Start a new topic

Depositing a partial rent payment

I have a tenant that has a month-to-month lease that paid me only half of May's rent because they decided to paint the kitchen cabinets without permission. They were asked to first provide an estimate and proposal for the work they proposed to do. I deposited the amount they gave me and sent them a notice to remit the remainder of the rent. I read (afterward of course, go figure, haha), that some states might see the deposit of the partial rent payment as acceptance of that months' rent. That shocked me as I never knew of such a law.  I wish to send the tenants a 14-day notice to quit for non-payment of rent. My question is, in MA, how does the law interpret the depositing of the partial rent payment? Can I go after them for the rest of what they owe me still? If no one knows, who would (besides a lawyer)? The Attorney General maybe? It's frustrating that some of the laws are so difficult to understand, no matter how many books and forums you study! Thanks so much everyone :

My first question to you is: Was this request verbal or written? Since you had told them that you wanted to approve an estimate first, do you think the amount was too high? is it worth going through an eviction, getting rid of this tenant and then trying to find a new one? You may want to practice using ONLY written correspondence in the future; you would be surprised at the aggravation it can save you.
Hello,  In the lease it says that requests for repairs must be written. In the past we have accepted some minor repair work (less than $100) verbally-actually giving them permission verbally. There is no precedent for accepting $400 worth of work without an estimate or approval for the work they did to the cabinets. The amount is extremely high and caught us by surprise. The tenant claims to have emailed us to get permission, an email we never received, and said that since she didn't hear back she went ahead and did work in the kitchen.   My concern is about whether I voided any possibility of evicting them for late payment by depositing the partial check (tight month and I didn't realize 'til now that some states don't look too kindly on depositing partial payments).  I prefer eviction as it is pretty easy to find tenants in this area and I feel that they are trying to take advantage of a work-for-rent situation.  Thank you :).
In MASS accepting a partial payment does not prevent a landlord from filing for eviction. The fact that your lease specifies that requests must be written is good. It would be up to your tenant to prove that not only did he make the written request BUT also that it was approved by you.  It seems to me that your tenant will not have such a good case. Good luck with this - let us all know how it works out :)
Thank you so much, Helen. I will update the forum on how everything goes shortly. Would you happen to know where I can find that information so I can quote it to the tenant? I am very happy to have found this website as I feel much better protected now as a landlord :)
Joanna: You will find links to the laws of Mass. here:
Login to post a comment