If an apartment you wish to rent will be ready before the first of the month, you and your landlord may agree to start your lease earlier. You should pay prorated rent in this situation, reflecting the fact that you have possession of your new apartment only for a portion of the first month. Here's how to calculate prorated rent so you can check your landlord's math before you sign your lease.
How to Prorate Rent for a Partial Month
The basic calculation for prorating rent involves figuring the rent amount per day for the month in question, then multiplying the daily rent by the number of days you will occupy the apartment:
- Determine how many days there are in your first month. If you've arranged with your landlord to have your lease begin on November 20, for instance, note that there are 30 days in the month of November.
- Divide your monthly rent by the total number of days in the month. Following the above example, if your monthly rent will be $600, divide this figure by 30. The result—$20—is the amount of rent per day for each day of November. ($20 per day times 30 days equals $600.)
- Figure out how many days you'll have the apartment in the first (partial) month. Following the above example, if your lease begins on November 20, you will pay for the apartment for 11 days in the first month (November 20–30).
- Calculate the prorated rent. Multiply the number of days (step 3) by the daily rent (step 2) to determine the prorated rent for your first month. In this example, you would multiply 11 days by $20 to get $220. So, you would owe $220 in rent for November, then $600 a month beginning with December's rent.
Tips for Prorating Rent and Moving in Early
The most important thing to remember when signing a lease and moving in before the first of the month (or the landlord's standard billing period) is that the date you begin paying rent must be noted on the lease. This is also the date on which you are able to occupy the apartment. Don't pay rent for any days that aren't included in the lease period, and don't pay rent if the apartment isn't ready for you to move into. Here are some other tips for prorating rent:
- When performing your calculations, keep in mind that you must account for every day of the month, including weekdays, weekends, and holidays.
- If your first partial month happens to be in February during a leap year, remember that the month has 29 days, not 28.
- You can prorate your rent using an online calculator instead of doing a manual calculation. Some calculators will provide the prorated rent for more than one month. This is useful if your rent payment is normally due in the middle of the month and you're moving in before or after the payment date; for example, the rent is due the 15th, but you're moving in on the 18th, so you'll pay prorated rent in two different months—and the daily amount for each month will be slightly different.