One of my clients, Jeff Preston, emailed a summary of the top 10 reasons why his tenants paid their rent late in 2009. They’re pretty funny. Here they are:

#10. “My work cut my hours”

#9. “May pay week is off this month”

#8. “I’ve been really sick this past week”

#7. “The bank mailed the check to the wrong address”

#6. “My daughter got married and I had to pay for the wedding”

#5. “My brother passed away”

#4. “My car was stolen”

#3. “My nephew was shot in the head and we had to pull the plug on him this past weekend”

#2. “Someone hit me across both knees with a baseball bat at work and I’ve been in the hospital”

#1. “I fell over a wheelchair at work and hit my head. I was in a coma the last few days.”
I absolutely love #2! I have wonder where the tenant works?

Do you have any funny reasons to add to the list? If so, add them in the comments section!

    57 replies to "Top 10 Reasons Why The Rent Was Late (Funny!)"

    • CRP

      I rent and I have a small rental. I have been late (one week at the most) 3 times in 10 years..during this time I had pneumonia 4 times. I have 3 small children whom get sick regularly, my husband was sick with cancer for 18 months and then passed away, my mother-in-law passed, my father passed, work was slow at times, payroll checks have been late at least once a year, we celebrate Christmas and birthdays, my vehicle sometimes needed 600 to 2000 repair… wow only late 3 times in 10 years (each time when was because i wasn’t expecting my payroll check to be late)
      Yet I have renters that are late every month and every month have a “new story”. I think they need to get a life and grow up and learn to be responsible for themselves and stop taking advantage of other people.
      I agree that some of the above items are funny in the list, but some are truly sad and should not be joked about.

    • Dave

      Sooo, if we call the bank up and tell them we can not pay our mortgage on time because our tenants lives were messed up last month and they have not paid thier rent to me on time, the bank will say, “Ok, we will work with you because of thier misfortune”?? Not on your life!! Going through 2 foreclosures last years because of horrible tenants, I know first hand, you don’t get paid and you WILL find out whom the real owner of your rental house truly is…the BANK! As an adult your number one prioties are food and shelter! NOT Christmas presents (you can not afford anyway because you didn’t preplan and save all year like you should have) and not any other excuse you can think of either. Pay your rent or get out.
      Signed…Bitter Ex-Landlord

    • Malarky

      Same tennant has hit me with all this crap in the last 3 months, they have not paid a penny rent since they moved in…!

      1. My wife has lost a child and has been in hospital ” when she was never pregnant” This really was a horrific lie!

      2. Bank sent the money to the wrong account

      3. Someone has stolen all the money from my bank account via fraud

      4. My dad was giving me the money but he has had a blood clot

      5. My little sister stole all my money

      6. The bank has messed up (again) more than 5 times.

      7. I paid my old landlord your three months rent by mistake, I was still carying his bank details in my wallet, Whoops..

      8. He finished work at 4.00 and arrived at my house at 4.09 telling me me had been to the bank and came up with a very tall and long tale about how they made a mistake and they will fix it out, my hse is 15 minutes drive from the bank.

      All these stories from the same idiot, people will say anything and use the most horrific excuses to make you feel sorry for them.

      To all you people complaining that we should feel sorry for tennants in hardship, tell me that after you have listened to their crap and LIES whilst paying the mortgages on the house they are living in and paying for legal costs to throw the scum bags out.

      Most you guys complaining just dont get it, they are almost all lying! you start out giving people the benifit of the doubt but they will take you for everything they can because the laws here let them do so.

      I will add both my tennants are working and have decent paying jobs, drive a really nice convertable car, neigbours tell me they are always bringing bags home from expensive shops. they just dont want to a their rent..

      Court in a few weeks :), big foot in the ass to kick them out and I get my property back.

    • Gayna

      One of my tenants in the past couldn’t pay the rent because he only drove a motorcycle and he had to buy a fairing (the plastic shield that protects the face of the rider on some big motorcycles) because he was tired of getting bugs in his teeth.

    • Greg Dean

      I loved reading all the excuses. In my property management business I tell every prospective renter (minimum of 3 times) that I don’t care where/how they get the money, just know the rent is the most important bill you have. If I have not rec’d the rent on time I will have you & your stuff on the curb on day #5. Funny, it seems to work.

      No, I’ve never had to enforce it.

      • Rob Minton


        Thanks for sharing. I’m going to use your line from now on – “the rent is the most important bill you have…” Nice to know you haven’t had any evictions. You’re definitely doing something right!


    • Kathy

      My favorite was the tenant who didn’t have rent because she had to buy a swimsuit so daughter could swim with uncle who was in town! Especially interesting since the conversation took place in January. (P.S. – I got rid of this Section 8 tenant as soon as her lease expired, and now have some very nice, responsible tenants renting the house.)

