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What Are Quarter Days?

What Are Quarter Days?
What Are Quarter Days?

Commercial rent has a long history and this often throws up some unusual terms you might not have heard of such as ‘quarter days’. So if you are new to the world of commercial renting, here is a brief explanation of what the term means.

Quarter days have been used in connection with commercial rent for hundreds of years, with these days marking each quarter in a year when the rent falls due. Most commercial rents are payable quarterly in advance, therefore it certainly pays to keep on top of rental payments when they fall due on these dates.

Not all commercial landlords stick to the traditional dates of course, some prefer to use different systems and different payment dates depending on what is agreed with the commercial tenant.

Key Takeaways

  • Quarter days are four traditional dates that form modern commercial rent payment dates in England and Wales.
  • The quarter days are 25th March, 24th June, 29th September, 25th December.
  • These days have been important since the Middle Ages and remain crucial for commercial rent agreements today.

The History of Quarter Days

Historically, the quarter days had huge significance and represented the changing of the seasons along with shifts across society, dictating hiring and school and university term dates and, of course, the dates rent was due.

The traditional names for the quarter days are:

  • 25th March – Lady Day
  • 24th June – Midsummer Day
  • 29th September – Michaelmas
  • 25th December – Christmas

Aside from being the first quarter day for commercial rent payments, Lady Day on the old Julian calendar is equivalent to the 5th April in the Gregorian calendar and remains the day we mark the end of the tax year for personal taxation in the UK.

Quarter Days Today and Alternatives

Due to commercial rents being grounded in the tradition of quarter days, it is not uncommon to see them referenced in contracts and agreements without the dates themselves being stated.

Unless the agreement states otherwise, it is likely that references to quarter days today still refer to these traditional dates in England and Wales. While not as common as the conventional days, some alternative dates for quarterly rent could be the 1st of January, April, July and October, with the 1st being a more memorable date for those making and receiving payment.

Some commercial landlords may also consider a monthly payment plan, improving cash flow and reduced reliance on larger sum payments and perhaps increased likelihood of timely payment.

While there are those who propose updating the current quarter day payment calendar to a monthly system in line with many other bills and payment plans, quarter days remain deeply embedded in present day commercial property.

Despite these dates having a much wider relevance outside of commercial rent in the past, these dates are still legally enforceable when it comes to the payment of rent for landlords and their tenants.

Ensuring Rent is Paid on Quarter Days

There are several ways that commercial landlords can help ensure their tenant is prompt with payment on the agreed dates.

  • Clear contracts and administration – Having clear communication and straightforward administrative procedures for the collection of rent is essential to tenants paying on time.
  • Clarity of Dates – Making it clear what the quarter days are, any grace periods and consequences for missing these periods must be clear to the tenant.
  • Sending Reminders – Sending the tenant periodic reminders, direct warnings and notifying them of your intent to pursue legal action can help in securing unpaid rent without the need for debt recovery specialists.

Non-Payment of Commercial Rent on Quarter Days

Unfortunately, non-payment of rent can’t always be avoided. If you are a landlord faced with having to pursue rent that hasn’t been paid by the due date, then you may be able to recover debt using the CRAR law which falls under the Tribunals Courts and Enforcement Act 2007, Part 3. This can be actioned if tenants have missed payments equivalent to a minimum of 7 days.

Whether the tenancy agreement uses quarter days or alternative payment dates, our rent arrears specialists have extensive knowledge of the processes and the law to provide you with effective commercial rent arrears recovery enforcement.

Read our detailed guide to CRAR Law or contact our team today to see how we can help you with your commercial debt recovery.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the four cross-quarter days?

The four cross-quarter days are:

  • 2nd February – Candlemas
  • 1st May – May Day
  • 1st August – Lammas
  • 1st November – All Hallows

Cross-quarter days are different from quarter days and represent the holidays that fall in the periods between quarter days.

How Can I Remember the Quarter Days?

A helpful way to remember the four quarter days is that March has five letters, and so the date falls on the 25th. June has four letters, and its quarter date is the 24th. September has nine letters and makes the third quarter day the 29th. The last is the 25th which is Christmas Day1.

Does the US have different quarter days?

Yes, quarter days in the US are 1st January, April, July and October2.


The Clearway Team

The Clearway Team

Clearway is one of the UK’s most successful, innovative and rapidly expanding integrated security services and intelligent protection organisations – designed to protect people, property and assets.

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