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Ask Dave Kennett Your Own Question
Dave Kennett
Dave Kennett, Lawyer (JD)
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 27689
Experience:  25 years experience in general law, including real estate, criminal, traffic, and domestic relations
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My tenant signed a contract to pay $500 a month through May

Customer Question

My tenant signed a contract to pay $500 a month through May 2009. She moved out and wants to pay me the balance @$100 a month which would take 25 months. I need the money, now! Can I charge her interest? A late fee? Is she breeching the contract? Is there any way I can force the issue? I live in North Carolina.
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Dave Kennett replied 8 years ago.

DearCustomer- In order to "force" the issue you would have to file a suit for the past due rent. If you had an acceleration clause in your rental contract then you can also sue for the balance due through May. In your suit you can ask for interest from the date of judgment.


Once you have a judgment then you will have to collect and if the tenant doesn't have the money the only thing you can do is try to attach her assets. At least a judgment will protect you more than some verbal agreement pay. You may end up still taking $100 a month but you can at least get interest on your money and you will have a legal way to collect.


David Kennett - JD - Attorney at Law

Customer: replied 8 years ago.

1. I don't know what an "accleration" clause is;


2. At this time, the rent is only one month due, so today, she only owes me $400. I don't believe I can sue at this time for $2,500. She is contracted to be there through May. This is why I asked about breach of contract. I have her check for $100 (uncashed) for January.


3. I was hoping to get her to pay with a more subtle approach and that perhaps the threat of interest being charged and a late fee would do it. BUT, I don't know how high I can go with that in North Carolina. Thanks!

Expert:  Dave Kennett replied 8 years ago.

First, an acceleration clause is wording in the lease that says if a rental contract is breached then all of the balance of the rent is due. In your case you could sue for the entire amount through May. If there is no acceleration clause you can still file the suit but theoretically the defendant could raise this as a defense stating that only the past due rent is due.


I understand you would like a "subtle" approach but other than making phone calls or writing letters there's not much you can do and there would be no way to enforce an interest charge. A suit usually gets the attention of a defendant so that is what I would recommend. She has obviously breached the lease contract so you have grounds to file.



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Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Thank you very much.
Expert:  Dave Kennett replied 8 years ago.
No problem and thanks for using our service - Dave