You were in jail so i placed money into an escrow account- even though they did not go to court to do so and has not shown that there is one. Anyone can access court records to see you were in jail which is why i have not paid- extortion. This from a month to month tenant who got mad that i would not sell her my mothers home. NOW she is over using the well during drought in order to cause damage and have an excuse not to pay- yet is still staying there stating there is no water.

  6. Ha! Surely my tenants can’t use those 50 excuses before getting kicked out! XD

  7. Cathie:
    Don’t let a few bad tenants keep you from investing in real estate and creating long term wealth for yourself and your family.

    95 percent of tenants are good. I think EVERYONE should own rental properties!

  8. Davids’ comments are what scares me to invest in rental properties. That is my biggest fear that I’ll get scumbag renters that play the system. Ugh

  9. We had so many issues with Section 8 ripping us off that we will never do that again.

    Thanks for sharing.

  10. I’ll give you a good one.
    Section 8 housing, once told me that I lost that month rent because tenant was in the hospital and no one opened the door for the annual inspection. Rent would not be recoverable. (yes this really happened to me)

  11. Agreed, Joe.
    I have let tenants go 3 or 4 months without paying because they were facing hardships only to be lied to by those same tenants and betrayed again. Many many landlords have the exact same story – the ones they help always end up burning the landlord in the end.

    People who ask for help often know how to get over on people. Those who understand ethics hold up their end of the bargain, as a general rule.

    North Carolina has very landlord friendly laws if you’re thinking about a change…

  12. Been a landlord for more than fifty years. Have heard many, many excuses. I know all to well that people go through hardships from time to time. I have even helped them apply to charity organization. There were cases where I let the rent go for a month. I have even helped pay their utilities. Not in some cases but all cases I was paid back with disrespect along with continuing abuse to me, the landlord.

    That has taught me to read people with-in minutes of them applying for a rental. I’ve had my share of tough times but have never expected my grocer-er to give me free food or expect a tenant to help out with more rent money or my mortgage holder to let me off the hook. I expect two things from tenants 1. honor the rental agreement. 2. take care of my property. If I break the agreement, I face stiff justice from the court. The system is far more lenient to tenants. They have no heart for the landlord or his pile of bills.

    I’ve had tenants that damaged the rental unit making if unlivable. Than going to city code enforcement department with a complaint that I was not maintaining it. They say it was this way when they moved in etc. All the pictures are ignored by the city department and I face the fines, NOT THE TENANTS! Not an easy business to be in.


  13. Right, but there is an assumption that there is an excuse. There was one about a coma and funeral. You assume those are ‘excuses’ and not ‘expectations’.

    You seem to take a no exceptions rule, you claimed previously:

    What I say is, “I’m so sorry” (because I am). “When will you be paying rent? I start everyone’s eviction 5 days after they miss their payment and I cannot discriminate by forgiving you. I must file your eviction because the law says that I must treat everyone the same. I will stop the process anytime I have your payment in full.

    This is legally untrue, you are under no obligation to file an eviction because of ‘discrimination’ (unless your locality has some pretty crazy laws, but I am guessing not stricter than here in NYC).

    A rental agreement is a contract, and you absolutely have the right to act in that manner. However it is also a contract for someone’s home and a little humanity in dealing with people who are not chronic problems should be taken into account – but there tends to be a theme among owner commentators here that roll their eyes at such a concept.

    And hey, maybe it works out fine wherever you are, but in Jursidictions that are favorable to tenants rights that cant backfire spectacularly if you get a legally savvy and adequately petty tenant, as my old landlord learned. Something to keep in mind if you ever invest in properties in other locations. (Not that we don’t have plenty of Jared Kushneresque slumlords in the city here despite the more favorable tenant outcome).

  14. Hi David R:
    Perhaps you need to re-read this post. The excuses were from tenants, not landlords, and the point over and over has been to work with good tenants but not to enable those who are taking advantage.

    As an attorney, I’m sure you understand contract law. A contract is an agreement between two or more parties who each agree to perform as indicated in the contract. As landlords, we agree to provide properties for our tenants to live in. The tenant agrees to pay us, usually on the first of each month that they live in said property, for the right to live there. When they, for whatever reason, fail to abide by the contract and do not pay – no matter the reason – they have violated the contract and are, therefore, in breach. At that time, the landlord can make an allowance or choose to evict per the terms spelled out and agreed to by both parties.

    The problem for many landlords is that many tenants do not see their tenant side of the contractual obligation to be as binding as they expect the requirements for the landlord to be. If I, for whatever reason, decided that the tenant could no longer live in my property and simply removed their belongings and changed the locks, that would be unacceptable to the tenant and to the courts. If, however, the tenant stops paying, they often get upset when the landlord goes to court to enforce their contractual obligation to do so.

    No one here is trying to take advantage, get one over, or be unreasonable. I certainly hope you were entirely above board with your landlord, as well.

    Thanks for contributing to the conversation.

  15. Lol, a site of landlords mocking the hardship of their tenants, no wonder yall are so sympathetic. (some of these excuses are lame, but if someone’s kid is verifiably in a coma and you don’t cut them slack you are basically a slumlord).

    I had a landlord pull this stuff on me when I was in the hospital for 10 days and he tried to start eviction on me. Unfortunately for him I am both Petty and an attorney and ended up squatting for 6 months and gaming the system to win so I ended up paying nothing. Trying to be hard nose cost him almost 20 grand. Worked out great!

  16. Thanks for you comment, Dana.

    I have not found what landlords charge to be ridiculous, though I’m sure some must be. Typically what we charge is what we have to pay every month for our mortgage, interest, taxes, and insurance on the property we own, plus a small amount above that to save toward the repairs it will need over time. Usually landlords lose money on rental properties for the first 15 years of ownership because what you pay in rent does not cover all of our expenses. Some things are less expensive like a new water heater, but having to replace a roof or heating and air system can easily eat up 2-3 year’s worth of profits that we have been saving.

    You know owning a house is very expensive which is why you probably don’t own one at this time. Please recognize that most landlords are providing you with a property worth tens of thousands of dollars and are only charging you a very small amount every month to live there. We trust you with one of the largest investments we will ever make and hope that you will honor our property and care for it as you live there. It is definitely a two way street where we both work together to make sure each of us is taken care of.

    I appreciate you adding to the conversation.

  17. And these so called,”excuses” may be true.. What people charge for rent is ridiculous. Landlords are quick to want the rent but surely do not want to make repairs or maintain the house.

  18. Ok, here’s a text I got last year…” and I got married on the 25th and we were away on our honeymoon. We get in late tonight (now the 12th of the month- I live in CT). I will drop off the rent tomorrow.” Followed with a wedding photo!!!

  19. I’m happy to pick up the money!!!

    Hilarious. Thank you for contributing to the stream.

  20. “My paycheck was shorted.” I don’t even know how many times I’ve heard that….

    Thanks, Paula!

  21. Here’s a new one for today:

    I lost my driver’s license, so if you want to come pick up the money, I can pay the rent. Otherwise, I don’t know what to tell ya.

  22. My identity was stolen and the bank has frozen my bank account. My paycheck is still being deposited, but I can’t get the money.

    OR – one of my favs:

    My paycheck was shorted. (wow – there are a LOT of companies nowadays that don’t seem to be managing their payroll very well).

  23. Darn summer vacations….

    Thanks, Kathy, for sharing!

