It happens sometimes that people get behind on bills and rent. Maybe you had unexpected expenses, an emergency illness, or something else came up. If you are going to be late to pay and you know in advance, then you should definitely address this issue with your landlord.
But no, your landlord cannot harass you for money wherever you are known to go, and you do have recourse in the law if that happens. Let’s consider rent, late payments, and the collections process.
State tenancy laws differ and you will have to look up the local rules to determine exactly what a landlord must do to properly collect past due rent. Generally speaking, you must receive notice that rent is late, in writing. This notification should also outline the next steps that the landlord will take if you do not make a payment within a specific period. State statutes may dictate other requirements for the notice document, and if the notice is somehow deficient, you could use that to your benefit in a legal dispute with your landlord.
Before you freak out, check your lease terms again. Make sure you understand how you violated the terms of the deal, if indeed you did. If it is still possible, attempt to negotiate a resolution with your landlord. Though your landlord may like to oust you from your space immediately, this relationship between landlord and tenant is highly regulated, and that can help protect tenants.
While state statutes are unlikely to specifically address the question of whether a landlord can collect your rent from you at work, the fact that there is a rent collection procedure outlined indicates that a landlord cannot deviate from it, including by going to your job and demanding funds. Details may differ from state to state, but all of them have specific eviction procedures, none of which including harassment at work.
Practically speaking, this kind of move by a landlord is likely to jeopardize your work, too, which means your rent is going to be even later. What your landlord can do if you are late on rent is begin the process to try to remove you from the apartment. If your landlord resorts to illegal means of collecting money, like public harassment, you can call the police.
Talk to a Lawyer
Sometimes landlords get excited about a late rent payment and imagine that they’ll soon get a new tenant who can pay much more. You as a tenant struggling with your rent may feel trapped by the situation and certain that you’re going to be booted from your home.
Don’t be so sure. Talk to a lawyer. Many attorneys consult for free or a minimal fee and will be happy to advise you about your options. Even a tenant behind on rent is not powerless, and there are laws in place to protect you.