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Do we have to pay a monthly late fee, if we have a written agreement in place to pay 1/2 at the first of the month, half middle?

Los Angeles, CA |

We had a written agreement in place with the Landlord's Property Manager, whereby we paid 1/2 our rent on the first of the month, and the other half at the middle of the month. Our understanding of the law is that there is no late fee owing, if this is the agreement - can you confirm? The other part of this is, the Landlord was charging us more than the allowed late fee, so we're trying to calculate what she now owes us back in our overpaid late fees.

Please advise, thank you!

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Attorney answers 4


I'm going to change the practice area of your post to "Landlord/Tenant" for proper exposure.


First, you have a strong argument that the subsequent written agreement with the management company controls over any conflicting language in the original lease regarding the payment due date.

Second, if the landlord is charging you more the proscribed late fees in the lease, the landlord is over charging you.

You should consider putting your concerns in writing, quoting the particular lease provisions at issue, attaching a copy of the lease and the subsequent agreement, and politely requesting a refund of the late fees/overcharges. If your landlord fails to comply, you can sue in small claims court.



Hi - thanks Brad. We know the landlord was overcharging us in late fees, and she has admitted it. She did some calculations, and sent us a check. Unfortunately, it's not the same calculations we have done. I've been doing some research, and I believe I saw a law that said when such a written agreement regarding half and half payments are in place, there is no late fee - I would like to be able to recite the law, so if you find it, please let me know, thanks.


Not sure what you you mean by the "allowed late fee". Whether or not the landlord can charge a late fee will depend upon whether or not the lease or rental agreement has such a late fee provision, as well as whether the amount of late fee is reasonable. If there is no such provision, the landlord cannot charge a late fee.

Therefore, it is likely you have a claim against the landlord for improper or overpaid late fees.

Frank W. Chen has been licensed to practice law in California since 1988. The information presented here is general in nature and is not intended, nor should be construed, as legal advice for a particular case. This posting does not create any attorney-client relationship with the author. For specific advice about your particular situation, please consult with your own attorney.


If the agreement allows you to pay as you describe, then you should not be charged any late fees, unless you are not actually paying on time. Take the agreement and your payment records, including anything from the landlord regarding late fees, to a local landlord tenant attorney for a consultation.

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