  24. Here’s one I got today: “I found out today that my boss is away on holidays and we will be delayed in receiving our paycheques.”

  25. My uncle in Lebanon died so I need to go to Michigan.

  26. Bummer for you, maybe? They do have it now. Takes at least a week, from what I hear, so hold on!

    Thanks for sharing!

  27. Here is one excuse I just received to add to your excuses list:
    “I sent it last week via QuickBooks bill pay”

  28. You’re absolutely right, Paula, landlords should keep their property up to maintain its value as well as to keep a good tenant. I’m sorry your landlord is not responsive.

    You haven’t seen poor landlords discussed in this blog post because that is not what this topic is about. This is about bad tenants who do not pay. You sound like an excellent tenant and I hope you are able to love and enjoy anywhere you call home.

    Thank you for adding your comment.

  29. All I have seen here are all the excuses that tenants use to get out of paying rent. In the almost 3 years that I have lived in this house, my landlord has never once done any type of maintenance. When my husband and I moved in she said that the house had been cleaned. I could tell just by looking around that it had not. She painted the living area and a bedroom, however, the kitchen, hallway, and bathroom walls were dirty. At that point it was a little too late. I had already paid my deposit. I ended up cleaning myself. After 3 years the outside needs a little maintenance. The wood deck is starting to rot. She could careless. You would think that a landlord would do all that they could to keep a good tenant. I dare here to find someone who always pays on time and no damage to the house. he just wants her $1050 a month. And I can almost bet she will do everything she can to keep my deposit on top of my 250 pet deposit.

  30. This is some of the reason we no longer do Section 8. Unfortunate loss for the tenants who are respectful and pay on time. No, I don’t think most of these tenants think about the difficulty they put on their landlord.

    Thank you, Lana, for sharing.

  31. Some of my faves over the years:
    1. I mailed you the money order and it was cashed (no money order received, no trace # given when asked for proof)
    2. My boss changed my pay schedule I get paid every two weeks now instead of weekly. ( What does your pay schedule have to do with paying rent?)
    3. I have a weekly meeting at work till 8p.m. I will send you money order next week.
    4. My brother stole my benefits card.
    5. I finally got my benefits card, but I’m going away for some 3 months. ( Yeap in those exact words)
    6. Social services said they will be paying you directly starting October.(No proof given to landlord, and what month is it now it’s December.
    7. I’m at my mothers house with the kids, I can’t go to the bank right now.
    8. My husband said he gave you $100.00, you can’t evict me for owing you over $2,000 in rent.
    9. My child support was stopped because I’m engaged to someone else, I will pay when I get it back.
    10. My boss hasn’t paid me on time, I won’t have the money for you until next month.
    11. Even though I haven’t paid, I have been communicating with you. ( So you shouldn’t have to pay rent? Huh)

    Lots of tenants are Section 8 tenants. The government pays a portion and if the tenant has income the tenant pays a portion as well. These are some of the excuses I’ve heard from some of my Section 8 and DSS tenants. I evicted most, just have one left to go. Tenant hasn’t paid rent in months yet sits on Facebook posting all the gifts she’s buying for Christmas for her 4-5 kids. Meanwhile I’m over here struggling to pay the water and tax bill on the property. Don’t tenants understand that all the different stories make them look bad as well as make them a liar?

  32. Latest, I lost the money order. I asked to for the receipt of the money order, no go there either.

  33. Hi Aidan:

    Thank you for taking so much time to write!

    I agree. A credit score of 725 is amazing. I’m sure many of our tenants don’t even have a 600 credit score.
    But we do check for some of the very reasons you mentioned. You can tell a lot by a person’s payment history. Consistently missing payments over time and over many creditors means it’s more likely they will also be poor payers of rent.

    What we go by more than credit history is the criminal report. Criminal history is far more important than credit history.

    Thank you for adding to the conversation.

  34. As someone with over a decade of perfect rental history, never late, never evicted, and the references from past landlords to prove it, it scares me that someone wouldn’t rent to someone with a credit score below 725. If I had credit that great, I would purchase my own property. I’m actually curious how the housing market can sustain itself if people who make enough money could simply buy instead.

    I would much prefer to have the landlord check my credit report to my score. I have many unpaid medical bills that kept my score low, and now that most of those are old enough to have fallen away, what remains is very little credit because I was never able to open any loans. But there are no breaks in my rental history and I have excellent references.

    It’s now a moot point, because I rent from my parents, but it has been a cause for great anxiety the last couple of times I moved, both times because my employer was giving me a promotion and a raise. I think a credit score is a good indication that someone will be a good tenant, but I also think it’s ridiculous to assume that a poor credit score means the opposite. There are plenty of people with medical bills in an identical situation. As my parents are landlords, I do sympathize with potential issues, but good references are every bit as telling as good credit, in my opinion.

  35. Yup. You must have a strong contract and enforce it from day one. The best way to help tenants is to make them stay within the legal requirements of the contract, as they do you.

  36. We have seven rentals and it’s gotten to the point that collecting rent on time is a rare, rare treat.

    What it comes down to is that it kills tenants to part with that money voluntarily, since nothing is going to be shut off. They will pay their cell phone, cable and internet before us. And like you said Karen, being kind and understanding doesn’t do or mean anything. They just continue to take advantage even more. But, but when something breaks or needs fixed, they blow up my husband’s phone like the world is ending. We are totally sick of it.

  37. I totally understand, Hank. I have had the exact same excuse and have heard it from other landlords no less than 4 times.

    What I say is, “I’m so sorry” (because I am). “When will you be paying rent? I start everyone’s eviction 5 days after they miss their payment and I cannot discriminate by forgiving you. I must file your eviction because the law says that I must treat everyone the same. I will stop the process anytime I have your payment in full.”

    I hope this helps. Keep me posted.

  38. How do you respond to tenant that gives these excuses. specifically. A 30 something tenant of property I just acquired, “My sister died and I had to pay for her funeral.” I don’t know whether it is a scam or not, but would like to respond with compassion, but without sounding cold or unfeeling. I want to convey sorry to hear, but this is a business, pay up it is not my responsibility to float a loan for your sisters funeral.

  39. Wow, Joseph, thanks for the heads-up. What a nightmare!

    This happened to us once, sort of. We rented to 2 men. In no time, over 30 men were living in the 2 bedroom house working and sleeping in 3 shifts around the clock. Eviction began immediately. You’re absolutely right, you must keep an eye on your rentals.

  40. Rented to an elderly man, his daughter and two grandchildren at a much reduced price. They never moved in but 15 of their relatives did. They began a puppy mill and a pit bull chewed nearly all the doorways. They destroyed the garage door and several other things in the home. My cation to landlords is this: Pay visits to tenants, do inspections. The court teller told me that this is happening more often because landlords are doing more background checks. Tenants that don’t qualify find a relative with god credit to rent for them. I may get the damages that I won’t be able to collect on. But they should be charged with fraud.

  41. Hi Lynn:

    There are online sources for posting non-paying and evicted tenants. If enough landlords would do this and check these sites before accepting tenants, people like the ones you’re dealing with would not get new properties. You may not be able to impact their next home, but all the ones after that will have fair warning.

    Here are some sites on how to report an eviction. Good luck and thanks for asking. All landlords should do this after evicting.

