Rent is usually due on the same day each month. But the timing of your paycheck can vary from month to month. For example, if rent is due on the first of the month, but you get paid on the fourth or fifth, it can be challenging to get your rent in on time.
These days, most landlords charge late fees – and some accumulate daily.
What’s considered a late rent payment?
Most bills, like credit card payments, mortgages and auto loans, are considered late if you pay beyond 30 days of the due date.
With rent, if you are even a single day late, you may face overdue penalties. Some landlords strictly enforce their payment policies.
That said, it depends on your landlord if your late payment will appear on your credit file.
Most late rent payments won’t affect your credit
Generally, most landlords don’t report monthly rent payments to the three main credit bureaus unless they:
- Are a large corporate entity
- Use or subscribe to a special service to report rent payments
- Have a property management company handling their records
And even if any of these apply, it’s still a case-by-case basis whether your rent payment will find its way to your personal credit file.
How can you be sure?
If you’re renting directly from an individual or a small company, chances are they aren’t reporting rent payments. And if you live in a large complex or rent from a big property management company, you’re more susceptible to having rent payments show up.
But the only way to be sure is to simply ask your landlord or someone in your leasing office. Additionally, you can credit your credit report to see if your rent payments appear there.
Keep in mind, your rent payment might only appear at one of the three main bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion). You can pull your credit reports for free once per year at this link.
What if your rent payments get reported?
In that case, it’s wise to pay your rent on time every month. That might require more cashflow forecasting. That means you’ll need to look ahead and plan appropriately if your paycheck lands at an awkward time.
As for what constitutes your payment being late, that could vary, because your landlord could report after it’s one day late or all the way up to 30 days late.
If you know your rent is being reported, your best bet is to pay on time every time if you can help it.
Here’s a catch
On the other side of the coin, what about when you’ve been making all your rent payments on time but they’re not landing on your credit report? In this case you would want them to appear to give your credit score a boost.
In that case, you can ask your landlord to add a monthly reporting service. Or you could look into services that track your rent payments on your behalf and report them to credit agencies. It goes both ways – and you definitely want to be rewarded for a strong payment history.
Late rent payment bottom line
Paying rent a few days late usually won’t affect your credit score, unless your landlord specifically uses a credit reporting service. Those landlords are typically big corporations and property management companies.
Even if paying late won’t show up on your credit file, it’s best to pay on time anyway to avoid costly late fees. And if you know you’ll pay rent on time, consider asking your landlord to report payments to credit bureaus so you can reap the benefits of a higher credit score.