Can any attorney explain how If section 8 paid $1393 of the woman who’s been featured in the Seattle Times now for the last week $1395 rent how a late charge could be $265?
Am I correct that according to the numbers if a tenant is short on any portion of their rent in this case $2 short that the late fee is based on the ENTIRE AMOUNT OF THE RENT . That’s the only way I can come up with a $265 penalty for being late $2 which is her portion of the rent due per month
And assuming this is written into the lease.
In Section 8 there are two contracts. The lease and the Housing Assistance Program (HAP) contract. The HAP contract is the contract under which the HUD money is paid by the Housing Authority to the Landlord. The lease itself is between the Landlord and Tenant, and if it provides for late fees, they can accrue, and they also can pile up over the course of months.
Section 8 subsidizes rent, and does not pick up the tenant's tab for late fees or other amounts payable under the lease. Amounts due under the lease are owed by the tenant, including any agreed (and non-punitive) late fees.
Most questions on this issue arise from not understanding the way the landlord's accounting system typically works: In landlording, all the newest money goes to the oldest debt first. This accounting principle leads to a situation in which an unpaid late fee from a prior month creates a deficit in the rent account, and until ALL the rents and all the accumulated late fees are paid off to a balance of zero in all columns on the spreadsheet.
It is not possible, based on the facts provided, to provide a precise answer. This sort of "ledger" issue is best resolved by playing NICE with the management, and getting an explanation of what is owed and why. Then solve the problem, get a zero balance ledger, and keep a copy. It is a milestone document.
If you have received some kind of a Notice to Comply With the Lease or pay rent or any other notice, take the notice and ALL your records on your unit to the Housing Justice Project in the Seattle Courthouse, Room W315. The window faces Third Ave.
If you are really curious, you can read the court file. Most of the documents in the court file are public records. That means anyone can read them for free at the court house.
King County has two branches of the superior court, one in Kent and the other one in Seattle. Either one will have all the documents in cases filed at either branch.
There is a way to access the information online. However, that access is not free. The county charges 25 cents for each page read online.
The landlord almost certainly explains how the landlord came to various numbers in the complaint.
Leaving aside the issue of whether $2 was the only thing that was owed in this particular case, whether a tenant owes $2 or $2000, the landlord still has to prepare notices and have them served. The costs to prepare the notices are the same regardless of the amount of money alleged to be owed.
The contract likely also provides that late rent will result in a charge that is the higher of a fixed amount or a percentage of the late rent. It would not be unusual for that fixed amount to be $75 or more.
The tenant in question was alleged to have been late on rent at least 3 times.
$265 for late fees for three months are likely are not unreasonable.
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