  42. Hi Karen,
    We are in the process of evicting tenants now. they have not paid rent in 5 months. they told us so many lies.
    They told us the kids were taken by birth parent and had to pay attorney fees and cold not pay rent on time.
    Had to go out of state to pick them up. would be late,
    Taxed check on the way and we will catch up.
    We found out it was all lies!!

    So much for showing compassion!

    Is it against the law to add a notice on the internet with there names listed as non paying tenants in order to warn other who may rent to them in California.

    I understand that evictions do not become public for 60 days which gives them plenty of time to rent from someone else during that time and put them through the same lies that have put us through.

    Thank you!

  43. Hi Leena:
    You don’t need conversation. This is a business. You signed a contract. You provided the property – she has not held up her end of the agreement by paying rent.

    File the eviction and go to court. You will be awarded possession because you are due payment and she is not going to pay you anything. She will probably move on and do this to someone else.

    The only one you can be frustrated with is yourself for not following through with the legal steps available to you. Do it now and move on mentally and emotionally.

    Thanks for writing.

  44. I have many horror stories and excuses from my tenants. First started with I will be late and because apparently I invested my money …next month she stold me she moved to a new company and since its new they have yet to pay her, then after a month she told me she is waiting for her tax return and this excuse lasted 2 months, after that when she was out of excuses she simply ignores my emails, calls and messages. I go several times but no answer. I gave her many chances and I am very nice to all my tenants. She plays games with me. When she used to give post dated checks she never told me she did not have funds, and I would be notified after 15 days and then its pointless giving her a NOE because its almost end of the month and I gave her the benefit of the doubt. Now she acts defensive telling me I am rude. All I ask her is move out if she cant pay rent because when she was past due for an NOE she sent me an email agreeing that she would move out if from here on she does not pay before the 5 of the month. She paid for 1 month and now it is mid april and she replies me ” go to court and file eviction I will speak to the judge because court does not listen to he said, she said and does not deal with sarcasm and rudeness”. Like helooooo I am frustrated trying to get you to reply to me.

  45. Wow! You should have given him something just for creativity. At least lack of carbs wasn’t affecting that.

    Thanks for sharing, Patricia. You may have the #1 excuse so far.

  46. I have plenty of horror stories about tenants from hell, but my most recent tenant fed me a line I had never heard before, so I wanted to share it. He was renting a small house with a small yard, and part of his lease agreement was to maintain the lawn. I don’t think he ever properly did so, but the last excuse I got from him before he moved out was that he feared for his life. Yeah. The story was that his hours got cut back at work and as a result, he could only afford the cheapest food that wasn’t very rich in nutrients. Therefore, he couldn’t consume enough nutrients to produce enough energy to mow the (1/4 acre perfectly flat) lawn, and if he tried to do it anyway, he’d be putting his life at risk. Not mowing the lawn because you aren’t getting enough carbs in your diet was a new one for me!

  47. Rent excuses are extremely common. In fact, it’s incredible how many different and unique excuses a single tenant can come up with.

  48. Hi Joe:
    I hate that you don’t have any money. But, you can’t promise to pay rent to a landlord, and then not pay. The landlord still has to pay the mortgage, taxes, insurance and upkeep on the property.

    It has to be a mutual contract. They give you a good house to live in for a minimum monthly payment. It’s an “agreement” and both sides have an obligation to the other.

    Thanks for commenting.

  49. You have more money than us we don’t have any money.

  50. Oh, my gosh! I have actually heard that as well! At one time, we charged $5 per day late fee to encourage faster payment and help stop this type of conversation.

    Thanks for your input!

  51. Another Lame Excuse: You told me you were going to charge me a late fee so now I won’t be paying the rent and late fee until Friday next week. I don’t want to go to the bank two times to put this money in.

  52. Thanks for jumping in to share, Eddie!

  53. #21, the tax check, is the big BS story. #43,#46, & #47 are close in the race as well. I’ve had quite a few tenants in my day and the non-pay stories are usually redundant. I’ve heard the above excuses from more than one deadbeat. Another big one is, “Oh, my boss hasn’t payed me yet.” I’ve had one guy who worked for Macy’s actually tell me this. Real estate is a risky business, especially in New York. My advise is this: if you’re renting out an apartment in your primary residence, don’t rely on it to help pay your mortgage. This just may sink you. Make sure you can afford the mortgage on your own without a tenant’s help. Also, never tell a dead-beat tenant that you “need” his rent to pay the mortgage or any other expenses; trust me, they don’t give a shit!!!! If you’re renting out an illegal basement apartment and want to get rid of them, turn yourself in to the building dept ASAP. This works like a charm because no leases or housing laws apply in these cases. The myth that you have to give back all their rent that they payed is a ghetto, unwritten rule and is total non-sense. This is a scare tactic used by many bad tenants that usually pressures the landlord into a cash settlement. Don’t fall for it!!!! You’ll take a lessened fined from the building dept if you’re honest and there’s so many illegal apartments that they may not even get around to shut you down. Good Luck, fellow Landlords. It’s not like it used to be. P.S. Never give leases. That is a landlord’s kryptonite.

  54. It’s a great feeling to help those who are making an effort to help themselves. Thanks.

  55. Unfortunately, we have had the same experience. Every tenant we have gone the extra mile for has taken advantage. I’m not sure why that is but it is heart breaking and makes it harder for me to help the next one. I don’t like feeling that way, but we tend to make future decisions based on past experience. Thanks for writing.

  56. I’d like to add that after the background checks that I do you’d really have to mess things up to get in a position where you couldn’t afford to pay the rent and a really good tenant who has had a couple of years of proven reliability with me I’d be willing to help. However, I believe in tough love. I want only to help people who are willing to pick themselves up as I have done and I’m not going to just give money away for free. That’s now how America became great.

  57. I’ve been a landlord for about ten years now beginning with a first condominium my wife and I purchased. We now have two condominiums and a house as rental properties. For the first five years we had trouble with tenants and every time it happened I could trace the problem back to my giving someone down on their luck with not so good credit a break. The last tenant who gave me trouble moved in and after two months simply refused to pay rent because his company wasn’t paying him enough! That’s when I had an epiphany and had him served with a three day “pay rent or quit notice.” He moved out within three days. Since then I check all my tenants and will not rent to anyone with a credit score less than 725, few bills and an income that ensures they can afford it; even if it means leaving the unit vacant for months. It’s just not worth it; you have to deal with an up and coming socialist with an attitude that you, the government and everyone owes them. I’ve discovered that the credit score is the best indicator, not to exclude other items that should never be overlooked, of whether someone will be a good tenant. Also, if I ever need to I will perform an unlawful detainer (eviction) on anyone who does not pay me rent within the three days of a pay rent or quit notice even if it costs me large sums of money and months of unpaid rent; it’s the principle of the matter. I price my rentals at 80% of market and keep them pristine. When a tenant moves out I clean, repair and paint them. I believe I am very fair with the tenants I rent to and I will be after them to be fair with me in return. For the past five years we’ve had very little problems (knock on wood).

  58. It’s sad when people have financial problems but at the same time it’s not the landlords responsibility. There are many legitimate places one can go for help. We are not social services or a church handing out food or doctors or lawyers or close friends to lend an auto etc. Just like any business, we have to make a profit to survive. I have learned through the years that “NO GOOD DEED GOES UNPUNISHED” I have gone as far as overhauling a tenants car, at my own expense, so she could get to work. A few months later she tripped and fell in the driveway and I was forced to pay for her torn clothes or go to court. Thank god it wasn’t worse.

