How best to assess late fees for rentals is the question this week for Ask Landlord Hank. Remember Hank is not an attorney and he is not offering legal advice. If you have a question for him please fill out the form below.
Dear Landlord Hank:
When I am assessing a late fee, can I charge a one-time late fee of $250, or can I only charge 5 percent of the rent as a one-time late fee?
I understand if I charge a daily late fee, it cannot exceed 5 percent a day. Thank you
Hello Landlady Yvonne,
I don’t know what state you are in, as many states address this subject and you must comply, but the late fee amount, when it is applied, and daily late-fee policies should all be very clear in your lease.
You must abide by those guidelines. If those issues weren’t addressed in your lease, you have no right to collect a late fee or daily late fee. Here in Florida, I charge a standard late fee of $100, no matter the rent of the property. I always reach out to a tenant, if they normally pay in a timely way, to tell them that the late fee will be applied if rent is not received by deadline, in the lease.
We try to have all our tenants pay by electronic funds transfer so the mail is not an excuse for tardiness.
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