What to do if my landlord tried to charge me $170 for his overdraft fees he received from his bank when my check bounced?

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What to do if my landlord tried to charge me $170 for his overdraft fees he received from his bank when my check bounced?

These charges were from purchases he made before my check cleared. There is only a $25 returned check fee in our lease contract. Is that legal for him to ask for? Could he take it from our security deposit?

Asked on September 29, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Massachusetts

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

A lease is, as you appear to know, a contract: both parties are bound by its terms, and neither party may change the agreement's terms--or charge more than it allows--without the consent or agreement of the other party. Therefore, if the lease has a $25 returned charge fee, that is all the landlord should be able to charge you.

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

The best way to resolve the over draft fee charge you have with the landlord is to call and write him or her setting forth your position along with a $25.00 check for the fee per the referenced portion of your contract. Keep a copy of the letter sent for future use and need.


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