    Joe S.

  59. she doesn’t need a free ride, she just needs space to make up for the wrongs she did not commit.

    She has two checks coming in the mail, but its late! So its not a matter of no money, its a problem with the time it takes to get the money she is owed.

    Cops will be arresting my father soon for financial abuse. How can a person gain resolve when landlords can’t see when a person is truly abused financially?

    If they kick her out for this, they get nothing! She can afford to pay out all months, but they will need to show some mercy i.e TIME for resolve.

  60. Hi Joshua:
    I’m so sorry you and your mom are going through this.

    Yes, some people can be cold, but I believe most landlords do what they can to be understanding and helpful. The comments and “jokes” in this post are about people who take advantage by moving from place to place without paying or taking care of their landlord’s property. A lot of tenants do not respect the house because they do not own it. We, the landlords, depend upon tenants taking care of our properties and paying on time.

    I think there is a misconception that most landlords are rich. In fact, most are not. Most work very hard to pay their own rent/mortgage as well as the one for their tenant. When the tenant doesn’t or can’t pay, it is really painful for the landlord. My point here has been that we do what we can to provide a wonderful property, we count on the tenant to do what they’ve agreed to by contract which is to take care of the place and pay on time.

    We do work very hard with good tenants who fall on hard circumstances and we have done so many times over the years. Most of the landlords I know are the same way. It would be great to provide rents for those in need, but we can’t afford to. Thankfully, Section 8 is available from the government for that.

    Thank you for your perspective and for adding to the conversation. I hope your mother’s landlord is able to work with her. I wish only the best for both you and your mother. She has had more than her share of heartache and I really pray you’re both back on your feet and prospering mightily in 2016 and beyond.

  61. Wanted to add my father abandoned the lease here and left my mother alone with the rent! As her son I have exhausted everything $ I own. Now its up to the landlords to give her room to catch up.

    Lost my collage funds to help my mothers health. Others on here seem to have no compassion for those who truly fell on hard times.

  62. Some do run into hardships. I find it insulating how cold people can be.

    My mother is just starting to gain back her money and health. She actually fell on hard times and now getting back up.

    Husband stole 33,000 from her inheritance

    Husband stole he money from the bank she needed for healthcare.

    She ended up in the hospital ( Lost her job ). This all happened over 5 weeks.

    Recently got a new job and will be getting the money for past rent in the coming weeks ( she will get a check on the 8th, but she needs healthcare or she will end up in the hospital. People need to see the difference between fake and true problems.

    Kicking her to the streets would do nothing for the landlords other than cost them money. She can afford to pay in the coming weeks, but if they refuse to work with her they will get nothing in the end.

  63. I’ve heard them all, plus, at least another 50. My car broke down is probably #1

    Most landlords I know are looking for high profits. Increased property value and quick turnover.
    I am not a high profit seeking landlord. My strategy is to keep rent toward the lower end looking for long term quality tenants.10+ year tenants is common. My longest was 21 years This is my business and has netted me millions over the years.


  64. Ok, the last one is way too amazing.

    For the baby’s sake, I hope you got to keep him/her.

    Thanks for sharing!!!

  65. Can you just take it out of my deposit for this month?
    Didn’t my sister pay you? I already paid her my half!
    I heard you knocking and ringing the doorbell, by the time I got to the door you were driving off.
    You know we always pay a little late so what are you worried about, by the way your house has bugs! (I call this one the counter punch!)
    If you want your rent you can come and pick it up! We’ll charge you if we have to take it to you. (new tenants learned quick, I don’t play that game!)
    One tenant I gave a dozen self addressed stamped envelopes and somehow she lost them all.
    Are you hungry is that why your here? (No, but we do have an agreement and you rent is past due!)
    After knocking on a delinquent tenants door it opened and without a word he handed me his new born baby and quickly shut the door!

  66. Thnx karen for ur reply..i will let u know the result. Im just wondering having all her messages n that in black and white nd hopefully the court will see it too the fact that she is full of lies n that what will the judge decide.

  67. Hi Shaheb:
    I’m so sorry you’re having this problem.

    You mention that it’s Section 8. If that’s the case, simply call the Section 8 office. They will take the voucher away from your tenant if she’s not following the necessary requirements Section 8 requires. Also, the Section 8 office should handle making sure you’re getting your payments on time. You can request that this tenant be moved out by them.

    If it is not Section 8, then you must go through the court process. Another option is to pay her to move. I know you don’t want to give her money when she already owes you so much, but it might be better to give her $500 or more to get her out so you can repair the property and get a new tenant in there with out delay or court costs.

    Please let me know how this turns out and thank you for asking.

  68. I took my tenant to court for non payment of rent under section8. Shes not paid me for last six month.every month when the rent wasnt there i messaged her n she wud have an excuse and lies and its in black and white as its all in messages. Shes now using defending tactic. Her excuse is that the window needs replacing and so on. But that is not the case. When she missed paying rent she always had excuses and always said it wud be in my account in the nxt couple of days. And i still have those messages. But in court shes telling a different story. Now im gna print these messages and farward them to the court. As she is defending the judge has ajourned the case for further six week…Im not sure where all it will end. Any advice or suggestion would be apprecciated

  69. Thanks, Jean, for sharing your story. Most landlords can tell a very similar story, unfortunately.

    Best to you!

  70. i had a tenant promised me she will pay me her late rent when she get her tax back i said ok she did get her taxes back and first thing she did she went and bought her self a bigger suv because six cylinder was not powerfull enough for her baby daddy when i asked her for the rent she said the government did sent her enough money for the car and rent i think she is living very large in her new suv

  71. Thank you for your comment.

    That was so well said, and sums it up for most landlords. We are not wealthy, we put a lot of time, effort and money into these properties and provide housing for other with the hope that it will eventually help out our retirement.

  72. My first rental with my husband was a Sectional 8. She new how to play the system like a pro.When we to do some maintenance on the property we realized she had damaged the house to a point where we were going to lose money. She also rented out rooms in the house to other people and yet could never pay on time, so we decided to sell. When we notified her, she admitted herself to the hospital. In our state you could not evict a person who had medical issues. Well it took us many months, but we got her out. Lesson learned. Now my screening process is long tedious and it has worked. We are landlord again the one thing I have learned and mastered is the pre-screen. 5 Years into land lording with multiple tenants and not a single excuse. We have a relationship. I treat them very well and they so far have done the same. I would work with someone who was a good tenant for many years and then needed a break, but someone with constant excuses is going to have to leave. I agree with how people think about landlords. People often tell me how easy it must be to sit back and collect rent. I have to laugh. I work so hard on my properties and sacrifice for them. I have a broken water heater in my own home. I sometimes freeze when I shower because my properties needed water heaters this year and they came first. I have to save up to buy my own. I have to keep money available in case my tenants need something. People think we are wealthy and the truth is this is a second job for us. We do this because we hope that hard work will pay off in the future and bring us a better retirement.

  73. Hi Chris:
    Naturally, each circumstance is different for both the tenant and the landlord, so each one is evaluated individually.

    My point here is that many tenants take advantage of landlords. It is not always the case that the landlord is mean. The tenant signs a contract promising to pay on time, but many tenants simply ignore the fact that they have an obligation to pay as they agreed to.

