What is the cap on late fees for rentals in Washington state?

Asked over 2 years ago - Seattle, WA

I am being charged 10% fees on late rent. That sounds out of line. Are there limits on what can be charged for late fees in King County, WA?

Attorney answers (2)

  1. E.P. Hackenberg


    Contributor Level 10


    Lawyers agree


    Answered . There is no statutory limit on late fees, but it has to be reasonable. According to a colleague of mine, $50 or 10% of the rent is reasonable (whichever is higher).

  2. Ryan J. Weatherstone

    Contributor Level 15


    Best Answer
    chosen by asker

    Answered . I agree with the previous poster, 10% may be a reasonable amount. When a court looks at late fees, it looks to determine whether the fee is a penalty for late payment or a form of liquidated damages (assumed damages suffered by not having the money in hand on the due date). Because landlords often have to pay things like property taxes, sometimes water bills, etc, not having the rent by the due date may mean that they will themselves suffer late fees. A court will most likely rule that a 10% late fee is a reasonable assumption of damages suffered and not a penalty, and thus valid. If the court rules that it is a penalty, it may be void. But, 10% has been viewed in the past as a very reasonable amount.

    This answer is for informational purposes only and should not be construed to establish an attorney client... more

Can't find what you're looking for? Ask a Lawyer

Get free answers from experienced attorneys.


Ask now

29,606 answers this week

3,015 attorneys answering

Ask a Lawyer

Get answers from top-rated lawyers.

  • It's FREE
  • It's easy
  • It's anonymous

29,606 answers this week

3,015 attorneys answering