Can I evict a tenant for unpaid late fees?

UPDATED: Nov 14, 2011

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Can I evict a tenant for unpaid late fees?

The tenant has been late for 3 months and after finally paying rent, has not paid any of the late fees. Now also owes for a waterbill with late fees.

Asked on November 14, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Maryland


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

You most likely can evict the tenant:

1) If the late fees (or the water bill) are called  "additional rent" or "rent" in the lease, then a failure to pay them is a nonpayment of rent, and you should be able to evict as you would for any nonpayment.

2) Even if they are not called, or would not be considered, part of the rent, if the lease obligates the tenant to pay these, then failure to pay them would be a breach or violation of the lease. You may evict for a lease violation, though the procedure is slightly different than for evicting for nonpayment of rent--instead of immediately filing for  eviction, you first need to provide a notice to cease (a notice to the tenant to stop violating the lease in this way) and a reasonable notice to comply with it; then after that, if the tenant still doesn't pay, you would be able to evict.

Check the laws in your specific state for the exact procedure.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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