Why is my rent late??

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Why is my rent late??

I rent an apartment in Atlanta. My lease states, “If you don’t pay all rent on or before the 3rd day of the month, you’ll pay an initial late charge of….” Now I came home from work on the third to pay my rent and the drop box was taped shut with a note saying all rent is late after 6:00pm on the 3rd no excuses! My lease says nothing about a certain time I have to have my rent in on the 3rd so how can they legally do this?

Asked on June 4, 2009 under Real Estate Law, Georgia

Answers:

B. B., Member, New Jersey Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

I don't know for sure, since I'm not a Georgia lawyer.  I'd expect this one to be hard for the landlord to win, because a lease is a contract, and neither side gets to change the language and add things to it in the middle, without the other side's consent.  Unless the lease says something about payments being made during normal business hours, or some such language, one way to read "the 3rd day of the month" is right up until midnight, before it turns into the 4th.  And since the landlord chose the contract (lease) language, the tenant gets the benefit of the doubt, if there are two ways to read it.

To be sure, you need to talk to an attorney in your area, who can give you advice based on all of the facts of your case.  One way to find a qualified lawyer is to check our website, http://attorneypages.com

J.V., Member, New Jersey Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Without being able to see the lease it is hard for me to answer your question but if there is no time limit and all it says is on or before the 3rd than it would be assumed you have up until 11:59 pm on the 3rd. I advise that you read the lease very carefully from front to back to see if anything clarifies itself. If not speak to the landlord about this because they obviously have a policy you were not made aware of

If the landlord refuses to work with you I advise you to contact a local attorney and explain your situation. They will be able to advise you how best to proceed. Of course if you want to file suit on your own the court clerk usually will direct you as how to but depending on the amount this matte may not get to that point


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