What are consdered to fee reasonable late fees, etc?

Rent is due on the first I get that, with a late fee after the 3rd and I get that too. Today rent was placed in a money order, plus late fee, and water.I wastold that an additional $200 is to be added for legal fees that they had to file. I was told that someone would come to my apartment to pick up the check at 3:00 today. I agreed and said that I’d Ibe here all day no problem. A call came in after 4:00 and we were there but no one answered the door, so now they said that I owe an addirional $200. Can they make such a claim? I know in the past I never had to pay such a fee. What legal steps should I take now?

Asked on November 12, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Georgia


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Your landlord can only charge legal fees if there is a written lease allowing them to do so (i.e. the lease says these fees can be charged). If there is, however, the landlord can charge its actual legal cost if such is "reasonable." The initial $200 is certainly reasonable if they did file an eviction complaint for late payment. An extra $200 because you did not answer the door is not reasonable, and a judge would very likely knock it down (though you never know for sure  how a judge will rule in advance).

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