Eviction

questions & answers

Question: Can my landlord except half the rent and still keep charging me late fees???

Answer:

A.R.S. 33-1371, part of the Arizona Residential Landlord Tenant Act, governs acceptance of partial payments.  It provides in part:

A. 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. The landlord may proceed as provided in article 4
of this chapter and in title 12, chapter 8 against a
tenant in breach of this agreement or any other breach
of the original rental agreement. If the landlord has
provided the tenant with a notice of failure to pay rent
as specified in section 33-1368, subsection B prior to
the completion of the agreement for partial payment,
no additional notice under section 33-1368, subsection
B is required in case of a breach of the partial payment
agreement.

This means that, so long as you did not receive a default notice prior to making the partial payment, the landlord cannot proceed against you (evict you) unless you signed a separate agreement when you made the partial payment.  If you received a default notice before you made the partial payment, the landlord may still proceed.

As to the specific issue of late fees, they are left in large part to the individual lease.  You should consult your lease to see what it says about late fees and how they are calculated.  If it doesn't say that late fees will be charged for partial payments, then I think you have a good argument for no late fees.  Moreover, if any late fees are chargeable, they should not be chargeable for the amount you have already paid.

For additional assistance, I recommend you consult the Arizona Residential Landlord Tenant Act at:  http://azhousing.gov/azcms/uploads/PUBLICATIONS/Landlord%20Tenant%20Act.pdf

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