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Pet Deposit-- Partial Rent Payment?

I have a tenant that is 17 days late on rent.  They have offered partial payments several times, but I have refused and stated that we only accept payments in full.  I do have a problem however.  Upon signing of the lease, I agreed to give them 3 months from the signing of the lease to pay their pet deposit.  We have now gotten to the end of 3 months and they are a month late on their payments.  They have offered to pay the $500 for the pet deposit, just to get that off of their plate so that they can focus upon catching up on rent.  If I accept the pet deposit, does that count as acceptance of a partial rent payment, thus prolonging the time before the eviction process can occur?  Could I accept it and get them to sign something that states that the monies go to a pet deposit and under no way are they to be applied to the outstanding rent that is owed?  Please help!

You probably should check with an attorney. Sometimes you need them. Make sure the attorney is familiar with rental laws. Your right in not wanting to mess up the eviction process.
I am not afraid to evict.  That is what I will probably do.  My question is, "Does the acceptance of the pet deposit constitute an acceptance of a partial payment?"  In Alabama, the acceptance of a partial rent payment causes the eviction process to start over, I do not want that to happen.
It sounds like they have only been there just a few months and already they're behind on the rent. Depending on why they are late, I would send them a Pay or Quit Notice and move on. Ask yourself this question - "How many months can I survive without the rental income?"
The acceptance of unpaid rent after expiration of a termination notice is permitted, however this does not constitute a waiver of the termination. Therefore, a landlord may still move forward and seek possession and the tenant’s removal. This notice is also useful when trying to get funds... http://www.ezlandlordforms.com/documents/81/past_due_payment_arrangement_agreement/
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