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Arrears, or arrearages is a legal term for a type of debt which is overdue after missing an expected payment. It is also used (in the form in arrears) for payments that occur at the end of a period.
Arrears accrue from the date on the first missed payment was due. The term is often used to describe being late with rent, royalties (or other contractual payments), child support, or other legal financial obligation.
An obligation is said to be in arrears if it is past due. "Arrears" is, further, not a late payment or charge for late rent, but the state of being late for rent. Charges such as this are impermissible under most Landlord/Tenant agreements.