    Most landlords are not wealthy. They have worked very hard to be able to purchase the property that the tenant is living in. The landlords still has to make monthly payments on that property to cover the mortgage, insurance, taxes, and maintenance and many also pay some or all of the utilities. When the tenant doesn’t pay their rent as promised, oftentimes the landlord cannot afford to pay the bills that are due on that property. The mortgage company doesn’t care that the tenant didn’t pay – the insurance company doesn’t care that the tenant didn’t pay – the government wants their taxes and doesn’t care that the tenant didn’t pay. The landlord must pay their own bills whether you pay yours or not.

    It is not that landlords want to “throw you out on your ass”; landlords much prefer that you pay and stay. It’s just that they need a tenant who will pay their bills as promised so the landlord can pay their own bills. It doesn’t matter whether the tenant is lazy or lost their job or had a flat tire, or whatever, the landlord must treat the rental property as a business and be able to pay their own bills or the landlord stands a very good chance of losing the property to foreclosure and then both the tenant and the landlord lose.

    I certainly hope your circumstances improve so that you no longer have to worry about late payments or being evicted. I’m sure your landlord hopes the same thing.

    Thank you, Chris, for taking the time to leave a comment and thank you so much for your service to your country and to all of us.

  74. How about a military veteran with years of active duty service? Would you as a landlord/lady be lenient and allow 1-2, maybe in dire circumstances 3 late rent payments per year (In two years as of April, this is my third late payment) if one were say, on the G.I. bill (meaning I get paid when I’m attending class) and working as a reservist? Because when school is let out between the semesters for 3 or so weeks I only have enough income coming in to eat(yeah, sorry, can’t get food stamps because, ha ha, I make too much money!)? That is the situation in my case. Or would I be just another lazy, excuse hounding mooch who deserves to be thrown out on his ass? When I do pay my rent, I pay well in advance, but when I can’t, it can take about a month to recoup and get steady income for the next 4 months. I don’t know if I’m just lucky because my rental manager is a very military friendly lady who tries very hard to help me maintain my place, but I don’t know the property owner from Adam or Eve, so I’m in constant worry. Do I expect favoritism just because I sacrificed for my country? Not really. Just some understanding, mercy, and a chance to do what’s right.

  75. Thank you, LP, for taking the time to leave a comment.

    Yes, it can certainly be difficult – time consuming and costly – to deal with anyone who feels they don’t need to pay. And, in response to those who would object, we don’t mean those who are great tenants and pay on time but simply run into an unexpected difficulty. Yes, of course we’re patient where we can be. But so many don’t understand that we’re, also, trying to pay our monthly bills and when they don’t pay rent, we can’t pay our bills.

    I hope things are going well for you with your rentals. It’s a wonderful position to be in where you can help others with housing and work toward securing your financial retirement. Don’t give up!

  76. Why is it that so many tenants expect a free lunch from landlords. We are not the government with the ability to help those with a “hard knock life”. My husband and I put ourselves through college by flipping houses. We raised capital by saving money from our hourly little jobs at a young age and doing the work on the flips ourselves. The society we live in now has lost focus on the idea of “saving” and hard work. If times are hard for you go live with a relative, get government assistance, don’t expect me to pay for you. If the roles were reversed these tenants would be livid! I’ve gone through the song and dance so many times that I have lost the composure and patience to hear all of these sob stories. I simply do not care. Would a tenant expect to go to the grocery store and receive goods without payment, heavens no or go to McDonalds drive through and ask for a meal, get to the window and say sorry I had to take my grandma to the doctor and pay for her medicine can I pay it later? Why is a landlord held to a different standard? What is really happening is “theft” and criminal in many cases where tenants know how to work the system. I commend you Karen for being so diplomatic and politically correct. I think your post was dead on and although written in jest was the most accurate depiction of tenant excuses. I loved that one person also corrected you regarding trivial minutiae (ATM) in an attempt to discredit your post. I thought it was great!

  77. Hi Sasha:
    Sorry I missed this comment and didn’t respond sooner!

    Are you still paying late? If you signed a contract to pay on the 1st and you’re not, they can probably file for eviction if they decide to. However, the court may agree with you that, after all this time, they have set a precedent that they must continue to follow. What would be better is if you could just pay on time. If you pay at the end of the month, it would be preferred if that payment was for the next month rather than the one already passed……

    I don’t know the laws where you live for working out of the home. In some areas you may need to have the correct zoning whether or not you have clients coming to your address. Perhaps you could contact a free legal service such as Legal Aid?

    We collect late fees when tenants pay late and, you may not understand this, but I hate it as much as the tenant does. Why? Because it’s a huge hassle and waste of our time to chase late payments. And, once someone is late, it’s very hard for them to catch up and be able to pay on time the next month so we know the hassle continues. We would MUCH prefer that everyone pays on time so we never have to charge late fees. Late fees are set up to deter late payments, not to increase the landlords income. No landlord wants late payments, ever.

    Thanks for writing and please let us know what happened with your landlord situation.

  78. Hey! So I’ve been living in NYC for 10 years with the same landlord. For the most part they do a great job, but they know I get paid at the end of the month and still keep renewing my lease even though I pay at the end and not the beginning – this has been constant the past 8.

    Since they know that’s when I get paid and I still get renewed, can they threaten to boot me out? This new guy that collects money is being a real hard ass even though they understood I get paid later and still renew.

    Now he’s being a jerk because I work from home answering calls as a life coach and no one comes in or out and says it’s against policy to work at home. I thought that only implied if you had clients coming to your home. They also have known the entire time I’ve lived here that’s what I do.

    So can they argue I work from home and it’s against the agreement and if they keep allowing me to be late and pay the fine, can they all of a sudden get on me about it? Also if they’re getting an additional $75 a month for me being late, why are they so upset?

  79. Absolutely, Carmalita, you have rights as a tenant.

    Click these links and read for your state:

    Thanks for asking and good luck to you! I hope you find a new job quickly and don’t have to move.

  80. I just now told my landlord I lost my job and I will be late with rent. She immediately text back” I’m filing eviction Monday”. First time I will be late. I put up with smoking tenants below me and my asthma has gotten worse. I asked her for her address to send her my 30 day notice to vacate. No answer back. I deserve this, right?

  81. Dayse: I hate you’re going through this.

    There should be agencies in your area to contact that help tenants with landlord issues.

    At the very least, the landlord should let you out of the lease without penalty because your income has been dramatically reduced. You should be given your deposit back if you have done no damage. Check out some of the links on my links tab here on this site.

    Please, let us know how this works out.

  82. Thank you for your quick response. Unfortunately under government regulations we don’t qualify for any subsidized help.
    The rental company we are under have apartments for rent. They are constantly advertising on craigslist. But are just being extremely difficult. My unit is in great condition. Few things that are broken. But it was like that since we moved in.
    I’m trying my best to find a good outcome for everyone. But it’s not working.
    They wouldn’t even work with me when it came to the dish instalation. I had to pay a $200 early cancellation fee because you didn’t want to compromise with me on where to put it.
    I understand we they don’t want it attached to the building. So I offered to place it in one of my parking spots. Since I have 2 and only have 1 vehical. But they refused. I have a huge wooden garden box. That’s has nothing in and asked if we could place it in there. They also denied.
    I just don’t no where else to go to ask for help
    But thank you once again

  83. Hi Dayse:
    If you were our tenant and you had taken good care of the property, we would certainly move you to a less expensive one if we had one available.

