Can I evict a tenant for unpaid late fees?

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Can I evict a tenant for unpaid late fees?

The tenant has been late for 3 months and after finally paying rent, has not paid any of the late fees. Now also owes for a waterbill with late fees.

Asked on November 14, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Maryland

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

You most likely can evict the tenant:

1) If the late fees (or the water bill) are called  "additional rent" or "rent" in the lease, then a failure to pay them is a nonpayment of rent, and you should be able to evict as you would for any nonpayment.

2) Even if they are not called, or would not be considered, part of the rent, if the lease obligates the tenant to pay these, then failure to pay them would be a breach or violation of the lease. You may evict for a lease violation, though the procedure is slightly different than for evicting for nonpayment of rent--instead of immediately filing for  eviction, you first need to provide a notice to cease (a notice to the tenant to stop violating the lease in this way) and a reasonable notice to comply with it; then after that, if the tenant still doesn't pay, you would be able to evict.

Check the laws in your specific state for the exact procedure.


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