Can my landlord charge me a late fee on my rent for a non-compliance issue even though I paid my rent on time?

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Can my landlord charge me a late fee on my rent for a non-compliance issue even though I paid my rent on time?

We were given a notice to remove a bike and grill from our patio within two days of the notice or we would be fined $25. If we didn’t pay the $25 fine, our next months rent would be considered late and they would charge us a late fee. I don’t mind paying the fine if I owe it, but they charged me an additional $50 plus $10 a day for late fees on my rent, which was on time.

Asked on October 1, 2010 under Real Estate Law, Kansas

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

1) If it was in the lease that the landlord could charge this specific fee or could charge a "reasonable" fee for violations of notices like this, then the landlord probably could. Leases may require all sorts of additional rent, fees, penalties, etc. for noncompliance.

2) If there was a written lease but this was not in it, the landlord cannot add it--the lease is a contract binding both parties, and the landlord cannot unilaterally add terms, conditions, or fees.

3) If you have an oral (also called verbal lease) on 30-days notice the landlord could make this a term or condition--but cannot impose it until that providing notice of the new lease term.


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