    If you had not taken care of the property or we did not have a less expensive unit available, we would certainly let you out of your lease with no penalty so you could move to something less expensive.

    Have you applied for Section 8 or something government subsidized? I’m so sorry for your struggle. Remember, this can be temporary and, a year from now, you life should be much better.

    Here’s wishing you complete and quick success.

  84. You talk about landlords working with tents. But that’s not always the case. We have about 5 months living in our duplex and unfortunately our money situation just isn’t as it was before. I’ve been trying to work with my landlord to see if they could move us into another one of thier rental properties before we get to the point where we just and pay the rent. But they flat out refuse. I don’t want a “broken lease” to go on my rental history much less a “failure to pay.” My husband use to make 4 times the rent. Now they rent is 1/2 of our income. Idk what to do. We are completely lost and with a baby on the way. I feel like we are drowning.
    I’m trying to find a win win for both our landlord and us. He won’t loose money and have to go through us not paying. And we won’t have to be homeless and pay another deposit when we don’t have money.

    Any suggestions ? We are in desperate need for some advice before things get bad.

  85. Here’s good one that several tenants have given me:

    “My apartment was broken into and my rent money was stolen”.Three tenants has used this one, and even filed false police reports which FYI you can go to jail for.

  86. Omg, Paula.

    I’ve had more than one tenant, over the years, tell me that they couldn’t afford to pay because they’d spent their money on vacation, at the beach, etc.


    Thanks for your addition!

  87. One that I noticed was missing is: “ We were away on vacation – that’s why you couldn’t reach us. Oh, and by the way…. We’ll be paying our rent 30 days late this month.”.

  88. Hi Eric:
    I’m glad you found this post so you won’t be surprised when you get some of these comments, or think you’re the only one!

    And I agree with you, there is no excuse for 2-3 lates per year. Priorities are definitely out of order for that to occur.

    Thanks for writing and here’s wishing you tremendous investing success!

  89. I think I’ll attach this list to back of tenants copy of lease! :) Never had any of these problems so far with 2 current properties. Will be buying a 3rd very soon (its going to be my 29th birthday present!). I’m just a regular guy that saved a few nickels and bought a house. I still have a night job. Still must work to pay bills etc. Drive a new vehicle, yeah, but rents didn’t get it for me. I grew up trailer park poor but with college (and hard work to pay for it) I now have a great job. I would work with the occasional late payment and lease gives 10 days. After that there is a penalty of 10% or $50 whichever is less. I understand people fall down but I think more than 2-3 lates a year is absurb! I have had credit for 10+ years and my credit report declares I’ve never had a late payment. If I can do it since 18-19 years old you should have figured it out by 30 +. If I can do it anyone can! Here’s to the best and success!

  90. Jello: As I’ve said before, when we have a good paying tenant, we do what we can to work with them when an unusual event occurs.

    However, you need to realize that oftentimes, if a landlord doesn’t get rent from a tenant, they can’t make their mortgage payment. They count on receiving your payment so that they can make theirs.

    I hate that this happened to both you and your landlord.

    Thanks for taking the time to share.

  91. I just recently lost my apartment. My rent was $314 and it was stolen by a kid whom I let stay with me. I lost my mind and ended up selling half of my apartment and came up with $842 and the overall amount was $892. I’m going to be homeless at the age of 29 and I moved to Florida and am now moving back to New York. It sucks. I’m not irresponsible. I wrote the landlord saying please give me time to pay the difference. I have to wait until next month as I didn’t have a job. He evicted me. I hope I can save up some money for a new apartment.

  92. That’s great, Beth. And that’s how we make our policies, in response to need!

    Here’s wishing you great landlording success!

  93. I had a tenant that told me she pays late every month because she will have late fees but we won’t evict her. But that’s not the case for her other bills. Needless to say management changed the policy so if people pay late so many times a year we will evict them.

  94. Saving for my funeral. Priceless.

    Thanks, Kathyrn, for sharing!

  95. Best one I ever heard: A psychic tenant said she predicted her eminent demise and couldn’t pay rent because she needed to save up for her funeral.

    It is disheartening when tenants don’t realize that they are genuinely hurting real people who are paying the tenants bills and their own bills. The ‘stack of money’ comment is just asinine! They clearly have never met a rental property owner.

  96. Hi David:
    As you’ve found, trying to help the tenant can be exhausting and rarely works out for either the tenant or the landlord. Besides, letting them get further into debt just makes their situation worse and the chances of them catching up diminish every day this goes on…

    So, evict when the lease allows and let everyone move on to, hopefully, a better life!

    Thanks for taking the time to share your experience.


  97. This made me laugh, I have one of those tenants. Every month is another excuse. each one is worse than the last.I have been working with her, but back in Feb I told her to find another place because if she continued to be late I would have to charge her the late fees as defined in the lease. Still every month is late. I still have not recieved Mays rent and have started the eviction process and it looks like she got the hint and gave me a call. Her excuse was her friend is in a mental institution. But I have heard at least 6 of the excusses origionally mentioned above from this same tenant.

    As a landlord, no good deed goes unpunished. Accepting partial payments and letting things slide can come back and bite you. Such is my experience with a previous eviction. I was unable to collect previous months rent because I accepted partial payments. I let a tenant slide that fell on hard times, under a suplemental agreement that the tenant would pay me back when he was able to find a new job. After he found a new job he refused to pay back rent like agreed. Then the eviction was disallowed because I did accept partial payments. The supplemental agreement was not valid according to the Judge. He then got a dog without telling me so he was evicted for another lease violation.

  98. Thanks for adding to the conversation, SW.

  99. Ask yourself, what if you work all month, and when your paycheck comes, it’s half what it should be, and the boss says ‘Sorry, had to buy my kids food, I’ll make it up to you next month.” That’s what you’re doing to your landlord. Would you accept that from your job?

  100. J.P.
    We have taken installment payments more than once due to tenant circumstances. It really doesn’t work out because, if they can’t afford rent, they can’t afford rent.

    It always breaks my heart when anyone loses their job. We had a lot of that happen, especially 2008 and 2009. It’s been a tough 5 years for so many.

    Thanks for taking the time to write.

  101. How about: We had to take our, (insert animal of your choice) to the Vet’s. And have to wait until next payday to pay.
    Also, one that is sad. (True story from a Safeway employee). Due to the launch of Obama Care, my hours have been cut form 35 to 24 hours a week. So can I pay my rent in weekly installments?

  102. Oh, Ashlee, thank you for taking the time to write this.

    It’s so interesting that anyone would consider “just not paying rent” when the landlord has done nothing wrong and you have a legal agreement promising to pay. So, so interesting.

    I appreciate your honest look at your own motives and actions. It is also not right when the landlord doesn’t perform as they are required by law to do on the tenant’s behalf.

    Thank you for writing. Thank you for noticing that many attacked when I simply stated actual excuses we receive for non-payment. Yes, we all have reasons from time to time to not pay what we owe, but that does not eliminate our responsibility.

    I hope your landlord behaves and you have a great 2014!

