Can you charge a $20 a day late charge on late rent?

UPDATED: Apr 13, 2011

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Can you charge a $20 a day late charge on late rent?

We have a so-called new manager of the mobile home park that I rent a lot from. I’ve lived here 5 years with no late charges and now these people want to charge $20 per day in late fees. The landlord went up on the rent to fix the road 3 years ago and it’s still not fixed.

Asked on April 13, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Louisiana


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

1) If you have a written lease, its terms must be honored while it is in force (e.g. before its termination or expiration date). Neither party may add or change terms, like adding a late fee, while a written lease is in effect, though the landlord may add a fee for a lease renewal.

2) If  you don't have a written lease, then terms or rent or fees may be changed on 30 days notice.

3) The landlord can charge more rent for pretty much any reason (again, on 30 days notice for an oral or verbal lease, or when a written lease is up for renewal). If the lease provided that the extra money was to be used for a specific purpose and it was not, then you may have grounds for a legal action; or even if the lease did not so provide, but the road is so bad as to impede access or make it difficulty, you may be able to bring a legal action on the grounds that you're not getting what (safe access) you are paying for. However, while you may be able to force the landlord in these situations to make the repairs, that doesn't affect his ability to raise the rent at the appropriate time.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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