      • Rob Minton


        Thanks for sharing this story. I was a little creeped out by the swimming with uncle part. Tenants…


    • Becky

      My favorite is; “I can only pay $100.00 this week”.(Mind you rent is to be paid by the month.) I have been sick, etc. My first response usually is we do not rent out by the week, this is not a motel!

    • Phil

      Stop whining, yes its sad when bad things happen…the point here is that these are excuses.

      The last time I had a dead parent excuse, I checked old notes. Dad died once before in 2007.

    • Sephora

      Great News: My tenant from hell has been finaly locked out by the sheriff on 3/25/10. I am so relieved. What did she say when they told her that she has to come pick up her stuff or they will go to auction. She got very very upset and said she had no clue that she was being locked out. She than called my lawyer very upset and said she was appeal it. lol. I have a feeling she will now try to take me to court again, but that is what happens when you take in the wrong tenant. I did not realize it before, but taking in a tenant is something that you really have to be careful about. Its not only about paying the rent, its about your property, your personal peace and so much more. I say you can’t check them out enough. And from now on I will be so much more careful on who I allow to rent from me.
      all I can say is thank god its over. But is it?

    • Thom

      As a Professional Property Manager, I represent the Owner and the tenant must pay to stay. There are no excuses.

    • Bob

      I had a tenant that owes me 3 months past rent tell me last week that if I lower my rent (he doesn’t want to go negative as much!)that he will make the place available for me to show on a 24 hour notice to prospective renters. I told him that I can already show the house with a 24 hour notice, and since he is behind on the rent, I can ask him to leave at any time, and start eviction procedures. It’s amazing to me how someone can say something this stupid to me when they are still in my house only because I was giving them a chance to catch up. (They have rented from me for 5 years, and always paid every month until the last year.)

    • Rob

      None of those reasons are funny. My bank and the tax assessor don’t accept excuses and neither should the landlord. It’s the tenants obligation to pay rent on time, if they don’t pay they must move. There should be a required class for tenants on how to budget money and respect others property. The truth is most landlords are not rich (as many tenants think) and they deserve respect just like everyone else.

    • michael j

      To minimize bad tenants, make sure you NEVER rent a property without the full 1st months rent and a security deposit equal to the 1st months rent. VERIFY previous rental (drive by previous as well if possible). Serve three day notice on the 6th day rent is unpaid. No leeway, no breaks. No pay-no stay! Unfortunately, if renters see u as weak, they will exploit u.
      A positive force in negative territory, i am
      michael j

    • tony

      Obviously the bleeding heart posters do not have many rental properties or else they would be singing a different tune. Being both a past tenant and now landlord I have a pretty good idea of what goes on.
      Many tenants do not care about the fact that “rich” landlords are people too and that we have all of the same “life events” that everyone else has like deaths, job loss, health issues, etc. .Unfortunately in our “I’m a victim” goverment take care of me society ,it is easier to blame the landlord than taking responsibility for your own finances. While I have a few good tenants, the ratio of good to problematic is getting worse. My solution is to phase out of residential and into self-storage, where you can actually lock out non-paying deadbeats.

    • Sephora

      Are you saying that you paid the rent late and late fee was charged? and do you think its not fair?

    • Sephora

      that is what I tried to tell the police after the verified that she was making up stories, but the police just told me that she has the lease and has a right to do whatever she wants, she has the right to destroy the place, she has the right to do whatever she wants. So what am I supposed to do. I have to get her out of there, and I am stressed as hell because she knows exactly what she is doing and I dont.
      she seems to have a systemetic routine, i am so frustrated. you have no idea. Yes, she should be prosecuted for everything she is doing, but what can I do?

    • Rainer

      I had the same excuse for Christmas gifts…I wish I had asked her: “Now that the kids have gifts under the tree, where are you going to put the tree?” Late fee was applied.

    • John R

      Tenants are LIARS!!!! If you keep in mind that most people are id 10 t’s you won’t get mad at them, just get even….

    • Carole

      Sephora – The tenant should be prosecuted for filing a false report. She’s wasting police time (i.e. taxpayers’ money), and will do the same thing to the next Landlord who is unlucky enough to rent to her. These are the people who always see themselves as victims and will never understand that their own past decisions have led them to where they are today.

    • Carmen Isais

      As a Realtor working and representing home owners and investors I see often how real life, especially in this economy, has a trickle down effect for everyone, but directly, the “landlord”.

      Regardless of what side you are on, none of these above explanations are funny.

      Given the title of the post– I was hoping for some wit.

