The True Cost of Paying Rent Late

The first of the month can sneak up on you, and if your bank account isn’t ready to pay up, you could be seeing red. How much does it actually cost to pay your rent late?

Know the fees.

Your lease agreement will list the late fee charged by your landlord if you pay after the designated grace period (also noted in the lease).

Cost: 5%-10% of rent amount

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Know the deadlines.

If you still have not paid rent after the late fee, your landlord will most likely begin the eviction process. Depending on your state’s laws, the landlord will send a written demand to pay rent or move out (also known as a notice to “pay or quit”) with a deadline of 3-10 days. Landlords usually charge a filing fee that covers the court’s fees and processing.

After the period of time in the notice expires, your landlord can file for eviction or dispossessory, which is a legal notice to the court that you have not paid rent and the landlord wants to take back possession of the property. The sheriff’s office or a designated process server will notify you in writing (via USPS mail or posted on your front door) that the landlord has filed eviction. Pay attention to any court deadlines such as filing your answer.

  • Filing an answer means you are officially responding to the court’s notice of eviction. In most counties/states, filing an answer automatically places your case on the court’s magistrate calendar. This also means that your landlord may charge an additional attorney fee for attending the court date.
  • Failing to show up to your court date will result in a “default judgment” in the landlord’s favor. A writ of possession will be taken out right away, which means the landlord is allowed to take back possession of the home once the sheriff’s office completes the eviction.
  • Attending court may allow for a court-ordered payment plan, but it may be risky depending on your state’s usual process. If you miss any court-ordered payments, the landlord can file the writ of possession.

Costs: $100-$250 Filing Fee
             $200-$300 Attorney Fee
             $50-$100 Writ of Possession

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Know how it affects your credit.

Did you know that civil court filings are part of your credit score? Every time a landlord files for eviction, the case is reported to the credit bureaus. Future landlords and creditors will see the eviction filings, even if the eviction was cancelled by a payment made in full. Too many filings will disqualify you from some rentals. It’s a good idea to use free credit reporting sites yearly so you’re not surprised by your score or history in the future.

Cost: Negative rental history and/or lower credit score

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Know your options.

Till now offers a rental loan that may be cheaper than your late fee! Depending on your state and application, using a rental loan that can be repaid bi-weekly over several months may be your cheapest option. Paying back the loan actually helps improve your credit score by building credit history! To apply for a rental loan visit: https://tillsavings.com/loan_application

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Plan ahead whenever possible and research your options so you’re not hit by surprises later. Happy renting!

 

Living Green – Energy Savings That Save Money

Summer is on the horizon, and with it comes hotter temperatures – and higher utility bills. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2015 the average amount spent on utilities by consumers was $3,885!!

Did you know saving energy can also save you a lot of money? Follow these tips below and you’ll be seeing green!

 

Change Out Lightbulbs

Did you know that swapping your 5 most frequently used lightbulbs in your home with compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) can save $65 per year? As a bonus, they are also brighter and last 6-10 times longer!

  • Always turn off lights when leaving a room. Turning off just one 60-watt incandescent bulb that would otherwise burn eight hours a day can save about $15 per year! (Energy Star)

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Phantom Energy Sucks

Electronics like cell phone chargers use electricity even when on stand-by mode. This “phantom” power load accounts for 15% of household electricity usage. Unplug electronics when not in use, or use a power strip to help avoid unnecessary energy use.

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Showers Over Baths

A ten-minute shower can use less water than taking a bath. Limit those bubble baths whenever possible and switch to a low-flow shower head that can also save you up to $150 per year on electricity.

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Cold Water Laundry

Hot water accounts for about 90% of the energy your washing machine uses to wash clothes — only 10% goes to electricity used by the washer motor. Switching to cold water-only laundry can save more than $40 per year!

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Don’t Touch The Thermostat

Summer months cause a strain on your AC and your wallet. Cut costs by setting the thermostat between 74 and 78 degrees. Change the AC filter regularly and shut the blinds or drapes to keep the sun’s rays out.

  • Setting your thermostat too low can actually freeze your unit, which makes it stop working altogether. If your AC isn’t working, turn it off and give it a few hours to thaw before turning back on.

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Even small changes like these can make a big difference with your monthly utility bills. What energy-saving habits do you practice?

