Can you be held accountable for mail delivery time when payment was submitted in a timely manner?

Last month I sent my payment to the homeowners association 6 days before it was due and only 13 days later it was withdrawn from my account. Now they sent me a bill charging me with a late fee of $25. When I contacted them they stated the time for mail delivery is my responsibility and I just don’t think it makes any sense when the payment was submitted with plenty of time before it was due. I have been living in the same condo for 8 years and never had a similar problem when I send the payment at the same time every month.

Asked on December 9, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Washington

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

What does the HOA agreement, etc. say? If it provides that the payment must be received by a certain date, then if it is not received by that date, it is late--and you may be charged a late fee. Only if there is some clause in the agreement(s) in your favor--such that payment is considered delivered as of three days after the date it is mailed, and you could prove the date of mailing--would it not be late. In other words, the terms of the agreement(s) will govern, and if they provide that after a certain date it is late, it is late if received after that date regardless of cause.


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