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Lucy, Esq.
Lucy, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 27201
Experience:  JA Mentor
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My landlord in Texas wants to charge a late fee. I am trying

Customer Question

My landlord in Texas wants to charge a late fee. I am trying to determine what would be reasonable. I have asked him what, if any charges has he incurred due to late payment of rent. He never answers that and goes back to the number of days late.
JA: Thanks. Can you give me any more details about your issue?
Customer: I owned my home and it was foreclosed on last year in March. The person who bought the house offered to allow me to rent from them. At first they allowed me to pay $950 because I was the former tenant. Then in July they wanted more money and I asked them how much they wanted...They said $1200. I said that's fine but I cannot pay anything more than that, and I need a 10 day grace period because I am paid bi-weekly. The $1200 and 10 day grace period is in an addendum to lease. So. one other time I was past the 10th and I paid a $25 late fee to them. Now this month, I am having to pay late again. I told him no later than Saturday which would be the 16th. I told him I would include $25 for late fee. He answered that that was not enough. I asked how much it costs him to wait 5 days and to send me a receipt for it. He said $100 late fee, would be $150 but I waive 50. I told him once again that late fees are based on the amount of expenses he incurred to wait on rent..not number of days. After some time, he replied again that he would take $90
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Submitted: 6 months ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
He has recharged the AC unit in the term of my lease even though the unit needs replacing. and he has snaked the plumbing sewer line. The cap on that has been left off to prevent the toilet from backing up, so sometimes raw sewage seeps out onto the driveway.In regards ***** ***** the rent...he doesn't even incur the expense of depositing it into his own account...He has me take the payment directly to the bank and deposit into his account. So I doubt he is incurring any expenses...and from how I read the late fee would be due....but he wants the $50 first day and $25 per day thereafter late fee structure. And I know that is illegal.
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 6 months ago.


I'm Lucy, and I'd be happy to answer your questions today. I'm sorry to hear about your situation.

Step 1 with a late fee is, do you have a written lease that says the landlord may charge a late fee? If the answer is no, he cannot charge a late fee, period. It doesn't matter what would be reasonable. Tex. Prop. Code, Section 92.019. Your landlord can't arbitrarily ask you to pay whatever he feels like for a late fee. You need a written lease, and the fee has to be in it, and if he wants to change the terms of your tenancy now, he has to give you at least 30 days notice. If he's charging late fees that aren't in the lease, you can sue for a penalty of $100, three times your damages, plus your attorney's fees.

As far as what's reasonable - it's basically one of two things:

  1. Interest the landlord is paying on a mortgage that accrues because he wasn't able to pay that money on the mortgage.
  2. Interest that the landlord would have earned putting the money into a bank account.

$50 for the first day and $25 per day after MIGHT be considered reasonable, if it were in the lease, and if he had a mortgage on the property. But otherwise, he can't charge that.

It's important that you are 100% satisfied with my courtesy and professionalism. Thank you.

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Please allow another Expert to answer. My original question was pertaining to a post already on here..but slightly different scenario. I thought that expert was the one that would answer.
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 6 months ago.

I apologize. Reading the question, there was no way for me to know that you were looking for another expert. I can opt out, but no other expert is going to be able to tell you anything different than what I said, and if you do not name the other expert, it is impossible for us to locate them. Please consider rating my answer as a show of good faith, as this mix-up was in no way my fault, and the information I provided was correct.

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