5 Quick Home Fixes Anyone Can Do

Whether you’re an apartment renter, homeowner, or even living with family, there are a few basic maintenance tricks that everyone should know.

 

  1. Unclog hair in seconds

    No one wants to stand in a tub with slow-draining water or use a sink that won’t drain. Enter Zip It, your new secret weapon. For under $3, this handy single-use tool is more convenient than putting in a maintenance request and is available at Home Depot, Amazon, and other retailers. Simply push it down all the way, pull up, and throw away!

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  2. Reset a circuit breaker

    If your residence was built after 1960, chances are there’s a magical black box (electrical panel) that supplies power to appliances, lighting, and outlets. When you overload a circuit (say, plug in a hair dryer and straightener at the same time), the designated breaker “trips” and shuts off power to that section.

    Open the panel cover, look for one switch that is flipped off (usually different direction than the rest), and switch it back on. When in doubt, try switching each one on and off in turn until power is restored. If you don’t know the location of your electrical panel, be sure to ask your landlord.

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  3. Shut off water in an emergency

    A pipe bursts in the middle of the night or you find a leak in your kitchen coming from under the sink; what do you do? Waiting for a plumber or maintenance tech can leave your personal items in danger, so shut off the water supply quickly to minimize damage. If you’re in an apartment or the leak is limited to one area, shut off the water supply at the source.

    Locate the oval knob and turn until water shuts off. If there’s major leaking or a pipe burst, find the main water supply (usually in basement or crawl space) where the water comes in from the street line. The shut off valve will either look like a spigot knob or a lever. Just make sure to restore water once the repair has been done!

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  4. Change the AC filter

    Did you know replacing your AC filter monthly or quarterly improves the HVAC system function and cuts down energy bills? Locate your filter by looking behind the main cooling vent near the thermostat or in a slot in the furnace. Make sure the unit is off before you unscrew or remove the filter. Make sure your replacement is the same size/type (or better yet, take the old filter with you to the store).

    Slide your new filter into place, making sure to use the arrow on the filter for guidance. Set a reminder on your phone’s calendar to replace regularly according to manufacturer’s directions.

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  5. Reset the garbage disposal

    Garbage disposals also have their own automatic shut off function if it is clogged, runs for a long time, overheats, or breaks. If you flip the switch and do not hear anything, a reset may be needed. Make sure the disposal is set to “off” and locate the small red button on the disposal box under the sink. If the button pops right back out when pushed, wait 10 minutes and try again. If it stays in, turn the cold water back on in the sink and turn your switch to the “on” position.

    You can also try carefully removing any debris while the switch is set to the “off” position. If the disposal still doesn’t run, call your maintenance team or consider replacement.

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    Easy, quick repairs that can zap frustrations in minutes so you can get back to your life. What are your easy maintenance tips?

The Real Cost of Moving

We’ve all been there: Your lease is expiring very soon, and you only have a few days to notify your landlord if you’re moving or renewing your lease.

Use these guidelines to determine your all-in, out-of-pocket cost of moving.

New Security Deposit – $1,000 (usually equal to 1 months’ rent)
First Month’s Rent – $1,000
Application & Admin Fees – $350
Pet Fees – $300 (if applicable)
New Utility Deposits – $350
Moving Company or Truck Rental – $200
Moving Boxes/Supplies – $100
Groceries – $150
Unexpected Expenses – $100

Total Moving Budget = $3,250 – $3,550

Creating a budget is the first step to determine if you’re ready to move. Although new groceries and utility deposits seem excessive, remember that starting over often means starting from scratch on both fronts. Be sure to add a cushion for unexpected expenses like gas for the 20 trips between your old & new places or your car needing repair in the middle of the big move.

Not ready to fork over that amount of dough? Ask yourself why you want to move in the first place.

  • If it’s related to maintenance or unit condition, contact your property manager to discuss possible resolutions.
  • Does the rent increase bother you? In truth, rents usually increase about 3% per year to keep up with inflation. Talk to your property manager if you think there’s room to negotiate a better rate. Remember, rents will increase everywhere, so moving doesn’t guarantee a fixed rental rate for the future.
  • Switching jobs and need a better location? Your community manager may have other properties closer to work, so ask! You may be able to transfer your security deposit or negotiate your rental amount just for being a loyal renter.

