What to do if the management of our apartment complex gave us a paper stating that our account has been assessed a $25 fine?

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What to do if the management of our apartment complex gave us a paper stating that our account has been assessed a $25 fine?

The given reason for this fine is them suspecting someone in our apartment complex of using marijuana. I looked in our lease and to the best of my knowledge it didn’t seem like they had anything concerning a matter like this. They gave eight people this same paper. Neither my husband or I use marijuana and feel it is illegal for them to fine us for something we did not do. Would it be possible or worth taking legal action. If so, how would we go about doing so?

Asked on December 31, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Idaho

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

To begin with if there is a written lease, the landlord may only charge you amounts or fines included in the lease--no others. The landlord has no legal authority to fine you if the lease does not give them this power.

Second, even if the lease gave them the power to issue fines like this, they could only do so in accordance with the lease; so if, for example, the lease let them fine a unit which used marijuana, then they could only assess that fine against the unit in which it was used.

It seems therefore that they had no basis for this fine. If they will not voluntarily rescind it, unfortunately, your only real recourse is a lawsuit, which is probably not cost effective for $25, even in small claims court.


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