If you only live in an apartment part of the month, you may only owe partial rent.
When searching for an apartment, you probably looked for a rental rate that seemed fair for one month. But what if you move in on the 15th? Or the 25th? You may not owe for a full month if you only live there for a part of it. That’s where prorated rent comes in.
Prorated rent is how renters and landlords handle partial rent payments. Here’s what it is and how it works.
1. What is prorated rent?
Prorated rent is a portion of the rental rate that matches whatever portion of the month you’re living in the apartment. So if you rent an apartment and don’t move in until the 20th of a 30-day month, your prorated rent would likely be one-third of your regular rental rate.
At the end of your lease, if your landlord needs you to move out before the last day of the month—or if you need to stay an extra day or two into the next month—prorated rent would be used to determine the amount due.
2. When can you request prorated rent?
If you’re moving into an apartment on any day other than the first of the month or moving out any day other than the last, you may qualify for prorated rent. Some landlords will proactively offer to prorate your rent. Sometimes your lease will detail all the situations in which your rent might be prorated and when it won’t be, so check there if you’re unsure. If your lease doesn’t mention prorated rent, you’ll need to ask for it.
Whether or not you should ask for prorated rent typically boils down to what’s fair to both you and the landlord. If you’re allowed to stay in your apartment until the end of the month, but you decide to move out early, it’s likely fair to just pay the full amount. On the other hand, if another renter is moving in early because you’re leaving, it’s fair to ask for your rent to be prorated. After all, the landlord will probably charge the next tenant for those extra days.
There are no specific, nationwide renters rights regarding prorated rent. But there are many state and local landlord tenant laws that could apply to certain prorated rent situations. If you feel you have a legal case to pay prorated rent, check with your local housing authority, and they should be able to offer you advice.
3. How should you ask for prorated rent?
If you’re going to ask for prorated rent, do it in writing and politely. If you are moving into a place mid-month, include in your letter how much you are looking forward to renting the apartment, and to having a friendly, fair relationship with the landlord. Then make your case.
Keep in mind that requesting prorated rent does not guarantee it will happen. If the issue is not addressed in the rental agreement or by law, the landlord is at liberty to decide what to charge for rent during a partial month. For this reason, it’s good to set your move-in date and settle any related prorated rent issues before signing your lease.
4. How much prorated rent do you pay?
Calculating prorated rent is generally easy—whatever percentage of the month you have access to your apartment, you pay the same percentage of your rent. But there are some complicating factors. After all, not every month has the same number of days. Sometimes the 15th is exactly half the month, but not always.
- Determine your daily rental rate. It’s a little different depending on the month. To figure it out for the month you need to prorate, take your monthly rental rate and divide it by the number of days in the month.
- Multiply the daily rental fee by the number of days you owe rent for that month. The total is your prorated rent.
- And here’s a tip: Though February has fewer days than other months, don’t expect to receive prorated rent if you’re living there from the 1st through the 28th (amazingly, renters have tried this). Your monthly rent is your monthly rent, and February is a month, regardless of how many days it contains.
Prorated rent can be a big money saver for tenants. Even if you are moving in on the first, it’s a great idea to ask your landlord a question about their prorating policy in writing before signing your lease. Then, one way or another, you’ll avoid surprises and conflicts later on.
If you’re paying prorated rent at the end of your lease, your next moving day might be coming up. Here’s a moving checklist to help.