    • Sephora

      Thank you Rob, and I appreciate you answering me. This tenant locked herself out of the house on saturday and called the police to tell them that i locked her out and she doesnt have the key. The police didnt believe me and told her to remove the lock from the door. I had to pay for a new lock. than on sunday she called the police and told them I am not providing electricity, she turned off the switches located inside her unit and claimed she was a victim. The police called me and threatned me that if the electricity is not turned on they will fine me. I called an electrician which I had to pay extra for weekend work. With the police they went inside the unit and saw what she did. You know what they said “Sorry you dont have any rights other than evict her” I have been going crazy with her. This is a tenant that I have made so many concessions to, last month she emptied her wallet and gave me the rent $400 short telling me she has no money left to her name, I took out $40 and gave her back instead of asking her when she will have the rest of the rent. Now I am going insane worried about what she will do next until the eviction is completed.I hope the police will not belive her claims any more, but just the fact that they told me I have no rights is very disturbing. I must do something about it, only I dont know yet what I can do.

    • JimT

      Those tenant excuses are similar to many I have ever heard over the years…I have been in eviction court countless times. I agree that the bank will not listen to any excuse, but just wants the mortgatge payment…The best response I ever heard from a judge at eviction court when a tenant gave these types of excuses was, and I quote “You do not have a constitutional right to live in a property without paying the rent”, and promptly awarded me as the landlord the evicton warranty, and all the back rent owed by the tenant in a judgement. Thank you Judge for upholding the law of the land!!

    • Sephora

      This happen to be a great issue for me because first I am going through it and second I have been helping clients out with their wonderful tenants. One tenant that was evicted here a few months ago inserted tons of roaches into the wall before he moved out, lived free for a nice few months FREE, and the rest of the poor tenants were suddenly plagued with roached. I think landlords need to be more protected by the law 🙁

      • Rob Minton


        I definitely understand where you’re coming from. I’ve been renting properties for many years and it seems as if things have gotten horrible over the last 4 or 5 years. More and more tenants do not respect lease agreements, rules and regulations of the lease and aren’t too concerned about paying their rent as agreed. It’s very easy to see which tenants actually care and are honestly doing their best. In these cases, I do everything I can to work with them and help them through their tough situation. The recession has dealt them a major blow. It’s the tenants who don’t return calls, don’t take care of the property and lie (my grandmother died again) who are the hardest to deal with. Once their in the property, the only thing you can do is to evict them as quickly as possible. You have to ignore the stories they tell and just move forward to get them out. The best bet is to do a better job screening during the rental process. I’ve learned its better to let my properties sit vacant than it is to let a unqualified tenant move in out of desperation or the desire to just get it rented. Best of luck to you!

        Before 2003, I never had to evict a tenant. Today I have evictions all of the time. In fact, I have one next week. I agree things should be changed to give landlords more protection, but I don’t think this will happen anytime soon. Advise your clients to keep larger financial reserves to protect them from tenants who abuse the rental situation, steal and destroy property.


    • Mark

      I recently had a woman who was TRYing to get out of paying the rent tell me that I was telling her that her kids couldn’t have coats for the winter (by demanding past rental owed).
      That was only two weeks ago & she’s out now.
      Fortunately, you can now garnish people’s wages in Pennsylvania for back rent. (yes, it’s true). So, I told her (in a diplomatic way) that she could py me & stay or get evicted & STILL pay me.
      I told her my mortgage company doesn’t accept excuses…only cash and that I was forced to follow the same policy. (c:

    • Tom

      “my grandmother died (again)”

    • Graham Taylor

      Hi from Australia.

      This one has to be near the top of the list – on a personal property – from my property manager – tenants can’t pay and in fact have ‘done a runner last night’ due to driveby shooting with 5 shotgun blasts directed at them in my 3rd floor unit in North Parramatta, Sydney – pellets embedded everywhere – but they had ‘such nice furniture and seemed nice people’! Drug dealers for sure…other priorities (drink/drugs) were more important for them but at least no one got hurt…

    • Manny

      This is a good one.
      I was on my way to your office and I got mug , they took all my rent money.
      But you live here in the same building!
      Did you file a police report?
      What part of the building did it happen so that we could look in the cameras?
      Oh it happen outside by the trash dumpers, and it was all dark, I can’t remember much I guess cuz of trauma..

    • Todd

      Yea, I had a tenant whose only brother died twice in a two year period.

      But, my all time favorite and most common excuses are, “I gave it to God” and “The church was in trouble”.

      And ALL those excuses are funny whether are not they are true. I mean really, people. Laugh for a change. Does everything have to be a 4 alarm crisis?

      Keep up the good work, Rob.

