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Posts: 29
Reply with quote  #1 

I have a renter who I ended up sending a 5 Day Notice to in Illinois, for not paying their rent.   This stated the amount of rent due, plus a $20.00 late fee.

I have been texting the renter and telling them the importance of getting a Notice, that it must be paid before it expires for the amount stated, and that at the end we must file in court etc.   

In response, I got "I get my paycheck on the 13th" etc etc. and what finally went down was the renter paid a day late, but got it in literally as I was texting that I was on my way to the courthouse to file.

Well, perhaps not so surprisingly to some of you, the payment wasn't for the full amount- it was $15 short.  Even though the notice said the amount, spelled it out in words, and I had also texted "Please be sure and pay the exact amount due", giving it again.

"Oh I'm sorry about that, but I'm on my way to work now" etc.

My response was, "Fine, but please be sure and get the remaining amount in ASAP, you still have an outstanding notice."

The following day, the remainder still not paid.  I texted, "Please be sure and get the remainder paid before bank close today, you are potentially costing yourself court fees just for the remainder due."

No answer, and of course, no payment.

What to do when a renter pays ALMOST the full amount?   You can't tell them "Five hundred schmundred, you're close enough" especially because in this case you're literally telling them to ignore a legal document you sent.   Not good, imo.

I've had other landlords tell me "Oh no no no, they're not going to start doing THAT" insofar as incomplete payments.   But nobody seems to offer any other advice other than "Just keep reminding them to pay the remainder".

In my opinion, "Keep reminding them", with no definite consequences, is just a daily reinforcement to the renter to ignore what the landlord says.

So, what specifically to tell them will happen, if they don't pay the remaining $15?

I can't file in court for $15, which will cost me $140- and a judge won't like that either.

I would love to know the answer to this one, can't seem to get it anywhere.







Posts: 29
Reply with quote  #2 

Let me add that I'm not the kind of landlord that chats with the tenants every morning.

They can go months without hearing from me as long as the rent is paid, no problems happen and there aren't damages to the property.   And I'm sure they like it that way too.  Though I do all the yardwork and maintenance myself.

But this woman has taken me to task.   In the 5 months or so she's rented, she's probably said all of 20 words to me, all by text.  She's never home, and even when she is she won't answer the door.  Communication is difficult to say the least.

The only thing that appears to work is, "I'm headed downtown to file now."   So, I need to tell her specifically: "We need the $15 remainder paid by tomorrow or this will happen."   I just don't know what THIS can reasonably be, and actually be enforceable.  She doesn't need any more encouragement to ignore communication.

Thoughts, anyone?



Posts: 507
Reply with quote  #3 
She didn't pay in full. In Virginia, we would send a letter stating that we accept payment with reservation. This reverses our right to move forward with the eviction process. I don't know if Illinois allows for accepting payment with reservation.

I wouldn't text so much. Emails are one thing, but you shouldn't have to baby them. You give the notices as required by law, and take the next step when they don't do what they need to. This tenant is a bum. This will not get better. They are like children, they will push you to find out where the boundaries are and assume they are fine to do at least that much next time. Next month it will be five days later and $50 short, and they still will not have covered the $15 from this month.

If Illinois allows it, I would move forward with the eviction process. I would also terminate this lease as soon as I legally could. 

Posts: 29
Reply with quote  #4 

Yes, I'm probably being too hopeful.

She has paid regularly for the past 6 months.... is a single quiet renter and has caused no trouble.   And she did pay her rent, albeit on the 16th- just not the rent plus the late fees.   

However as I said the 5 Day Notice is now null, since it isn't for the amount owed.

I try to text as little as possible with the tenants- in fact, I've gone months with this renter without saying more than a few words.

However in this case, a texted warning telling them what is happening, is always a chance they will see what is coming, and act to avoid it.

I since after checking Illinois law (my state) told her she is going to be served a 3 Day Notice to Quit, and she can avoid this by making payment.

That states that she must pay the $15 in 3 days, or move out.

I agree that she appears to be going foul.   But in order to do an eviction (assuming the worst case scenario, she becomes a no-pay squatter) I have to follow the laws to the best of my knowledge.

It looks like there is no 'reasonable' punishment for not paying a $15 remainder, other than telling them pay or get out.

It sounds like overkill, but what else is there?   I don't know, and no one else seems to either.



Posts: 507
Reply with quote  #5 
In Virginia, that 5-Day pay or quit notice would still stand. As I said, we would have to give them a letter stating that the payment is "accepted with reservation" within a certain number of days, but it would still stand. You will have to check if Illinois is similar in that way.


Posts: 3,809
Reply with quote  #6 
This happens a lot.  Tell the tenant that the $15 will be due with the next month's rent and will be the first thing paid.  In other words, the first $15 of payment goes towards last month's late fee, then the remainder is applied toward current rent.  (I put a clause in my lease that states the oldest debts are paid first.)  Then when the whole rent isn't paid, serve the pay or quit notice for failing to pay rent.  If she doesn't pay then, I let them know that the deficit will again be due with the next month's rent and that only the entire amount due will be accepted.  If they don't bring it all, hand it back to them and let them them know that you will be filing eviction for non-payment.  So, 1st time it get carried over to the next month.  Second time, I refuse partial payment and file.  They don't push it after they figure this out.
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