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According to the official rules of Monopoly,

The owner may not collect the rent if he/she fails to ask for it before the second player following throws the dice.

Suppose Player A's property is landed on by Player B, and neither player acknowledges that rent is owed. Then Player B rolls and lands on Income Tax, and pays 10% of his/her total worth. Between Player B's turn and Player C's turn, Player A asks for the rent.

Should the game be rewound to just before Player B paid Income Tax, and the 10% figure be recalculated? Is the rent in this situation considered to be paid at the time Player A asked for it, or at the time Player B triggered the debt by landing on Player A's property?

If Player A acknowledges the debt intentionally at this time as a strategy, is there any tournament or other official precedent for disallowing or penalizing the play as bad sportsmanship? Similarly, is it legal for Player A to wait until the last possible instant to ask for rent in hopes that Player B will, i.e., purchase a house on his/her turn and then remove it to pay the rent?

If these are not disallowed, is it legal for Player B to force Player A to collect payment before Player A asks for it? Can Player B pay Player A without Player A's consent as soon as Player B lands on Player A's property, or between their turns? Can Player B perhaps even pay Player A after Player B rolls and lands on Income Tax, but before the 10% is numerically locked in?

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  • I could be wrong but the highest rent value is $2000 (Boardwalk with a hotel) which would make the difference in property tax $200 and while that is the most I am not sure how much of a difference it would make outside of the player no longer being able to afford to pay the rent.
    – Joe W
    Jun 8 at 20:28
  • I would not consider $200 trivial, perhaps situationally relevant. And this situation could occur multiple times throughout the game.
    – user10478
    Jun 8 at 21:14
  • $200 is only if they land on Boardwalk with max hotels and most likely it will be much lower then that. As for it happening multiple times in a single game I would think that is pretty rare as a player would have to land on the property, have another roll and then land on income tax. Personally in all the years that I played the game I didn't land on income tax all that often.
    – Joe W
    Jun 8 at 22:17
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    This brings up an interesting question. If a player lands on two different properties and can only pay the rent on one (or neither) which player would they go bankrupt to? Would it be the order that they landed on the property or the order that they got asked to pay? It would seem like bad practice to let them go bankrupt to the first player if that rent was missed and the player chose to not ask for it until it could not be paid.
    – Joe W
    Jun 9 at 12:49

3 Answers 3

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The game does not rewind.

Here is the most relevant bit from the 2009 Monopoly World Championship Rules:

10. What happens if someone calls for rent while the next player has just thrown the dice?

If the dice are already on the table when someone calls for rent, the roller moves their token and takes action for the space they land on. Once their turn is over, the other player can collect the rent owed from earlier in the game.

If the dice are still in the air when someone calls for rent, place the roll to one side and settle the rent immediately. The roller then moves according to their roll (unless they were the rent-payer and were bankrupted on that turn).

It's clear from this that actions that occurred before the collection of rent are left as-is.

Whether or not a player can tactically delay asking for rent in order to force another player into bankruptcy is not directly addressed in the rules. The tournament rules specify:

7. How long do I have to ask for rent?

In Championship Monopoly, you can ask for rent until the second player to your left throws the dice. This is to encourage good sportsmanship. E.G. Player A lands on your property, Player B takes a turn. You can still ask for rent. As soon as the dice leave Player C’s hand, you have missed your chance.

The rule explicitly mentions that it exists "to encourage good sportsmanship". The spirit of the rule is so that the next player can't grab the dice and roll to prevent a player in the lead from being able to collect on rent. If the payer pointed out that they owed rent and the payee refused to acknowledge that until one turn later to gain material advantage, this would be a pretty cut and dry case of bad sportsmanship.

A payee waiting to collect on rent when the payer hasn't mentioned it is a murkier area. I think this is unlikely to be a sound strategy due to the risk of losing their opportunity to collect if one of the following players is particularly fast at beginning their turn, but it may be legal.

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  • This answer is helpful and addresses the question. I would just note that "using an intentional delay to tactical advantage is clearly not in line with good sportsmanship" seems to me an overdrawn inference, at least in light of the linked document by itself. It is perfectly plausible that tactically utilizing a rule designed to prevent would-be bad sportsmanship is not itself considered bad sportsmanship (I recently asked an MTG question which I believe falls into this category). In fact, if I was in charge of Monopoly, I would value incentive compatibility over intuition adherence here
    – user10478
    Jun 9 at 19:00
  • and consider the tactic to be fair game, so as not to give players an incentive to lie about their intentions. On the other hand, I would not permit players to tactically utilize the rule that if the wrong type of card is picked up, it is placed on the bottom of the deck, so ultimately it's a subjective judgment of how to manage the tradeoff until official clarity is provided I guess.
    – user10478
    Jun 9 at 19:02
  • @user10478 I've toned down the sportsmanship claims a bit. I think that delaying the collection of rent after the payer has pointed it out is bad sportsmanship, but simply delaying for lack of anyone saying anything is much murkier. It's unusual for a rule on game procedure to mention sportsmanship in the first place (other than delay of game), so there's not a lot of general game rules precedent to go off of here.
    – Zags
    Jun 9 at 19:07
  • Note that the Championship rules explicitly differ from the standard Monopoly rules on the time window for collecting rent. Jun 9 at 19:09
  • @L.ScottJohnson how so? It's still until the second player following the player who lands on the property rolls the dice.
    – Zags
    Jun 9 at 19:50
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You misunderstand the game rules:

When you land on a property that is owned by another player, the owner collects rent from you in accordance with the list printed on its Title Deed card.