  103. Hahaha…oh gosh. I googled “good excuses for late rent” and came across this. I spent too freely because I was expecting a union bonus that did not come through on schedule. While this is a true story, Life experience has taught me to leave room for cushion or the “worse case scenario.” The worse case became real and I will be left with $33 after my $1100 rent is paid. My next check is on Feb 7th and this is the Jan 24th (payday). So I thought that I would plan ahead to not pay rent on time since in my mind I justified it by telling myself its only less than a week, not to mention my landlord owes me because shes not the best at (insert laundry list of defects).I just think its funny because not only am I the exact text book example of what this blog entry is about, but I actually know better because my very own mother owns and manages several properties back in my hometown. Hahah. And the stories that she tells me sometimes makes me want to board a plane and go kick some tenant ass for the stress and burden that they place on her, especially given her health at times. I keep telling myself that I need to just go ahead and pay it and learn from my mistake while im under intense financial restriction for the next 2 weeks. But then part of me says that because I am a good tenant I can get by this time and that if I tell my Landlord upfront that it will be late im being “responsible”. I just wanted to drive it home with a good excuse which clearly sounds impossible as people have worn them out…hahaha. I know people may judge me but thats okay… I just felt bad seeing the comments that ganged up on you for stating the obvious in your blog. In fact I even called bullshit to 2 of them as I read it and could tell that they were defensive because they werent ready to see their truth and accept responsibility for their financial irresponsibility… hahah… A wise man once said “Shit happens.” While this may be the case at times, those scenarios are in the lower percentile. I appreciate reading this because it gave me something to consider.

    PS: I also used Identity theft before with another landlord. Even though i HONESTLY had my identity stolen and they accessed funds in my bank account. My bank credited me and it didnt affect my ability to pay rent. Hahah. Also another employer paid us twice and I said that I started spending and when they retracted the payment to correct it, that my account went into overdraft and bounced other charges and created a mess in my account. (Semi true) However, i had HR pay for overdraft fees and I hadnt spent as much as i said…. anyway i hope this can shine some light on what you are talking about :-)

  104. Lily:
    I’m so sorry that you’re living such a nightmare.

    Often tenants don’t realize that the landlord is hardworking and trying to pay all the bills on their home as well as their rental property. And, that’s irrelevant. You and they signed a contract. You agreed to provide a safe home, which you did – they agreed to pay for it monthly, which they did not.

    The law is on your side. I hope you have a good rental agreement. The only thing the judge cares about when you get to court is (1) did they promise to pay “x” amount on “x” day of the month? (2) did they do it?
    If not, they are in breach of contract and you will be awarded possession of the property. Yup, that’s the law.

    Please let us know how it goes. You are not the only landlord, I’m afraid, to go through this experience.

    Thanks for writing.

  105. Hi Karen,

    Thank you for putting this up. This definitely confirmed my realization of the people that is out there with their excuses and sob stories.

    I’m a brand new landlord and bought my first house after 7 years of saving after college and paying off my debts. I got my first tenants this past summer.

    These people took advantage of me and give me 30 of the 50 excuses you’ve listed. I was naive at the beginning to except their excuse but after 6 months, I’ve heard it all. I’m now in the process of evicting these people and it’s the worst nightmare of my life.

    I’m trying to catch up with my bills with my full time job and weekend part time job and my boyfriend taking 2 part time jobs while they have 7 adults who don’t work because every one of them have some kind of illness that prevents them from working except the father. I’m not saying that they are lying but they look very healthy when they start screaming at me when I ask for rent.

    But they did lie about how many people living up there. 2 adults turned into 7 adults, a baby and 3 giant dogs. So like I said, it’s been a nightmare and far from over til they are evicted because they already promised to give me a hard time in court and threatened me that they have connections with lawyers and sheriffs and that I’m messing with the wrong people.

  106. You are absolutely right, Rachel, some landlords are terrible and if your landlord is as bad as you’ve described, I strongly suggest you move.

    Like any area of life, most are good, but the few bad give the rest a bad name. This goes for both tenants and landlords. For us, 95% of our tenants are great and only 5% are a problem. It’s that 5% that I quoted here.

    I’m so sorry for your situation and I certainly hope you find a better landlord soon.

    Thanks for taking the time to write.

  107. This does work both ways.
    I always pay my rent on time and in full. Even if it’s the last of my money.
    Even though our payments are never late, whenever we have a request we are met with the same excuses that you receive.

    * “Sorry, I’m going overseas for a holiday, I cannot repair the stove that has been deemed extremely dangerous and a fire hazard”

    That one although there were many others was my personal favorite.

    Because our landlord had a complete disregard for the needs of anybody other than herself – she got us to the point where we simply just didn’t have the money to pay rent. We where starving ourselves just to ensure our daughter had formula and diapers – that is much more important to me than rent.

    We where told if we missed one week, she would kick us out. Meanwhile she was charging much more than the properties value in rent. We could have purchased the house with the amount of money we spent living there.

    You’re putting landlords on a pedestal say they are these hard working people that are doing it tough too.
    Last I checked our landlord was starving herself so she could feed her children and pay rent. She didn’t look even slightly famished when she would show up to our inspections in her flashy car.

    Meanwhile due to her we couldn’t even afford a car. We are hard working people too, we are doing it tough and trying our hardest, working from 6am and not getting home until 9pm just to pay her rent. While she sits in her lovely home enjoying a meal with her family – we are calculating whether or not we have enough money to buy a tin of soup to share for dinner.

    I understand some tenants have a complete disregard for their responsibilities – but so do some landlords.

    So, don’t sit there and laugh at the excuses that are given, a large percentage of those people are genuine In their need for just a few more days.
    Landlords give just as many excuses as tenants.

    We where without a rear fence for 6 months, without a stove for 6 weeks, without a water heater for 10 days and paying excessive water bills because she refused to fix the leaking taps.

    We where struggling because if her and she didn’t care at all, as long as she got her rent. I doubt she has ever gone a day without a meal or a night without a hot shower.

    You may be a decent landlord but there are so many nasty ones out there that are too preoccupied with their own selfish wants to have a little compassion.

  108. Hi Monica:

    Do you have a rental contract with the original owner? If so, the new owner must abide by the terms of the contract you already have in place. They can change it, however, when it is time to renew it.

    If you do not have a contract, the new owner can evict but they must follow your state legal process to do so. Here in North Carolina, we are required to send a written letter stating the reason we are evicting you. Our state law does allow eviction if the tenant has pets when the rental policy says no pets allowed. (We personally allow pets in our properties, however.)

    If you do not respond to the letter by moving, we must go to the courthouse and file eviction papers. You then receive a letter from the court giving you a date to appear if you want to argue your case. The day of your court hearing, if you do not have protection from your signed contract, the judge gives possession of the property back to the owner and you are given a certain time frame in which to move – 10 days here in North Carolina.

    So, you cannot be evicted over night, there is a process the owner must follow to force you to move. You are only protected if you have a contract that you are abiding by.

    If you need additional free help, contact Legal Aid for assistance.

    Please let me know how it all turns out for you and thank you for asking me here.

    To your success!

  109. Hi I have a question I been renting this place for 3 years now…and last month the owner told us if I could please let people go in our house cause she was gonna remodel the house I was like ok….but people were coming all dressed up and my husband ask them why they were here they said, don’t u know the owner selling the house..so we were wtf…and until now she hasn’t still hasn’t told us anything like 2 weeks ago the new owner came to introduce him self and my husband like yeah what can I do for u well the owner sold the house and I’m the new owner and I came to talk to u regarding u guys dog sorry but u can’t keep ur dog and my husband said sorry I don’t make decision u need to speak to my wife about it and u could come Saturday to talk to her..but ur answer will be no…she ain’t gonna through her away…so we are so upset about it and she still haven’t said anything to us but she calls the new owner that we haven’t paid her rent for Oct 2013 and they want us to leave the property but we haven’t receive no notice…and the new owner threating us by calling the state….what can we do….

