Can a apartment complex impose a fine for a lease violation?

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Can a apartment complex impose a fine for a lease violation?

They said I had trash underneath the stairs with personal mail in it and they have a witness that saw me do it. They imposed a fine of $50 to be paid within 24 hours. Basically I did not put trash underneath the stairs and someone moved it from in front of my door to be walked into the back stairs. I read my lease and don’t see anything about fines but I do see a section about violations, which now I understand I cannot place my trash outside the door.

Asked on December 20, 2011 under Real Estate Law, North Carolina

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Whether or not your apratment complex can fine you a certain amount or at all for a lease violation that you have written about depends upon what your written lease states assuming you have one. I would read it carefully in that its terms and conditions control the obligations owed to you by the landlord and vice versa in the absence of conflicting state law.

If there is no mention of a monetary fine in your lease for a lease violation, then the landlord cannot contractually impose one. I would write your property manager a letter setting forth your position keeping a copy of it for future use. I doubt the landord would go to court for $50.00 for a claimed fine that does not seem allowed by your lease from what you have written.


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