Is there a maximum amount in late fees that a landlord can charge a tenant?

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Is there a maximum amount in late fees that a landlord can charge a tenant?

My mom has been renting a home for 2 years. When it was time to renew the landlord increased the late fee from $50 after the 5th and $10$ thereafter, to $50 after the $5 and $25 a day. That is extremely expensive. It that legal?

Asked on December 3, 2010 under Real Estate Law, Louisiana

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Here is the law: 

Late fees should remain reasonable and related to the landlord's actual expenses incurred. Returned payment fees may not exceed $25 or 5% of face amount, whichever is greater, as long as specified within the lease. La. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 9:2782.

The fees that you mention above do not seem "reasonable" and in fact, seem rather excessive.  I would speak with the landlord and advise him or her that the amount seems a bit high considering the fact that your Mother has been a long tenant and that his fees could not be that high for her lateness in paying (even late mortgage fees are not that high).  See what he or she says.  If you want to push it consult with a tenant's right organization for help.  Good luck.


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