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Ask Barrister Your Own Question
Barrister
Barrister, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 36611
Experience:  16 yrs practice, Civil, Criminal, Domestic, Realtor, Landlord 26 yrs
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If there was a return check on a lease paymemt can a landlord

Customer Question

If there was a return check on a lease paymemt can a landlord charge $250 nsf fee plus $250 late fee plus interest if that portion of the payment is not met compounded monthly? I reside in Michigan
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Barrister replied 4 years ago.
Hello and thank you for using JA! My goal is to provide you with excellent service and help with your legal problem.
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Under the Truth in Renting Act (TIRA) in Michigan, the landlord is prohibited from charging late fees as they are deemed a "penalty" and are therefore unenforceable. For a late fee to be legal, it must approximate the actual damages suffered by the landlord because rent is paid late. So unless the landlord can demonstrate that he has suffered damages in the amount of $250 then he can't legally charge it. Michigan also has a limit on NSF fees of $25.
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So bottom line is that both fees that he is attempting to charge are unlawful and would be unenforceable if challenged in court.
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You may want to notify the under the TIRA, violations of the Act give the tenant grounds to file suit against the landlord for up to $250 per violation in small claims court. So if he tries to enforce the fees, you will have no choice but to file suit.

Before doing so, the tenant must provide the landlord with written notice as to why the lease violates TIRA. Once the letter has been sent, the landlord has 20 days to correct the problem by sending a notice to all current tenants that the provision is unenforceable and that the landlord will not seek to enforce it. If the landlord fails to do so, the tenant may sue to “void the rental agreement and terminate the tenancy”; “enjoin the lessor from including the provision in any rental agreement subsequently entered into and to require the lessor . . . cure the violation in all rental agreements . . . to which the lessor is currently a party”; and/or “recover damages in the amount of $250.00 per action, or actual damages, whichever is greater.”
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The tenant may also recover attorney fees associated with the case. Under some circumstances, the amounts the tenant may recover may be doubled to $500.00 (plus attorney fees).
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Thanks.

Barrister

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Please don't forget to rate my service "OK" or higher. It is only then that I receive credit for my work.

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If you need further help, just reply to me via the “REPLY” or “CONTINUE CONVERSATION” button and I will be happy to continue.

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I cannot enter into an attorney client relationship, this is a public forum, and all posts are available for public viewing. There is no duty of confidentiality that attaches to any posts. The information provided is not a substitute for a local attorney’s legal advice.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.
what if the tenant just wants to stay in the rental not vacate what recourse do they have to only pay late rental payment
Expert:  Barrister replied 4 years ago.
Well, they don't have to pay either fee under TIRA. One of your recourses under TIRA is to stay and just enjoin the landlord from enforcing the late fees or the returned check charge.
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Unless the landlord has served you with a formal notice of default under the lease, then you could just tender the entire amount of the late rent. I would suggest printing out a copy of TIRA here and highlighting the relevant portions and submitting it with your rent:
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http://www.legislature.mi.gov/documents/mcl/pdf/mcl-act-454-of-1978.pdf
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Thanks.

Barrister

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Please don't forget to rate my service "OK" or higher. It is only then that I receive credit for my work.

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If you need further help, just reply to me via the “REPLY” or “CONTINUE CONVERSATION” button and I will be happy to continue.

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I cannot enter into an attorney client relationship, this is a public forum, and all posts are available for public viewing. There is no duty of confidentiality that attaches to any posts. The information provided is not a substitute for a local attorney’s legal advice.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.


Thank you for the law yet I can't find in it about the maximum lae fees or nsf fee of $25 that can be charged am I overlooking it? Perhaps you can provide me with the direct link to these or further direct me where to secure this information?

Expert:  Barrister replied 4 years ago.
The NSF fee limit is in a different law...MCL 600.2952.
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Thanks.

Barrister

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Please don't forget to rate my service "OK" or higher. It is only then that I receive credit for my work.

.

If you need further help, just reply to me via the “REPLY” or “CONTINUE CONVERSATION” button and I will be happy to continue.

.

I cannot enter into an attorney client relationship, this is a public forum, and all posts are available for public viewing. There is no duty of confidentiality that attaches to any posts. The information provided is not a substitute for a local attorney’s legal advice.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.


ok thanks so where in this is the information regarding the late fees

Expert:  Barrister replied 4 years ago.
It was in the link that I posted above for the TIRA laws...
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http://www.legislature.mi.gov/documents/mcl/pdf/mcl-act-454-of-1978.pdf
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Look under 554.636 Actions.
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Thanks.

Barrister

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Please don't forget to rate my service "OK" or higher. It is only then that I receive credit for my work.

.

If you need further help, just reply to me via the “REPLY” or “CONTINUE CONVERSATION” button and I will be happy to continue.

.

I cannot enter into an attorney client relationship, this is a public forum, and all posts are available for public viewing. There is no duty of confidentiality that attaches to any posts. The information provided is not a substitute for a local attorney’s legal advice.