Is it legal to charge late fees on late fees?

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Is it legal to charge late fees on late fees?

We are being taken to court because our landlord is trying to evict us because according to them we owe $650 in late fees. About 24 months ago our church helped us pay our lot fee but they were 2 days late, so our landlord added a late fee. Since then we have never been late but,when we pay them they are saying that the money first goes to paying off the late fees and then it pays the lot fee, so every month they are adding another late fee because we are only paying the exact amount of the lot space. This has been going on for 2 years so what started as a $25 late fee is now $650. Is this legal?

Asked on May 5, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Utah

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

What they are doing is obviously shady and you need to fight them tooth and nail.  First, get a copy of all the payments made here: receipts, cancelled checks, what ever. And bring a copy of the lease.  Generally speaking, the law regarding payment of rent gives a party a certain grace period which is more than 2 days.  Now, the lease may say otherwise and you signed it so you are bound by it.  But I would argue that you had no choice and that it is against public policy.  You just need to be calm and show the court the facts.  If there is a legal help place in the court go and show the people there.  Good luck.   


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