FAILURE TO PAY RENT
The landlord-tenant code states that the rent shall be paid at the time and place agreed to by the landlord and tenant. The law does not provide the tenant a grace period for late rent payments.
If the tenant does not pay all or part of the rent on the agreed due date, the landlord must write the tenant a letter, allowing the tenant at least five business days from the day the tenant receives the notice to pay the entire balance of unpaid rent. The letter should also state that if the tenant does not pay the overdue rent by the fifth business day, the rental agreement will be terminated immediately. The tenant must vacate the unit immediately after the fifth business day. The landlord does not have to provide the tenant additional time to vacate the unit.
The landlord is encouraged to send the notice certified mail, return receipt requested, in order to provide proof of proper notification for unpaid rent. If the tenant cannot be notified through the mail or in person, the landlord can post the five business day written notice in a conspicuous place on the dwelling unit.
If the tenant remains in the unit beyond the fifth business day without having paid the rent, and without the landlord’s permission, the tenant becomes what is referred to as a holdover tenant. For every day of holdover, the tenant is liable for double the rent, calculated on a daily basis. The landlord is strictly prohibited by law to lock out the tenant, change the locks, or turn off the utilities as a means to remove the tenant from the unit once the rental agreement has been properly terminated.
If the tenant does not vacate the rental unit voluntarily after the fifth business day, the landlord has sixty days to file a claim in District Court for summary possession, or eviction. The filing fee is $120.00, plus a surcharge fee of $10.00 and the sheriff’s fee. The phone number for District Court is 538-5151.