What’s the legal minimal time period that a tenant is allowed to pay for utilities before incurring a late fee?

Get Legal Help Today

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

What’s the legal minimal time period that a tenant is allowed to pay for utilities before incurring a late fee?

My leasing management company pays for our water and then sends us a bill. The problem is they want to charge a $5 late fee (on a $15-30 bill) if it’s not paid by the 3rd of the month. My issue is that I sometimes get the bill from management as late as the 27th (postmarked), and I don’t believe it’s reasonable to expect payment after 7-10 days of bill delivery or charge a 15%-30% late fee. Prior management told me not to worry about the late fee but new management claims I’m liable.

Asked on October 4, 2010 under Real Estate Law, Kansas

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

The amount certainly sounds unreasonable, more so than the turn around time for payment.  Does your lease specify anything as to this issue?  What does it say?  If you agreed to the provision in your lease then you may indeed be bound by it.  I would focus more on the late fee.  To charge that high a fee on such a small bill seems "unconscionable" and "against public policy."  That is where I would challenge the matter.  So look at your lease and see what it says about it first then write to the management company and indicate that the fee charged is "unconscionable" and potentially "ususerous" under th law.  State that you would like to re-negotiate the turn around time and late fee.  State that you would agree to a 1% late fee past a certain date.  If they do not respond go down to court and see that help you can get there.  Good luck. 


IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

Related Links

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption