Do Apartments Have to Prorate?

by Jeannine Mancini
Depending on the date, your move could cost you more money.

Moving in on a specific date is often a challenge. Issues can arise that may delay or speed up the moving process. If you need to move in or out during the middle of the month, the landlord may agree to prorate the rent so you only pay for the days you occupied the home. Although states have their own tenant and landlord laws, there are no laws requiring landlords to prorate rent.

New Lease Options

Landlords are free to choose how they handle move-ins that occur before the standard rental due date. The landlord can choose to start the lease on the day you move in rather than prorate the rent. Upon move-in, the first month's rent would be due. The move-in date would become the due date each month for the remainder of your lease. Even if the apartment agrees to prorate the rent when your move-in date is the middle of the month, you may need to pay the full first month upfront to get the keys. Apartments may also require the security deposit and full month's rent when the lease is signed, but will agree to prorate the second month and resume the normal schedule thereafter. Other apartments will require the prorated rent for the first month along with the next month's full rent and security deposit due at lease signing.

Rental Due Dates

Residential leases typically begin on the first day of the month. Having a standard due date keeps it simple and easy to manage for apartment landlords. Keeping track of multiple tenants would become chaotic if everyone had a different due date. Although there is no legally recognized due date for rent, most landlords require rent due on the first of the month. Landlords can set any date for rent to be paid and even at intervals other than monthly. For example, a landlord could stipulate a weekly or bi-weekly rent due date in your lease agreement.

Moving Out During the Month

Likewise, landlords are not required to prorate the rent when you move out. If you move out of the apartment in the middle of your rental month, you are still legally obligated to pay the month's rent as agreed in your lease. If you do not pay the full month's rent, the landlord may be able to deduct the balance from your security deposit. Even if you stay just an extra day or two into the new rental month, the landlord can legally charge you for the entire month.

Considerations

Although the landlord may not be legally obligated to prorate rent when beginning or ending a lease, it is not uncommon for a landlord to accommodate a tenant's needs. If you make an agreement with the landlord that deviates from your lease, get it in writing for your protection. Before signing a lease, make sure you carefully read over the terms and conditions.

About the Author

Jeannine Mancini, a Florida native, has been writing business and personal finance articles since 2003. Her articles have been published in the Florida Today and Orlando Sentinel. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies from the University of Central Florida.

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