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Phillips Esq.
Phillips Esq., Attorney-at-Law
Category: Business Law
Satisfied Customers: 17871
Experience:  B.A.; M.B.A.; J.D.
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My landlord charges a very high late fee. $50 on the 4th and

Customer Question

My landlord charges a very high late fee. $50 on the 4th and $25 a day late fee. My rent is $2200 a month. If I pay on the 7th the total plus late fees will be $2375. If I pay $2250 she will continue charging a late fee on the late fee until all paid. Twice I have paid $800 in late fees. Is this fair and what can I do?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Business Law
Expert:  Phillips Esq. replied 3 years ago.
Thank you for giving me the opportunity to assist you. Kindly use CONTINUE or REPLY button to ask for clarification or follow-up questions.

Could you explain a little more?

Is the notice for late fees included in your lease?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Yes it says that in the lease.

Expert:  Phillips Esq. replied 3 years ago.

Thank you for the information:




Your Question: My landlord charges a very high late fee. $50 on the 4th and $25 a day late fee. My rent is $2200 a month. If I pay on the 7th the total plus late fees will be $2375. If I pay $2250 she will continue charging a late fee on the late fee until all paid. Twice I have paid $800 in late fees. Is this fair and what can I do?

Response: Unfortunately, there may not be anything you can do since your lease has provision for this late fee unless you are arguing that the exact fees being charged in your situation is quite unreasonable and therefore not a reasonable estimate of the Landlord's liability for you not paying your rent on time. See Texas Property Code Title 8 Chapter 92 Section 92.019. You may therefore file Small Claim against the Landlord at Justice of the Peace Court in your County for the return of some of the late fees:

Justice of the Peace Courts:

http://www.courts.state.tx.us/courts/jp.asp

http://www.statutes.legis.state.tx.us/Docs/PR/htm/PR.92.htm#92.019

Sec. 92.019. LATE PAYMENT OF RENT; FEES. (a) A landlord may not charge a tenant a late fee for failing to pay rent unless:

(1) notice of the fee is included in a written lease;

(2) the fee is a reasonable estimate of uncertain damages to the landlord that are incapable of precise calculation and result from late payment of rent; and

(3) the rent has remained unpaid one full day after the date the rent was originally due.

(b) A late fee under this section may include an initial fee and a daily fee for each day the rent continues to remain unpaid.

(c) A landlord who violates this section is liable to the tenant for an amount equal to the sum of $100, three times the amount of the late fee charged in violation of this section, and the tenant's reasonable attorney's fees.

(d) A provision of a lease that purports to waive a right or exempt a party from a liability or duty under this section is void.

(e) This section relates only to a fee, charge, or other sum of money required to be paid under the lease if rent is not paid as provided by Subsection (a)(3), and does not affect the landlord's right to terminate the lease or take other action permitted by the lease or other law. Payment of the fee, charge, or other sum of money by a tenant does not waive the right or remedies provided by this section.

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