    • Sephora

      I am in the process of evicting a tenant that came up with tons of stories every month for the past four months. To answer one of the remarks from Anon, is yes it is funny becase all of thoe EXCUSES stories are first not true and second not the landlords problem. You obviously have never had a tenant from hell that came up with good stories instead of rent, and ripped you off.
      My tenant’s first month story was that the checks she gave me for deposit were not going to be good because she had to close the bank account because the bank told her to. Later I found out that she simply closed that bank account and opened another one so that her security deposit couldnt be cashed. and that was only two days after she moved in. In the 4 months she lived there her stories were, she got bronchitis, her ex stole her check. Her ex made out the check to her name instead of my name, her dog died, her daughter needed books for school. The government send her alimony check to the wrong address. and that was only within the first two months. It is theft, plain and simple people stealing from you legally because they can, but since the police told me that I have no rights and she has all the rights now to be there for free until the eviction is complete, I may as well laugh about it. If anyone knows how to evict faster or anything else I can do to get this blood sucking vulchure out of my life, please let me know.

    • Cindy

      Most ridiculous excuse I ever got “my daughters needed new dresses for Easter.” Apparently a home is optional.

    • Steve

      I mailed it to your old office address (we moved 2 years ago and they have been sending it to the new address all along).
      I was out of town and forgot it was the first of the month.
      My husband got arrested and is still in jail.

    • Deana

      This pst month (Dec. ’09), the tenants said they had to buy Christmas presents for their kids who are grown.

    • Jerri Snarr

      Another reason for late rent: My husband had an affair and got the girl pregnant.

    • Dee

      Actually, I didn’t find any of these very funny because I have seen a lot of these situations happen to people and it causes disruption in their lives which leads to temporary things like bills getting paid late. So a little leeway on why the rent was late would be acceptable to me as a landlord. On the othere hand, if it happens month after month, then of course a harder line would be necessary and action taken to either get the rent on time or evict. The only ones on the list that I find as not valid excuses are 6,7 & 9.

    • Lloyd Freyer

      When I was a property manager, I kept a list of reasons in my desk drawer.
      As a tenant would come in to the office, with their reason for not paying rent, I’d listen seriously, nod my head and then “Just a minute, somebody already used that one this week”, and I’d pull out the list. They’d get the message, and make the effort to be on time. I’ve found the best incentive for on time payment is a daily “additional rental” fee of double rent for any period rent is past due.

    • Joe

      These reasons are funny???? Which one?

    • Joanne

      If tenants do not pay thier rent on time it is frustrating, without a doubt, however, there is obviously some reason why!!!! And I for one, find no humor or amusement in someone else’s financial hardship! FYI…..don’t spit up to the sky….it might just fall back down on you!

    • Derrick

      11. “The neighbors called my son a derogatory name so I don’t think I should have to pay my rent this month.”

      This one is definitely just as real as it is obsurd! 🙂 lol

    • Janet Wall

      I’ve been really busy and haven’t had time to mail the check!

    • Jason

      My Dad died (just about as funny as all the ones in the list) BTW #3-10 on the list, just like my contribution, not funny.

    • pat dimeo

      I spent all my money on Christmas presents. Work was slow this week this week so I didn’t get paid much. I believe you have until the 15th of the month to pay your mortgage so work with me here!

    • Lisa Evans

      My favorite one is,”IT’S CHRISTMAS TIME” I have heard them all!

    • Monica

      I like the ones that come in with ALL those excuses YET..they went and got their nails done…EVERY nail painted with at least 3 colors on them which takes much time and cost MORE!!!

    • John McVoy

      I may be deported and I need the money to pay my probation officer, but I am too sick to get my truck out of the impound lot. [Note; he works at the impound lot and drives the tow truck home].

    • Melissa

      Bought a new $50,000 sports car. (True story!)

    • Bill

      I don’t know for sure if this has been used (I can’t imagine that it hasn’t):

      “My dog ate it”

    • Anon

      How are these even funny to you? How is it funny that someone was upset and distracted because a family member passed away? or that they are hurt or sick or have lost hours at work?

      You have a pretty sick sense of what should be considered funny. Granted #s 6 and 7 are just dumb excuses. But some of the rest of these, if they were true, are just sad.

      • Rob Minton

        Seems like some of you haven’t found these reasons funny. Please understand that these reasons weren’t meant to be mean in anyway. If you’ve owned rental properties, you hear many excuses as to why someone won’t pay their rent on time. Believe it or not, tenants seem to have numerous deaths in the family. When tracked, it doesn’t seem to be possible. I, like others, have had deaths in the family, but have never ever used one of them as an excuse not to pay my mortgage. At some point, you become hardened to the “stories” people tell you for not following through with their rent and you actually find some of the reasons humorous.

    • Robert Kim

      One tenant told me that because of Christmas, he had gifts to buy and he couldn’t pay the rent on time. I reminded him that Christmas comes at the same time every year and charged him the late penalty.

    • […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Rob Minton, Rich Reynolds. Rich Reynolds said: Top 10 Reasons Tenants Paid rent Late in 2009! Good Stuff! […]

    • Victoria Tankersley

      I have been renting property for over 30 years and I’m so sorry to say that people are not getting any better. While I have some very good people as renters, I also have more and more people who do not have any respect for anyone or anything- I wonder how they got to this point in life.

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