The appearance of the holidays usually means the disappearance of money, and sometimes, even the most frugal and responsible renters are faced with the inability to pay rent. If this happens to you, don’t panic. By handling yourself professionally and following certain guidelines, you should be able to convince your landlord to defer your payment due date.

Although being unable to make a payment can be embarrassing, do not feel that you should avoid the landlord until you have the money. This is immature, and more than likely, ill feelings will rise between the two of you. Likewise, do not submit a check you know is going to bounce. This will not buy you any time, and you’ll end up owing even more money than before. Not only will you be responsible for paying the bank fee for a returned check, but your landlord can legally charge you for this in addition to any late fees that might apply. Be responsible enough to approach your landlord and explain the situation.

If you can, explain to your landlord that the problem is only temporary due to the holidays. When asking for an extension, be reasonable in your request. Don’t expect your landlord to accept a payment two weeks late with no qualms. Landlords have payments to make, too. If you absolutely cannot make the full payment within a few days, try to pay at least a portion of it. If you can do this, the landlord may be able justify a longer extension.

If this is the first time you have made a late rent payment, and you have been a good tenant up to this point, the landlord will not want to lose you. Most landlords would much rather accept payment a few days late rather than waiting weeks to find new tenants. Eviction can be expensive and inconvenient for both you and the landlord. However, if you live in a highly desirable area, your landlord could have no problem evicting you, and he has the legal right to do so.

If you are lucky, your landlord will agree to extend the due date. If he does, you should immediately put the agreement in writing. Remember that the landlord is doing you a favor, and you should follow through with your promises. Be prepared to pay late fees if they are specified in the lease, and try to keep your finances in order so that you aren’t faced with this situation again.