What is the time limit on landlord charging late rent fee?
How many months back are they able to charge?
The really weird thing is he was texting, trying to charge us for Oct, Nov, Dec at $50/month saying rent was late after the 4th, yet we have been paying by the 6th for the 2+ years under the same property management. Now he sent a letter saying we owe $25/month for Oct and Dec saying rent is late by the 6th...
(By the way, we have NO written lease since the property management took over for our original landlord when he passed away. Only a "walk through" check was done and we didn't originally have a written lease)(lived here for 4.5 years)
1 attorney answer
If you do not have a lease or rental agreement which provides for late fees, the landlord/property manager cannot charge you a late fee and cannot evict you for failing to pay a late fee. Under California law, the landlord can charge a reasonable late fee, but ONLY if the lease or rental agreement provides for late fees. Late fees must be reasonably related to the costs that a landlord faces as a result of a tenant's rent payment being late. A properly set late fee is legally valid, but a late fee that is so high that it amounts to a "penalty" is not legally valid. (Harbor Island Holdings, LLC v. Kim (2003) 107 Cal.App.4th 790 (liquidated damages provision unenforceable because it bore no reasonable relationship to range of actual damages parties could have anticipated); Orozco v. Casimiro (2004) 121 Cal.App.4th Supp. 7 (late fee invalid because landlord failed to establish that damages for late payment of rent were extremely difficult to fix).
Frank W. Chen has been licensed to practice law in California since 1988. Avvo.com is not a law firm. This posting does not create any attorney-client relationship. The information presented here is general in nature and is not intended nor should be construed as legal advice for any particular case or client. For specific advice about your particular situation, please consult with your own attorney. This posting is not intended to constitute an advertisement nor a solicitation.