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03. Paying Rent (Conversations about Landlord Tenant Law in Alaska)


[MUSIC PLAYING] I know it is important to pay my monthly rent, but I just don’t have the money this month. I paid first and last month’s rent
back when I moved in though. I can just use that to count as my rent, right? No, unfortunately, you can’t. This is a common misunderstanding. The landlord may call the money
paid when you first moved in, quote, “first and last month’s rent,” but really, it’s a security deposit. By law, landlords get to keep the
security deposit until you move out. So if you think that you can skip rent just because you paid a security deposit
or last month’s rent, you’re wrong. You can be evicted. Well, can I just pay a little bit at a time,
and get caught up when I have the money? No, again. If you don’t pay the full
amount of rent when it is due, you are late and can be
evicted for nonpayment of rent. Usually, rent is due on the first of the month, though, some leases provide for a different day. Don’t I have a five-day grace period to pay my rent? It will depend on your lease, but probably not. Many people think that the law gives them a five-day grace period to pay rent,
but this is incorrect. Check your lease. Some leases give you a couple of extra days
to pay your rent before a late fee is applied. What is a late fee? A late fee is a penalty payment you
have to make if you’re late on your rent. Oftentimes, the amount of the late fee
is stated in your lease. It must be reasonably related to the expenses your landlord incurs from being late, but can still be quite substantial. It is important that you
avoid late fees if you can or pay them off immediately. Some landlords will use rent
that you pay in later months first towards prior late fees
before applying it to unpaid rent. This can result in you not paying your full rent and, therefore, compiling more and more late fees, sort of like credit cards. The amount can grow even if you’re
paying your monthly rent. Huh? OK. I guess I’d better pay my rent on time. But if I don’t pay my rent, can the
landlord evict me immediately? The landlord cannot evict you
without first giving a warning and the opportunity to pay. The landlord must give you a written eviction notice —
often called a “notice to quit” — stating the exact amount of money owed and the date you must pay rent by
in order to avoid being evicted. The landlord must give you at least
seven days to pay your rent. If the landlord gives you
less than seven days to pay or states an incorrect amount
of money owed on the notice to quit, the eviction notice is invalid. If you pay the amount of rent owed
within the seven-day period, then you cannot be evicted, though you may still owe a late fee. If you do not pay, then the landlord
can file an eviction action against you. Can I offer to pay partial rent after
an eviction has been filed against me? You can, but the landlord is
not required to accept it. Partially paying the rent will extend
your time in the apartment, and may result in eviction being dismissed by the court, so most landlords will not accept rent
after filing an eviction unless you pay the full amount of rent owed. Even then, the landlord is not required
to accept it, and can still evict you. When can the landlord raise my rent? The landlord cannot raise your
rent while your lease is still in place. So for example, if you signed a one-year lease that
goes for another four months, the landlord cannot raise your rent
until those four months are up, and must include the new amount
of rent in the new lease. If you’re on a month-to-month lease or in the last month of your current lease, the landlord cannot raise your rent without giving you a full month’s notice of the new rent. This gives you the opportunity
to find a new apartment if you do not want to pay
the higher amount of rent. Thanks. I think I understand
rent much better now. [MUSIC PLAYING]

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