Thus the rent due by Player B to Player A is due when Player B lands on a property owned by Player A; not when Player A demands or acknowledges it. This puts a dual obligation on both players to ensure the correct rent is paid.

As a game expecting ethical behaviour by al participants, it is incumbent on Player B to make prompt payment of rent due regardless of how quickly, or not the owning player demands such. Any player intentionally avoiding payment of rent due is playing unethically (by the official rules). It's of a kind with stealing from the Bank when other players have their attention elsewhere.

The guidance for rectifying the irregularity of payment not being made when due is simply that: How best to restore the proper game situation, and setting a limit on how far back such rectification should be attempted.

This of course assumes play by ethical, attentive, and sober participants. Frat house games played on a temporary table of 6 or more empty 2-4's should simply agree on what rules all participants can be expected to recall and abide by in their progressive state of insobriety or inattentiveness.

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  • This does not appear to answer the question of what to do with the property tax payment that was calculated and paid before rent was paid. While what you say is true about paying rent the issue is it can be missed at times and the rules even have a part for how long it can be missed and still paid.
    – Joe W
    Jun 9 at 12:47
  • Something that I just realized is there is another semi related question about players being able to bid more then they can afford on property up for auction that might be relevant to the ethical behavior argument. boardgames.stackexchange.com/questions/57400/…
    – Joe W
    Jun 11 at 16:15
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No rewinding. The rent is paid when it is demanded (within the allowable window of time). That's it.

And the rent is not paid until/unless the player asks for it, by virtue of the phrasing "The owner may not collect the rent if he/she fails to ask for it before the second player following throws the dice.."

Also, a tangental note: "second player following" means "next player" in this case. Other editions make this clearer.

Current rules (as of this answer) at Hasbro:

If they don’t ask before the next player rolls the dice, you don’t have to pay!

Wiki:

When the non-owner lands on a property that somebody else owns, the owner has to do something. A property owner must ask that non-owner to pay the rent before the next player rolls the dice.

As well as others editions:

1972:

Note: If the owner fails to ask for his rent before the next throw of the dice no rent may be collected.

2005:

IF THE OWNER FAILS TO ASK FOR RENT BEFORE THE NEXT THROW OF THE DICE, NO RENT IS COLLECTED.

Apparently, one World Championship (in 2009) used yet another rule:

In Championship Monopoly, you can ask for rent until the second player to your left throws the dice.

(emphasis added).

Which is a bit odd, because as written, it keys off of players' position relative to you the property owner rather than relative to the player landing on your property.

Those rules go on to "e.g" their way into the more sensible framework:

E.G. Player A lands on your property, Player B takes a turn. You can still ask for rent. As soon as the dice leave Player C’s hand, you have missed your chance.

But note that this is an explicit change for "Championship Monopoly" to the standard rules. The reason given for the change is "to encourage good sportsmanship".

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  • 1
    To me, "second player following" is unambiguous (for the purposes of this question, I only care about regular Monopoly, not spinoffs). I assume the rule is in place to prevent the next player from racing to roll the dice before rent is acknowledged, which may be indirectly beneficial to them in some situations. The Wiki page does not have citations for some reason, so I don't know why it says that.
    – user10478
    Jun 9 at 15:42
  • Well, again, that's not important to the answer, but "second player following" is ambiguous. If you take "first player following" as the next player, then "second player following" would be the player after that. So B lands on A's property. Finishes turn. Then the first player following, C, takes their turn. Then the second player following is D. See also "second to last" in comparison to "first to last" (next to last) as in english.stackexchange.com/questions/56344/… Jun 9 at 16:03
  • In my mind, your explanation that D is the second player following B is unambiguously correct; the incorrect hypothesis would be that C is the second player following B. I acknowledge that other similar phrases may be ambiguous. For example, it is often said that Christ was resurrected "on the third day," referring to the Sunday following Good Friday. If you interpret this as something like "on the third day of being dead," then the timeline makes sense, whereas if you interpret it as "on the third day following the crucifixion," then it should be Monday.
    – user10478
    Jun 9 at 16:44
  • I do think this matters because the question doesn't arise if C is the second player following B.
    – user10478
    Jun 9 at 16:44
  • Ah, I didn't realize you were reading it the other way (that's ambiguity for you). Yes, C is the second following player. See also this rulebook:hasbro.com/common/instruct/Monopoly_Vintage.pdf Jun 9 at 16:57

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