When is a late fee due?

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When is a late fee due?

I am considered an occupant on a lease. I turned in my half of the rent on the 4th which it’s due on the 1st. My roommate says that our landlord is requiring that we pay a late fee. I’m questioning whether or not he can mandate this. In the lease, my roommate says we have 3 days to after the due date to pay then it’s considered late. To me, when I count, the fourth day would be the 4th of the month. Apparently on the lease, it says the 3rd is considered the 3 day. My roommate is expecting me to pay this fee because she’s not questioning it. I don’t think I should have to pay it considering I got my rent in on the 3rd day. What should I do?

Asked on January 5, 2013 under Real Estate Law, Nebraska

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

The law does not specify when a late fee is due--it's based entirely on the lease. If the lease is ambiguous or unclear as to when it's due, you might be able to fight the fee...but since fighting it could involve litigation (a lawsuit), such as if the landlord tries  to sue you or evict you over the money, it's unclear that it would be worthwhile to do so. If there is at least a chance the landlord is correct in his/her interpretation, then it is probably best to pay the fee and be sure to pay the rent earlier in the future.


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