If I accept partial rent payments, do I forfeit the right to evict permanently or for just the 1 month that I accepted a partial payment?

Can I evict if the next month they have not paid rent? My state’s landlord-tenant handbook states: Failure of the tenant to pay the full rent by the due date is a breach of the lease. The landlord is not required to accept only part of the rent unless the landlord has established a pattern and practice of doing so by accepting partial payment in the past. If the landlord has accepted partial payments in the past, he cannot refuse partial payments without first giving notice that he will only accept full payment.

Asked on July 16, 2015 under Real Estate Law, Georgia

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

No, you don't give up the right to evict at all: if the tenant owes any  unpaid rent, you may file for eviction. If the tenant pays all rent due and owing by or the day of the hearing, he or she can avoid eviction, but they must pay all rent. What the language you quoted means is that if there is a pattern of accepting partial payments, you have to accept the partial payment and apply it against the balance, which will reduce the arrears; you don't have the option of stating that only payment in full of each month's rent is accepted. What that does in practice is reduce your incentive to evict, since evicting and re-renting is trouble--it takes time, costs money, etc. If the tenant has *mostly* paid the rent, you are less likely to go to the trouble of trying to evict--especially since to avoid eviction, he or she would then only have to make up the remaining partial shortfall by the trial day. Taking partial payments tends to "trap" you in a cycle of partial payments and the tenant always being behind on rent. 


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