Why ‘better late than never’ doesn’t apply to rent

Eviction may come sooner than you think

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Always a model tenant, Jan was a quiet neighbor and rarely complained. She was sometimes a few days late with the rent, but the long-time owner was easy-going, not even charging a late fee. That changed when the building sold, and the new owner was less forgiving. A month after the sale, Jan came home to find a document taped to her front door. The document, "Three Day Notice to Pay Rent or Quit," seemed a bit far-fetched. Three days? She assumed it was a casual request and mailed a check a few days later. When her rent check arrived past the three-day limit, the new owner filed an eviction action–and won. By not paying within the three-day limit, the judge ruled that the new owner had "just cause" for eviction. In more than 22 states in the U.S., tenants have little or no grace period at all for late rent. Jan's habit of being several days late cost her the roof over her head, and it left a black mark on her credit report. Paying the rent on time is a bread-and-butter, basic ...