Can a landlord add a late fee to a lease after it is signed?

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Can a landlord add a late fee to a lease after it is signed?

My landlord sent all tenants in our building a letter introducing a new property management firm. It also stated a new contact number and address to send rent payments to and that a $25 late fee would be added to late payments. The letter stated this is an addendum to the lease. Can he do this?

Asked on June 12, 2015 under Real Estate Law, New Hampshire

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

The landlord may not change a contract (which is what a lease is: a contract) during its term, such as by addng a late fee, regardless of whether he calls the fee an "addendum to the lease," during the term of the lease without the other parties' (i.e. the tenants'; your) consent or agreement. One party may not unilaterally change an in-effect contract unless the other side agrees. The landlord may add a late fee to the lease when it is renewed, or to leases for new tenants.


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