  110. Haha!

    Thanks, Mary Ann, for adding to the list!

  111. 51. My Grandma Passed away for the 3rd time this year
    52. My dog ate my wallet
    53. The Government Shut Down
    54. I had to buy Fireworks.
    55. I had to pay my cell phone bill.
    56. I have to pay my cable. (My #1 reason I get every month from at least 1 tenant.)

    Thanks you for taking the time to make this list. I would love to write a book one day on things managers hear all the time.

  112. Ugh.

    Thanks for commenting, Jett!

  113. I hear these excuses every month on my job! (Utilities)

  114. Hi Aaron:
    Part of the reason for your anger is that you didn’t finish reading through the comments.

    We absolutely do work with tenants who are working for themselves. And, we have forgiven more than one tenant when they couldn’t pay because of circumstances beyond their control, often not even requiring them to pay back.

    But, just as you accused me here, you jumped to wrong conclusions. We are not cold or heartless with our tenants. We work very hard to provide housing for others, good housing that we maintain while they live there. This article was written about the many tenants who repeatedly say things like “I had a flat tire” as an excuse and expect to get by with that type of response month after month when the property owner is struggling to put a roof over both heads. The landlord, I promise you, cannot call the mortgage company and say, “I can’t pay my mortgage this month because my tenant had a flat tire.”

    Too many tenants don’t realize that landlords are very hard working people and owning rental property is just one of their “jobs”. Most rental properties have mortgages, taxes, insurance, and maintenance to pay that the tenant doesn’t even consider. There is a common term in this industry – “burned out landlords” – landlords who have been crushed by all the hard work and disrespect, landlords who end up selling their rentals to be done with it. This ultimately hurts tenants by leaving fewer available properties which allows rents to increase.

    Sorry about your misunderstanding. I am in no way cold or heartless with our tenants.

    Thank you for your service to our country.

  115. I think its just pitiful you put this out there like that. You know I didnt even get past number two. Why? Because I am a veteran and I was going to school on the post 9/11 gi bill and guess what….my check didnt come. (and it took three months for that missed check to get reissued) Someone like you seems to find it funny that I ended up a homeless vet working part time and going to school. Why because my landlord was like you and evicted me even knowing that I had paid them the last year and a half and knew the circumstance.
    Its just pitiful that you think these excuses are something to be made fun of. Yea there is a time when you should tell someone that its too bad but thats not even what you have posted here. You have these excuses posted out here like you are some hearless landlord.

    May all your tenants burn your rentals or rip you off from now on. You do deserve it

  116. Shay:

    Thanks so much for the corrections!

    Yup, we work with those who are good tenants and understand that people run into unexpected situations. Some, however, are consistent and expect too much of their landlords.

    For example, the mistake of believing that landlords sit on stacks of money. Most work full time jobs to pay, not only their own mortgage, but the mortgage on the home the tenant lives in. We also pay mortgage insurance, property taxes, interest to the lender, and maintenance on the properties. The landlord provides a place to live to the tenant, as promised. When the tenant doesn’t pay their rent, as promised, the landlord is often unable to make their mortgage payment and may face foreclosure.

    The landlord/tenant relationship is a mutual trust relationship and, if one doesn’t do as agreed, both suffer.

    Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment.

  117. #40…..”coma” is the correct spelling
    #45…..”ATM” is an abbreviation for “automatic teller machine” so it is incorrect to say “ATM machine” you’re basically saying; automatic teller machine machine…..

    Also, I know some people will use excuses to not pay their rent, or aren’t responsible, but there are people out there that fall on hard times due to some of the things you listed. I have not been able to pay my rent only once, and it would have been impossible to pay it on time, but if you don’t really know the situation the renter is in, you shouldn’t sit on your stack of money and simply laugh about the reason they are unable to pay. My grandmother rents several houses out and has dealt with similar situations but isn’t self righteous about it. Have a damn heart.

  118. Thank you so much, Kristi, for taking the time to complement me!

    The only ones who understand and respect how hard the property owners work is other property owners! We’ve worked very hard to get where we are and I do get upset when others say that, because we have more than they have, we should hand them some of what we’ve earned.

    To your success!

  119. Hi Karen! I have been a real estate investor since 2006. My husband and I formed a real estate company and now own several rental units. We finally grew to the point we needed a professional property manager, and are fortunate now to have a great team.

    The reason I’m reaching out to you, is that I wanted to commend you on the sheer grace in your response to the ‘I can’t pay my rent’ excuses–because property managers provide such an invaluable service that is often not realized. When we first self-managed, we had so many people that would show up to look at a unit, flat out tell us they had no money and then implore to our sense of charity and good fortune to give them a place to live. It would always make me so angry that we were viewed as “rich and loaded” because we were landlords, and if we were just a little kinder that they would have a place to live. The truth was that we had worked very hard to save up a downpayment, then used that cash flow to start buying the rest. No one gave us a handout, nor did we seek one. We actually grew up quite poor.

    What so many do not understand is that landlording is a business, and if we do not collect enough money in rent, we do not pay the mortgage we have on the property. If we do not pay the mortgage that’s one less unit of housing in our communities. Just like any other business we cannot afford to give our products and services away.

    The grace and poise evident in your response is a business lesson I will always remember! To your continued success!

  120. You’re absolutely right, Shanice, some people have just had a bad break.
    And, those are the ones we DO work with.
    Not, however, the ones who constantly make excuses and feel like the “rich” landlord should just let them slide.
    We always work with those who are working to take care of things and be responsible.
    We are not tolerant with those who have entitlement issues and don’t respect how hard we work to provide a nice home for them to rent.

    Thanks, Shanice, for taking the time to add to the conversation.

  121. This isn’t a laughing matter. People do lose their jobs. Perhaps two siblings have just lost their mother. One is a college student who only gets education benefits during the semester and one is simply a worker, but cannot find a job due to a misdemeanor three years ago. Because their mother was paying mortgage for a house, the two siblings cannot afford to stay as they have yet to find adequate jobs. After being evicted, they scramble to find a place to live and wound up at an apartment that isn’t depended upon income but credit history. Using the last of their savings, they move into this apartment. The worker still isn’t able to find a job due to his background. The college student uses more of the money that they saved to pay for another month. College student finds a job during the summer, but it is pretty late in the game and after calculating how much money is coming in that month realize that they can’t pay the rent this month. College student already gets annuity and now has a job that can potentially pay just enough for the rent, however not soon enough.

    If only landlords could be a little kinder. I’m online right now searching for any options I have, any assistance I can get and I come across this. Just because someone cannot pay their rent doesn’t mean their irresponsible. Perhaps this person is new to the real world and is only now getting on their feet. The world can be a cruel place, I see that now. It would be nice if you could see from others’ perspective and not just your own.

  122. Hilarious.

    One of my favorites is when they ask, “please don’t put me out.” To which I explain, “I’m not putting you out. You didn’t pay your rent so you’re putting you out.”

    Thanks, Russell, for sharing this!

  123. the lord will help me, this was after her eviction was giving, i told her the lord didn’t pay his part of the rent so you are both out

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