Renewal perks are becoming pretty common, so find out if there could be a free carpet cleaning or unit upgrade offer for renewing your lease. The more years you sign on for, the bigger your bargaining power.

If your landlord participates in Till’s Loyalty Program, your monthly on-time cash incentive may increase to $20, $30, or even $40 per month! Wow!

Total up your costs versus any potential savings or perks to renewing before making your ultimate decision. Happy renting!

Slow Mover

Renter-Friendly DIY Décor

You’ve moved into your new apartment or rental home, congrats! Time to add your personal touch.

Stop.

Before you start painting or hanging pictures and curtains, consider the impact to the unit – and your security deposit – when you move out.

Most landlords charge $75-$100 per wall that requires repainting, and that number can double if you use dark colors that require primer. Making holes larger than a standard-size nail? Add patching and painting to the list of damages to the tune of $25 per hole. Maximize your security deposit refund by using these renter-friendly decorating tricks from the start. Your wallet will thank you!

Removable Wallpaper

Tons of companies are offering removable wallpaper options that appeal to creative minds and cautious renters alike. Some require glue paste, while others are not reusable, so be sure to check the specifications before you purchase. Our favorite peel-and-stick options include these beautiful geometric designs by Chasing Paper and fun florals by Walls Need Love.

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Sticker Décor

The Crafty Cathy’s out there can create your own wall masterpieces with hexagon mirror stickers or Washi tape. Need inspiration? Design Sponge used Washi tape as picture frames, and Everything Emily made her own wallpaper design using simple crosses. For a stick-and-go option that will “wow” your guests, this patterned headboard decal can dramatically change the look of your bedroom in minutes.

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Picture and Curtain Hanging

Command Hooks can go a long way in adding functional touches to your space, especially since they now come in brushed nickel and bronze. They can be used for towel hooks, curtain rod holders, or hanging pictures, and by design they remove cleanly without damaging walls.

Kitchen Makeover

The kitchen of your dreams is awaiting your DIY! There are so many products on the market that help transform your kitchen with minimal effort and are easily removable. Check out these subway tile wall stickers for the backsplash you always wanted. No stainless appliances? Simply add faux stainless steel drawer liner to the front of your refrigerator or dishwasher for an instant facelift under $11.

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Fake Flooring

Rugs are so 2017. Jazz up your living space with vinyl floor cloth that comes in varieties from tile patterns to traditional hardwood. Need a more hands-on project? Peel-and-stick vinyl floor tiles are super easy to install and remove when you move out. They even come in adorable ceramic patterns.

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Don’t forget to take down your décor before your final move-out walkthrough. Save that security deposit for your next place!

5 Simple Saving Tips to Start Today

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Everyone knows saving money is a good thing, but where do you start? Whether you are starting to save for school, retirement, or a basic emergency fund, follow these small steps and watch your money grow over time.

  1. Empty your pockets and wallet each day.
    Put your change in a piggy bank or savings jar. Take it to the bank directly; money-sorting machines charge a fee!
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  2. Take control of your shopping habits.
    Go to the grocery store with a plan for the week’s meals, and stick to it! Avoid the sale displays; they may not actually be a “great deal.” At the checkout line, keep your eyes on the prize and avoid last-minute impulse grabs (looking at you, magazines and chocolate bars).
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  3. Declutter your life.
    Storage unit fees add up after the first month’s promotion. Thanks to sites such as LetGo, OfferUp, and Gone, selling your excess stuff is now easier than ever (no garage sales required). Also remember to check out local consignment stores or re-sale stores like Plato’s Closet that will pay money on the spot for your clothes.
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  4. Use coupons or wait for deals.
    You may be picturing your mother cutting out coupons from the weekly newspaper, but coupons are now more high-tech than ever. RetailMeNot, The Krazy Coupon Lady, and Target’s Cartwheel app can be downloaded on your mobile phone and pulled up while waiting in the checkout line.
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  5. Pay your rent on time.
    Late fees and legal fees not only take away large chunks of your hard-earned paycheck, but poor payment history can negatively affect your credit. Too many late payments over time also may force your landlord to not renew your lease. Save money and stress by paying before the late fee hits.
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As a bonus, enrollment in Till’s Loyalty Program gives you back rent money into a savings account. It’s like the landlord is paying you for making your rent payment on time!

Sign up today to get started.

Unlock financial success and watch your savings grow!

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