Can a landlord charge a fee for paying rent with a check if it is not stated in the lease?

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Can a landlord charge a fee for paying rent with a check if it is not stated in the lease?

For our new lease our landlord wanted us to use automatic withdrawal to pay our rent but it was not required, only an option. Now he sent us a letter stating as of next month here will be a charge of $35 for payment by check and it wants us to do electronic withdrawal. Is he allowed to charge us this fee for checks being that this is our only choice unless getting rent deducted electronically from our checking account? He stated that the IRS is charging 10% for any non-electronic transactions.

Asked on December 19, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Iowa

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Good question. If your presumed written lease does not contain a provision within it that there will be a $35.00 charge to you by the landllord for payment by check as opposed to electronic transfer, the landlord's attempt to charge you this amount is not allowed under your written lease and you are not obligated to pay the $35.00 monthly fee.

I would write the landlord a letter setting forth your position and the factual basis that the $35.00 charge is not allowed keeping a copy of the letter for future need and reference.


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